United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

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Eastern District of Michigan
Sixth Circuit
Judges: 15
Posts: 15
Vacancies: 0
Active judges
Chief: Gerald Rosen
Senior Judges
Magistrate Judges
Chief Magistrate: Steven Whalen
Former Judges
(Numbers indicate % of seats vacant.)
More than 40%

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan is one of ninety-four United States district courts. It was established by an act of Congress on December 24, 1863. When decisions of the court are appealed, they are appealed to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals based in downtown Cincinnati at the Potter A. Stewart Federal Courthouse and Building.

The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. The current district attorney is Barbara L. McQuade.[1]

Vacancy warning level

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan's vacancy warning level is green. The court currently has no vacancies out of its fifteen posts.

Pending nominations

There are no pending nominations for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Active judges

Article III judges

JudgeBornHomeAppointed byActiveChiefPreceededBachelorsLaw
Judge Victoria Roberts1951Detroit, MIClinton 6/29/1998 - PresentGeorge LaPlataUniversity of Michigan, B.A., 1973Northeastern U. School of Law, J.D., 1977
Judge Paul Borman1939Detroit, MIClinton 8/10/1994 - PresentStewart NewblattUniversity of Michigan, B.A., 1959University of Michigan Law School, J.D., 1962
Judge Sean Cox (Michigan)1957Detroit, MIW. Bush 6/12/2006 - PresentLawrence ZatkoffUniversity of Michigan, B.G.S., 1979Detroit College of Law, J.D., 1983
Judge Denise Hood1952Columbus, OHClinton 6/16/1994 - PresentGeorge WoodsYale U., B.A., 1974Columbia Law School, J.D., 1977
Judge David M. Lawson1951Detroit, MIClinton 6/2/2000 - PresentAvern CohnUniversity of Notre Dame, B.A., 1973Wayne State U., J.D., 1976
Judge Thomas Ludington1953Midland, MIW. Bush 6/12/2006 - PresentPaul GadolaAlbion College, B.A., 1976University of San Diego School of Law, J.D., 1979
Chief Judge Gerald Rosen1951Chandler, AZH.W. Bush 3/12/1990 - Present2009 - PresentPhilip PrattKalamazoo College, 1973George Washington U. Law School, 1979
Judge Gershwin Drain1949Detroit, MIObama 8/2/2012 - PresentBernard FriedmanWestern Michigan University, 1970University of Michigan Law, 1972
Judge Mark Goldsmith1952Detroit, MIObama 6/2/2010 - PresentJohn O'MearaUniversity of Michigan, B.A., 1974Harvard Law School, J.D., 1977
Judge Stephen Murphy1962St. Louis, MOW. Bush 8/18/2008-PresentPatrick DugganMarquette U., B.S., 1984St. Louis U., J.D., 1987
Judge Linda V. Parker1958Detroit, MichiganObama 3/12/2014-PresentRobert ClelandUniversity of Michigan, B.A., 1980George Washington U. Law, J.D., 1983
Judge Laurie Michelson1967Detroit, MichiganObama 3/12/2014-PresentGeorge SteehUniversity of Michigan, A.B., 1989Northwestern U. Law, J.D., 1992
Judge Terrence Berg1959Detroit, Mich. 12/6/2012-PresentArthur TarnowGeorgetown University, 1981Georgetown University Law, 1986
Judge Judith Ellen Levy1958Detroit, MichiganObama 3/12/2014-PresentNancy EdmundsUniversity of Michigan, B.S., 1981University of Michigan Law, J.D., 1996
Judge Matthew Frederick Leitman1968Troy, MichiganObama 3/12/2014-PresentMarianne BattaniUniversity of Michigan, B.A., 1990Harvard Law, J.D., 1993

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 Bernard FriedmanReagan 4/20/1988 - 1/1/20092004 - 20091/1/2009 - PresentDetroit College of Law, J.D., 1968
Senior Judge Marianne BattaniClinton 6/2/2000 - 6/9/20126/9/2012 - PresentUniversity of Detroit, B.A., 1966Detroit College of Law, J.D., 1972
Senior Judge Anna TaylorCarter 11/2/1979 - 12/31/19981996 - 199812/31/1998 - PresentBarnard College, B.A., 1954Yale Law School, LL.B., 1957
Senior Judge Robert ClelandH.W. Bush 6/19/1990 - 3/1/20133/1/2013 - PresentMichigan State U., B.A., 1969University of North Carolina School of Law, J.D., 1972
Senior Judge Avern Cohn 9/26/1979-10/9/199910/9/1999-PresentUniversity of Michigan, 1943University of Michigan Law School, 1949
Senior Judge Julian CookCarter 9/23/1978 - 12/30/19961989 - 199612/30/1996 - PresentPennsylvania State U., B.A., 1952Georgetown U. Law Center, J.D., 1957
Senior Judge Patrick DugganReagan 10/14/1986 - 9/29/20009/29/2000 - PresentXavier U., Ohio, B.S., 1955University of Detroit School of Law, LL.B., 1958
Senior Judge Nancy EdmundsH.W. Bush 2/10/1992 - 8/1/20128/1/2012 - PresentCornell U., B.A., 1969Wayne State U. Law School, J.D., 1976
Senior Judge John O'MearaClinton 9/15/1994 - 1/1/20071/1/2007 - PresentUniversity of Notre Dame, A.B., 1955Harvard Law School, LL.B., 1962
Senior Judge George SteehClinton 5/22/1998 - 1/29/20131/29/2013 - PresentUniversity of Michigan, B.A., 1969University of Michigan Law School, J.D., 1973
Senior Judge Arthur TarnowClinton 5/22/1998 - 5/26/20105/26/2010 - PresentWayne State U., B.A., 1963Wayne State U. Law School, J.D., 1965
Senior Judge Stewart NewblattCarter 9/26/1979 - 12/23/199312/23/1993 - PresentUniversity of Michigan, 1950University of Michigan Law School, 1952
Senior Judge Charles JoinerNixon 6/9/1972 - 8/15/19848/15/1984 - PresentUniversity of Iowa, B.A., 1937University of Iowa College of Law, J.D., 1939
Senior Judge James HarveyNixon 12/19/1973-3/31/19843/31/1984-PresentUniversity of Michigan Law School, 1948
Senior Judge James ChurchillFord 12/20/1974 - 12/31/19891989 - 198912/31/1989 - PresentUniversity of Michigan, B.B.A., 1947University of Michigan Law School, LL.B., 1950

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.


Magistrate judges

Executive Magistrate Judge Steven Whalen09/2002 - PresentUniversity of IllinoisWayne State U., J.D.
Magistrate Judge Michael Hluchaniuk12/2007 - PresentUniversity of Michigan, 1969Wayne State U., J.D., 1972
Magistrate Judge (Recalled) Paul Komives
Magistrate Judge Mona Majzoub01/06/2004 - PresentUniversity of Michigan, B.A., 1970University of Detroit, J.D., 1976
Magistrate Judge David Grand
Magistrate Judge Patricia T. Morris5/15/2014-5/14/2022University of MichiganCooley Law, J.D.


The Counties of the Eastern District of Michigan (click for larger map)

The Eastern District of Michigan has original jurisdiction over cases filed within its jurisdiction. These cases can include civil and criminal matters that fall under federal law.

The District Court is based in Detroit, with courthouses also located in Ann Arbor, Bay City, Flint, and Port Huron.

The geographic jurisdiction of the Eastern District of Michigan consists of all the following counties in the eastern part of the state of Michigan.




Federal Court Caseload Statistics*
YearStarting case load:Cases filed:Total cases:Cases terminated:Remaining cases:Median time(Criminal)**:Median time(Civil)**:3 Year Civil cases#:Vacant posts:## Trials/Post
2013 66807089137697047 67229.68.0463 (8.5%)3915
2012 64837019135026865 66379.68.1452 (8.6%)27.713
2011 60586930129886545 644310.58.4398 (7.8%)2413
2010 60526231122836201 608210.58.4262 (5.5%)24.812
2009 65226003125256094 643111.29177 (3.7%)20.912
2008 68856414132996911 638812.19.7450 (8.5%)20.810
200762316661128926522637013.38.3179 (3.2%)20.913
*All statistics are taken from the Official Federal Courts' Website and reflect the calendar year through September.    **Time in months from filing to completion.
#This statistic includes cases which have been appealed in higher courts.    ##This is the total number of months that any judicial posts had spent vacant that year.

Notable cases

For a searchable list of opinions, please see Justia.com-Dockets and Filings-Eastern District of Michigan.


On July 1, 1836, Statute 5 Stat. 61 organized the State of Michigan as one judicial district. One judgeship was authorized for this U.S. district court, and being that it was not assigned to a judicial circuit, the district court was granted the same jurisdiction as the United States circuit courts, excluding appeals and writs of error, which are the jurisdiction of the United States Supreme Court.

On March 3, 1837, the circuit court jurisdiction was repealed, and the U.S. District Court for the District of Michigan was assigned to the Seventh Circuit, in addition to establishing a circuit court for the district.

Congress reorganized the circuits and assigned Michigan to the Eighth Circuit on July 15, 1862, followed by reassignment to the Seventh Circuit on January 28, 1863.

The State of Michigan divided into two judicial districts on February 24, 1863. The districts were known as the Eastern District of Michigan and the Western District of Michigan. One judgeship was authorized for each district, and the district judge serving the District of Michigan was assigned over to the Eastern District of Michigan.

Congress again reorganized the circuits and assigned Michigan over to the Sixth Circuit on July 23, 1866. Over time, 14 additional judicial posts were added for a total of 15 current posts.[17]

Judicial posts

The following table highlights the development of judicial posts for the Eastern District of Michigan:[17]

Year Statute Total Seats
February 24, 1863 12 Stat. 660 1
September 14, 1922 42 Stat. 837 2(1 temporary)
March 3, 1927 44 Stat. 1380 3
February 20, 1931 46 Stat. 1197 4
August 19, 1935 49 Stat. 659 4
May 31, 1938 52 Stat. 585 5
February 10, 1954 68 Stat. 8 6
May 19, 1961 75 Stat. 80 8
June 2, 1970 84 Stat. 294 10
October 20, 1978 92 Stat. 1629 13
July 10, 1984 98 Stat. 333 15

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.[18][19]

Former judges

For more information on the judges of the Eastern District of Michigan, see former federal judges o the Eastern District of Michigan.

Federal courthouse

Five separate courthouses serve the Eastern District of Michigan.

See also

External links


  1. Offices of the United States Attorneys, Official list
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 MLive.com, "Judge calls child's death a 'heinous and barbarous act' in sending killer Anthony Bennett to prison," May 22, 2014
  3. MLive.com, "Anthony Bennett pleads guilty to federal charge of second-degree murder in Mount Pleasant 4-year-old's slaying," December 17, 2013
  4. 4.0 4.1 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Detroit News, "90-year-old drug courier sentenced to three years calls it 'death sentence'," May 7, 2014 (dead link)
  6. Ballotpedia:Michigan Marriage Amendment, Proposal 2 (2004)
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 New York Times, "Federal Judge Strikes Down Michigan’s Ban on Same-Sex Marriage," March 21, 2014
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 DeBoer v. Snyder, "Conclusion"
  9. Same-sex marriage in the federal courts
  10. New York Times, "For Gay Couples in Michigan, a Day of Joy Ends in Legal Uncertainty," March 22, 2014
  11. ACLU, "Hill v. Snyder," November 26, 2013
  12. MLive.com, "Juvenile lifers: Federal judge orders Michigan to offer 'meaningful and realistic' parole hearings," November 26, 2013
  13. Detroit Free Press, "Judge tells state: Give juvenile lifers a shot at parole," November 27, 2013
  14. Toledo Blade, "Michigan weighs fate of its lifers in juvenile prisons," December 6, 2013
  15. State of Michigan Attorney General, "Schuette Announces He Will Appeal Federal Court Ruling Opening Door for Parole for Teenage Murderers," December 2, 2013
  16. The Detroit News, "U.S. appeals court delays possible parole for Michigan's 'juvenile lifers'," December 23, 2013 (dead link)
  17. 17.0 17.1 History of the Eastern District of Michigan on the Federal Judicial Center website
  18. United States Courts, "Frequently Asked Questions"
  19. United States Courts, "On Being Chief Judge," February 2009