United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
- 1 Vacancy warning level
- 2 Active judges
- 3 Jurisdiction
- 4 Caseloads
- 5 Notable cases
- 6 History
- 7 Former judges
- 8 Federal courthouse
- 9 Judicial nominating commission
- 10 Media
- 11 See also
- 12 External links
- 13 References
The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, sometimes referred to simply as the Seventh Circuit, is one of the thirteen federal appellate courts. The court was established in 1891 and has eleven posts. The court is located at the Everett M. Dirksen Federal Building in downtown Chicago.
Vacancy warning level
There are no pending nominations for the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
Article III judges
|Judge Diane Sykes||W. Bush||8/24/2004-Present||John Coffey||Northwestern University, 1980||Marquette University Law, 1984|
|Chief Judge Diane Wood||Clinton||6/30/1995-Present||10/1/2013-Present||William Bauer||University of Texas, Austin, 1971||University of Texas Law, 1975|
|Judge Frank Easterbrook||Reagan||4/4/1985-Present||2006-9/30/2013||Swarthmore College, 1970||University of Chicago Law, 1973|
|Judge Ann Williams||Clinton||11/15/1999-Present||Walter Cummings||Wayne State University, 1970||Notre Dame Law School, 1975|
|Judge Joel Flaum||Reagan||5/5/1983-Present||2000-2006||Robert Sprecher||Union College, 1958||Northwestern U. Law, 1963|
|Judge Ilana Rovner||H.W. Bush||8/17/1992-Present||Harlington Wood||Bryn Mawr College, 1960||Chicago-Kent Law, 1966|
|Judge Michael Kanne||Reagan||5/20/1987-Present||Jesse Eschbach||Indiana University, 1962||Indiana University Law School, 1968|
|Judge Richard Posner||12/01/1981-Present||1993-2000||Philip Tone||Yale University, 1959||Harvard Law, 1962|
|Judge David Hamilton (Seventh Circuit)||Obama||11/23/2009-Present||Kenneth Ripple||Haverford College, 1979||Yale Law School, 1983|
Active Article III judges by appointing political party
This graph displays the percent of active judges by the party of the appointing president and does not reflect how a judge may rule on specific cases or their own political preferences.
|Senior Judge Daniel Manion||Reagan||7/24/1986-12/18/2007||12/18/2007-Present||Notre Dame, 1964||Indiana University Law, 1973|
|Senior Judge John Tinder||W. Bush||12/21/2007-2/18/2015||2/18/2015-Present||Indiana University, 1972||Indiana University Law, 1975|
|Senior Judge Ken Ripple||Reagan||5/10/1985-9/1/2008||9/1/2008-Present||Fordham University, 1965||University of Virginia Law, 1968|
|Senior Judge William Bauer||Ford||12/20/1974-10/31/1994||1986-1993||10/31/1994-Present||Elmhurst College, 1949||DePaul University Law, 1952|
|Senior Judge Richard Cudahy||Carter||9/26/1979-8/15/1994||8/15/1994-Present||West Point, 1948||Yale Law, 1955|
Senior judges by appointing political party
This graph displays the percent of senior judges by the party of the appointing president and does not reflect how a judge may rule on specific cases or their own political preferences.
The Seventh Circuit has appellate jurisdiction over cases heard in one of its subsidiary districts. These cases can include civil and criminal matters that fall under federal law. Appeals of rulings by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals are petitioned to the Supreme Court of the United States. Justice Elena Kagan is the Circuit Justice for the Seventh Circuit.
- Central District of Illinois
- Northern District of Illinois
- Southern District of Illinois
- Northern District of Indiana
- Southern District of Indiana
- Eastern District of Wisconsin
- Western District of Wisconsin
|Federal Court Caseload Statistics*|
|Year||Starting case load:||Cases filed:||Total cases:||Cases terminated:||Remaining cases||Terminations on merits:||Terminations on Procedure||Cross Appeals:||Total Terminations:||Written decisions per Judge**|
|*All statistics are taken from the Official Federal Courts' Website (for District Courts) and reflect the calendar year through September. **This statistic reflects only judges that are active for the entire 12 month period.|
For a searchable list of decisions from the Seventh Circuit, please see:
Seventh Circuit Searchable Opinions
|• Seventh Circuit upholds restraint on enforcement of abortion law (2013)||Click for summary→|
|The Wisconsin Legislature passed a law requiring doctors who perform abortions in the state to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their facility. Opponents of the law, primarily Planned Parenthood, argued that such a requirement would effectively prevent women in certain portions of the state from obtaining an abortion because hospitals usually grant admitting privileges to a doctor who can refer a set number of patients to it. Modern abortions rarely face complications requiring hospital admittance; therefore, few abortion doctors would meet a hospital's quota of referrals.
Planned Parenthood sued to stop enforcement of this particular law and, in July 2013, U.S. District Judge William Conley issued a one-year restraining order preventing the state from taking action against a doctor who did not have admitting privileges. The state appealed to the Seventh Circuit, which upheld Judge Conley’s order on December 20, 2013.
Judge Richard Posner wrote for the three-judge panel. (JudgesDavid Hamilton and Daniel Manion were also part of the panel.) Judge Posner said that, had the law not been enjoined, two of the state’s four abortion clinics would have been shut down. Further, even “fully qualified” doctors were unable to comply with the law due to hospital restrictions and policies concerning to whom the hospitals grant admitting privileges. Judge Posner said that the state was treating abortion differently from other invasive outpatient procedures and, under the equal protection clause, the law is a violation. The one-year restraining order was proper in this case.
| • Court allows for warrantless entry and seizure (2014)|
Judge(s):Joel Flaum, Daniel Manion, and Ilana Rovner (Krysta Sutterfield v. City of Milwaukee, et. al., No. 12-2272)
|Click for summary→|
|In May 2014, the Seventh Circuit found that Milwaukee Police had the authority to enter Krysta Sutterfield's home without a warrant, due to exigent circumstances. The city claimed that Sutterfield posed harm to herself, following a comment made during a doctor's appointment. To that end, police arrived at Sutterfield's home, questioned her, seized firearms from her home, arrested her, then took her for an emergency mental evaluation. Sutterfield, who insisted she was of sound mental health at the time of the incident, sued on the basis of her Second, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The Seventh Circuit agreed that the police officers were protected under qualified immunity, even if Sutterfield's Fourth Amendment rights were violated. This decision affirmed a ruling by Judge Joseph Stadtmueller, of the Eastern District of Wisconsin.|
| • Union challenge to Wisconsin's labor law defeated in court (2014)|
Judge(s):Joel Flaum, Ilana Rovner, and Virginia Kendall (Laborers Local 236, AFL-CIO, et al v. Walker, et al, 13-3193)
|Click for summary→|
|On April 18, 2014, a three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit, composed of Judges Joel Flaum, Ilana Rovner, and Judge Virginia Kendall of the Northern District of Illinois sitting by designation, ruled that Wisconsin's Act 10, a law enacted in 2011 that barred government employers from collectively bargaining with employees' unions over anything save for wages, was constitutionally sound, upholding a lower court opinion from the Western District of Wisconsin.
In an opinion written by Judge Flaum, the Seventh Circuit affirmed Judge Conley's ruling, commenting that "the line between constitutionality and unconstitutionally is not drawn according to how open a state decisionmaker is to what you have to say."
| • "Banana Lady" copyright infringement case dismissed (2014)|
Judge(s):Richard Posner, Michael Kanne, and John Tinder (Conrad v. AM Community Credit Union, et al, 13-2899)
|Click for summary→|
|On April 14, 2014, a three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit, composed of Judges Richard Posner, Michael Kanne, and John Tinder, found that Catherine Conrad (also known as the "Banana Lady"), a pro se plaintiff, did not have a valid copyright infringement claim related to videos of her "singing telegram" performance posted on Facebook.
Conrad further appealed to the Seventh Circuit, where Posner, writing for the majority, affirmed Judge Crabb's dismissal of the lawsuit, noting that the "Banana Lady" had long abused the judicial system, having filed at least eight "frivolous lawsuits" in federal court since 2009, and at least nine in state court since 2011. Posner encouraged the Western District of Wisconsin to prevent Conrad from filing additional lawsuits until she paid her prior litigation debts of over $130,000 in defendants' fees and costs.
The Seventh Circuit was established by the United States Congress in 1891 with the Evarts Act of 1891, which established the first nine appeals circuits. Over the years, nine additional seats were added to the court, resulting in a total of eleven seats. The court has moved six times throughout its history, but has always remained in Chicago.
The following table highlights the development of judicial posts for the Seventh Circuit:
|March 3, 1891||26 Stat. 826||2|
|February 8, 1895||28 Stat. 643||3|
|March 3, 1905||33 Stat. 992||4|
|May 31, 1938||52 Stat. 584||5|
|August 3, 1949||63 Stat. 493||6|
|May 19, 1961||75 Stat. 80||7|
|March 18, 1966||80 Stat. 75||8|
|October 20, 1978||92 Stat. 1629,1632||9|
|July 10, 1984||98 Stat. 333||11|
Former chief judges
In order to qualify for the office of chief judge in one of the federal courts, a judge must have been in active service on the court for at least one year, be under the age of 65, and have not previously served as chief judge. A vacancy in the office of chief judge is filled by the judge highest in seniority among the group of qualified judges. The chief judge serves for a term of seven years or until age 70, whichever occurs first. The age restrictions are waived if no members of the court would otherwise be qualified for the position. Unlike the Chief Justice of the United States, a chief judge returns to active service after the expiration of his or her term and does not create a vacancy on the bench by the fact of his or her promotion.
For more information about the judges of the Seventh Circuit, see former federal judges of the Seventh Circuit.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has moved into six different court buildings. The original building was located at the Northwest corner of Monroe Street and Dearborn Street and shared space with the U.S. Customs House and Post Office. The building was gutted by the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. The court moved to a newly constructed building in 1980 located between Clark, Adams, and Dearborn streets and Jackson Boulevard. The building was poorly constructed, and the court moved again in 1894 to the Monadnock building at the corner of Jackson Boulevard and Dearborn Street. The Monadnock building served as a temporary home until a new courthouse was built in 1905 by architect Henry Ives Cobb. The court moved again in 1938 to 1212 Lake Shore Drive and one final time in 1965 to its present location at the Everett M. Dirksen Federal Building. The current building was constructed by principal architect Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe. The official court website describes the building, stating,
|“||The block-long building rises thirty stories on a skeleton of structural steel, supported by concrete caissons extending to rock one hundred feet below sidewalk level. It is sheathed in a curtain wall of steel, aluminum and bronze-tinted glass. The entire ground level area is paved in granite, extending to the lobby as interior paving and onto the elevator core walls.||”|
Judicial nominating commission
The Wisconsin Federal Nominating Commission was originally established in 1979 by Wisconsin Senators William Proxmire and Gaylord Nelson. The commission recommends nominees for the following courts: Eastern District of Wisconsin, Western District of Wisconsin and Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The commission also recommends nominees for United States attorney for the Eastern and Western districts.
2013 changes to the commission
The president is tasked with making appointments for Article III judgeships and relies upon the senators from the state in which the judge will sit to make suggestions or recommendations for these appointments. Senators, in turn, have the ability to create nominating commissions to assist them with their recommendations. When the state's senators are from opposing parties, tensions can rise and stymie the process. When the Wisconsin commission was first created in 1979, it was decided that, in this difficult situation, that the senator representing the party to which the president also belonged would appoint five members to the commission, while the other senator was able to appoint three members.
In April 2013, Senators Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson reorganized the Wisconsin nominating commission. It is now composed of six members of the Wisconsin State Bar, and each senator appoints three members.
The court offers a unique Internet presence that includes wiki and RSS feeds of opinions and oral arguments. No other United States district or appellate court offers oral arguments using these feeds to the Internet with the exception of United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, which offers RSS features.
- United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
- Judges of the Seventh Circuit
- Seventh Circuit Official Opinions Database
- Courthouse News Service, "Degrading strip searches may show retaliation," June 14, 2013
- Courthouse News Service, "States must pay tariff to help build $5.2 billion wind power energy grid," June 11, 2013
- Courthouse News Service, "Illinois federal warned about new precedent," June 4, 2013
- Courthouse News, "Abortion Law Remains Enjoined in Wisconsin," December 24, 2013
- Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, "7th Circuit upholds warrantless entry, seizure of gun rights activist," May 13, 2014
- Courthouse News Service, "Defeat for Union Challenge to Wisc. Labor Law," April 23, 2014
- Courthouse News Service, "7th Circuit Squishes Banana Lady's Suit," April 16, 2014
- History of the Seventh Circuit on the Federal Judicial Center website
- United States Courts, "Frequently Asked Questions"
- United States Courts, "On Being Chief Judge," February 2009
- United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, "Seventh Circuit Courthouses," accessed April 26, 2014
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- Tammy Baldwin United States Senator for Wisconsin, Press Release: "Wisconsin Senators Announce Agreement on Wisconsin Judicial Commission to move Federal Nominations Forward," April 17, 2013
- Journal Sentinel, "Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin reach deal on nominating federal judges," April 17, 2013
|Former judges||John Paul Stevens • Julian William Mack • Terence Evans • John Coffey (Seventh Circuit) • Jesse Eschbach • Walter Quintin Gresham • Thomas Fairchild • Philip Tone • William Allen Woods • James Graham Jenkins • William Henry Seaman • John William Showalter • Peter Stenger Grosscup • Christian Cecil Kohlsaat • Albert Barnes Anderson • Francis Elisha Baker • Samuel Alschuler • Evan Alfred Evans • Louis FitzHenry • George True Page • Walter Lindley • William Morris Sparks • James Earl Major • Walter Treanor • Francis Duffy • Otto Kerner, Sr. • Otto Kerner, Jr. • Harlington Wood • Winfred Knoch • William Parkinson • Luther Swygert • Sherman Minton • Latham Castle • Walter Cummings • Philip Finnegan • John Hastings • Roger Kiley • Wilbur Pell • Elmer Schnackenberg • Robert Sprecher • Hardress Swaim •|
|Former Chief judges|