United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

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District of Columbia Circuit
Court of Appeals
Judges: 11
Posts: 11
Vacancies: 0
Active judges
Chief: Merrick Garland
Senior Judges
Magistrate Judges
Former Judges
(Numbers indicate % of seats vacant.)
More than 40%

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, known informally as the D.C. Circuit, is the federal appellate court for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Appeals from the D.C. Circuit, as with all the U.S. Courts of Appeals, are heard on a discretionary basis by the Supreme Court. The D.C. Circuit was established in 1893 and has 11 posts. The court is located at the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse in Washington, D.C.

It should not be confused with the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, which is roughly equivalent to a state supreme court in the District of Columbia, or with the Federal Circuit, whose jurisdiction is limited by subject matter.

Vacancy warning level

The vacancy warning level for the District of Columbia Circuit is green. The court currently has no vacancies out of its 11 total seats.

Pending nominations

There are no pending nominations for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Active judges

Article III judges

JudgeAppointed byActiveChiefPreceededBachelorsLaw
Judge Janice BrownW. Bush 6/10/2005 - PresentStephen F. WilliamsCalifornia State U. '74University of California Los Angeles Law '77
Chief Judge Merrick GarlandClinton 3/20/1997 - Present2/12/13 - PresentAbner MikvaHarvard '74Harvard Law '77
Judge Thomas Griffith 6/29/2005-PresentPatricia WaldBrigham Young University, 1978University of Virginia Law, 1985
Judge Karen Henderson 07/05/1990-PresentKenneth StarrDuke University, 1966University of North Carolina Law, 1969
Judge Brett KavanaughW. Bush 5/29/2006 - PresentLaurence SilbermanYale '87Yale Law '90
Judge Judith Rogers 3/11/1994-PresentClarence ThomasRadcliffe College, 1961Harvard Law, 1964
Judge David Tatel 10/7/1994-PresentRuth Bader GinsburgUniversity of Michigan, 1963University of Chicago Law, 1966
Judge Robert Leon Wilkins 9/12/2014-PresentDavid SentelleRose-Hulman Institute of Technology, 1986Harvard Law, 1989
Judge Srikanth SrinivasanObama 05/23/2013 - PresentArthur RandolphStanford U., 1989Stanford U. Law, 1995
Judge Patricia Ann MillettObama 12/10/2013 - PresentJohn G. Roberts, Jr.University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, B.A., 1985Harvard Law, J.D. 1988
Judge Cornelia T. L. PillardObama 12/12/2013 - PresentDouglas GinsburgYale College, B.A., 1983Harvard Law, J.D., 1987

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 judges

JudgeAppointed byActiveChiefSeniorBachelorsLaw
Senior judge Stephen F. Williams 06/16/1986-09/30/200809/30/2008-PresentYale University, 1958Harvard Law, 1961
Senior Judge David SentelleReagan 09/11/1987 - 02/12/20132008 - 201302/12/2013 - PresentUniversity of North Carolina, Chapel Hill '65University of North Carolina Law '68
Senior Judge Douglas GinsburgReagan 10/14/1986 - 10/14/20112001-200810/14/2011 - PresentCornell'70University of Chicago Law '73
Senior judge Harry Edwards 2/20/1980-11/3/20051994-200111/3/2005-PresentCornell University, 1962University of Michigan Law, 1965
Senior judge Arthur RandolphH.W. Bush 07/16/1990 - 11/01/200811/01/2008 - PresentDrexel U., 1966University of Pennsylvania Law, 1969
Senior judge Laurence SilbermanReagan 10/28/1985 - 11/1/200011/1/2000 - PresentDartmouth '57Harvard Law '61
Senior judge James L. BuckleyReagan 12/17/1985-8/31/19968/31/1996-PresentYale '43Yale Law '49

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 United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has appellate jurisdiction over cases heard by the D.C. Circuit. These cases can include civil and criminal matters that fall under federal law. Appeals of rulings by the D.C. Circuit are petitioned to the Supreme Court of the United States. Chief Justice John Roberts is the Circuit Justice for the D.C. Circuit.

Because of the nature of its jurisdiction, the ideologies of the judges who serve on the District of Columbia Circuit is often a partisan issue.[1]



Federal Court Caseload Statistics*
YearStarting case load:Cases filed:Total cases:Cases terminated:Remaining casesTerminations on merits:Terminations on ProcedureCross 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.

Notable cases

For a searchable list of decisions from the D.C. Circuit, please see: D.C. Circuit Searchable Opinions


The D.C. Circuit was established on February 9, 1893, by 27 Stat. 434, which granted the court one chief justice and two associate justices. Over the years, eight additional seats were added, resulting in a total of 11 posts.[6]

Judicial posts

The following table highlights the development of judicial posts for the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit:

Year Statute Total Seats
February 9, 1893 27 Stat. 434 3
June 19, 1930 46 Stat. 785 5
May 31, 1938 52 Stat. 584 6
August 3, 1949 63 Stat. 493 9
October 20, 1978 92 Stat. 1629 11
July 10, 1984 98 Stat. 333 12
January 7, 2008 121 Stat. 2534 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.[7][8]

Former judges

For more on the judges of the D.C. Circuit, see former federal judges of the D.C. Circuit.

See also

External links