United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

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Northern District of Illinois
Seventh Circuit
Judges: 22
Posts: 22
Vacancies: 0
Active judges
Chief: Ruben Castillo
Senior Judges
Magistrate Judges
Chief Magistrate: Geraldine Soat Brown
Former Judges
(Numbers indicate % of seats vacant.)
More than 40%

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois is one of ninety-four United States district courts. The district operates out of Chicago and Rockford, Illinois. When decisions of the court are appealed, they are appealed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals located in the same courthouse as the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago.

The United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. The current district attorney is Zachary T. Fardon.[1]

Vacancy warning level

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois's vacancy warning level is green. The court currently has no vacancies out of its twenty-two posts.

Pending nominations

There are no pending nominations for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Active judges

Article III judges

JudgeBornHomeAppointed byActiveChiefPreceededBachelorsLaw
Chief Judge Ruben Castillo1954Chicago, ILClinton 05/9/1994 - Present07/1/2013 - PresentNicholas BuaLoyola University Chicago, 1976Northwestern University School of Law, 1979
Judge John Darrah1938Chicago, ILClinton 7/14/2000 - PresentGeorge MarovichLoyola U., B.S., 1965Loyola U. School of Law, J.D., 1969
Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan1952Aleppo, SyriaW. Bush 7/15/2003 - PresentMarvin AspenEvangel U., B.A., 1975Franklin Pierce Law Center, J.D., 1978
Judge Robert Dow1965Madison, WIW. Bush 12/5/2007 - PresentCharles KocorasYale U., B.A., 1987Harvard Law School, J.D., 1993
Judge Frederick Kapala1950Rockford, ILW. Bush 5/10/2007 - PresentPhilip ReinhardMarquette U., B.A., 1972University of Illinois College of Law, J.D., 1976
Judge Virginia Kendall1962Evanston, ILW. Bush 1/3/2006 - PresentSuzanne ConlonNorthwestern U., B.A., 1984Loyola U. of Chicago, J.D., 1992
Judge Matthew Kennelly1956Marion, INClinton 4/22/1999 - PresentPaul PlunkettUniversity of Notre Dame, B.A., 1978Harvard Law School, J.D., 1981
Judge Charles Norgle1937Chicago, ILReagan 10/4/1984 - PresentNew Seat|98 Stat. 333Northwestern U., B.B.A., 1964John Marshall Law School, J.D., 1969
Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer1954Tokyo, JapanClinton 10/22/1998 - PresentWilliam HartUniversity of Valparaiso, B.A., 1976University of Chicago Law School, J.D., 1979
Judge Amy St. Eve1965Belleville, ILW. Bush 8/2/2002 - PresentGeorge LindbergCornell U., B.A., 1987Cornell Law School, J.D., 1990
Judge James Zagel1941Chicago, ILReagan 4/22/1987-PresentFrank McGarrUniversity of Chicago,1962Harvard Law School, 1965
Judge Sharon Coleman1960Chicago, ILObama 7/13/2010-PresentMark FilipNorthern Illinois University, 1981Washington University School of Law, 1984
Judge Gary Feinerman1965Skokie, ILObama 6/29/2010 - PresentRobert GettlemanYale College, B.A., 1987Stanford Law School, J.D., 1991
Judge Edmond E. Chang1970New York, NYObama 12/20/2010 - PresentElaine BuckloUniversity of Michigan, B.S.E., 1991Northwestern U. School of Law, J.D., 1994
Judge Jorge L. Alonso1966Sagua La Grande, Las Villas, CubaObama 12/16/2014-PresentRonald GuzmanUniversity of Miami, 1988George Washington University Law, 1991
Judge John Z. Lee 5/7/2012-PresentDavid CoarHarvard University, 1989Harvard Law School, 1992
Judge John Tharp, Jr.1960Camp Lejeune, NCObama 5/14/2012 - PresentBlanche ManningDuke U., A.B., 1982Northwestern U. Law, J.D., 1990
Judge Thomas M. DurkinObama 12/17/2012 - PresentWayne AndersenUniversity of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, B.S., 1975DePaul U. Law, J.D., 1978
Judge Sara Lee EllisObama 10/7/2013 - PresentJoan GottschallIndiana U., B.A., 1991Loyola U. Law, Chicago, J.D., 1994
Judge Andrea R. WoodObama October 14, 2013 - PresentWilliam HibblerUniversity of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, B.A., 1986U. of Illinois Law, J.D., 1989
Judge Manish Shah1972Chicago, IllinoisObama 4/30/2014-PresentStanford U., B.A., 1994University of Chicago Law School, J.D., 1998
Judge John Robert Blakey1965South Bend, INObama 12/16/2014-PresentJames HoldermanUniversity of Notre Dame, 1988University of Notre Dame, 1992

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 James HoldermanReagan 4/4/1985-12/30/20132006-6/30/201312/31/2013-PresentUniversity of Illinois, 1968University of Illinois College of Law, 1971
Senior Judge Marvin AspenCarter 7/24/1979 - 7/1/20021995 - 20027/1/2002 - PresentNorthwestern U., B.S., 1956Northwestern U. School of Law, J.D., 1958
Senior Judge Elaine BuckloClinton 10/11/1994 - 10/31/200910/31/2009 - PresentSaint Louis U., A.B., 1966Northwestern U. School of Law, J.D., 1972
Senior Judge Suzanne ConlonReagan 2/22/1988 - 4/17/20044/17/2004 - PresentMundelein College, B.A., 1963Loyola U. Chicago School of Law, J.D., 1968
Senior Judge Robert GettlemanClinton 10/11/1994 - 5/5/20095/5/2009 - PresentBoston U., B.S./B.A., 1965Northwestern U. School of Law, J.D., 1968
Senior Judge Joan GottschallClinton 8/1/1996 - 4/23/20124/23/2012 - PresentSmith College, B.A., 1969Stanford Law School, J.D., 1973
Senior Judge Ronald GuzmanClinton 11/15/1999-11/16/201411/16/2014-PresentLehigh University, 1970New York University Law School, 1973
Senior Judge William HartReagan 4/21/1982 - 6/1/19966/1/1996 - PresentLoyola U. Chicago School of Law, J.D., 1951
Senior Judge Charles KocorasCarter 9/30/1980 - 6/30/20062002 - 20066/30/2006 - PresentDe Paul U., B.S., 1961De Paul U. College of Law, J.D., 1969
Senior Judge Joan LefkowClinton 7/11/2000-9/1/20129/1/2012-PresentWheaton College, 1965Northwestern University Law School, 1971
Senior Judge Harry LeinenweberReagan 12/17/1985 - 6/3/20026/3/2002 - PresentUniversity of Notre Dame, B.A., 1959University of Chicago Law School, J.D., 1962
Senior Judge George LindbergH.W. Bush 11/6/1989 - 6/21/20016/21/2001 - PresentNorthwestern U., B.S., 1954Northwestern U. School of Law, J.D., 1957
Senior Judge Blanche ManningClinton 8/10/1994 - 2/1/20102/1/2010 - PresentChicago Teachers College, B.Ed., 1961John Marshall Law School, J.D., 1967 ; U. of Virginia School of Law, LL.M., 1992
Senior Judge George MarovichReagan 4/1/1988 - 1/2/20001/2/2000 - PresentUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, B.S., 1952University of Illinois College of Law, J.D., 1954
Senior Judge John NordbergReagan 4/21/1982 - 6/18/19946/18/1994 - PresentCarleton CollegeUniversity of Michigan Law School, J.D., 1950
Senior Judge Philip ReinhardH.W. Bush 2/10/1992 - 1/12/20071/12/2007 - PresentUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, B.A., 1962University of Illinois College of Law, J.D., 1964
Senior Judge Brian DuffReagan 10/17/1985 - 10/30/199610/30/1996 - PresentUniversity of Notre Dame, A.B., 1953DePaul U. College of Law, J.D., 1962
Senior Judge Milton ShadurCarter 5/23/1980 - 6/25/19926/25/1992 - PresentUniversity of Chicago, B.S., 1943University of Chicago Law School, J.D., 1949

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

Magistrate judge Sidney Schenkier3/30/1998-2022Northwestern University, 1976Northwestern University, 1979
Presiding Magistrate Judge Geraldine Soat Brown2000 - Present
Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cole05/06/2005 - Present
Magistrate Judge Susan Cox04/19/2007 - PresentAllegheny College, 1980Boston U. Law, J.D.,1983
Magistrate Judge Michael Mason (Illinois judge)09/29/2001 - PresentUniversity of Arizona, 1965John Marshall Law, J.D., 1977
Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez05/20/2005 - Present
Magistrate Judge Sheila Finnegan04/26/2010 - Present
Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Gilbert05/7/2010 - Present
Magistrate Judge Young Kim (Illinois)5/7/2010 - Present
Magistrate Judge Mary Rowland10/01/2012 - Present
Magistrate Judge Daniel G. Martin2012-Present
Magistrate Judge Iain D. Johnston2/1/2013 - PresentRockford College, 1987The John Marshall Law School, J.D., 1990


The Counties of the Northern District of Illinois (click for larger map)

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

There are two court divisions, each covering the following counties:

The Eastern Division, covering Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake County, LaSalle, and Will counties

The Western Division, covering Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Lee, McHenry, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside, and Winnebago counties




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 12070115702364011373 1226717.46.7988 (9.7%)3613
2012 11083117682285110784 12067186.51010 (10%)39.214
2011 11049105452159410208 1138615.36.61163 (12.7%)38.615
2010 1027710138204159346 1106915.16.21207(13.7%)5116
2009 95249693192178900 1031715.96.2943 (11.7%)18.512
2008 89649037180018702 9299156.2752 (10.2%)8.111
200777118816165278385814215.16.2456 (6.5%)15.811
*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-Northern District of Illinois.


Illinois was established as one judicial district by Congress on March 3, 1819, with one post to cover the entire state. The district court was not yet assigned to a judicial circuit and was therefore 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.

Congress repealed the circuit court jurisdiction of the U.S. District Court for the District of Illinois on March 3, 1837, established a United States circuit court within the district, and assigned it over to the Seventh Circuit.

Illinois was divided into two judicial districts on February 13, 1855. The districts were known as the Northern District of Illinois and the Southern District of Illinois. One judgeship was assigned to each district and the District of Illinois was assigned over to the Northern District of Illinois.

Congress reorganized the circuits on July 15, 1862, and assigned Illinois to the Eighth Circuit and then to the Seventh Circuit on July 23, 1866.

The Eastern District of Illinois was established on March 3, 1905. One judgeship was authorized for the district court, as well as an additional judgeship to the Northern District of Illinois. Illinois was again reorganized into the Northern District of Illinois, the Central District of Illinois, and the Southern District of Illinois on October 2, 1978. Thirteen judgeships were assigned for the Northern District of Illinois, two for the Central District of Illinois, and two for the Southern District of Illinois. Over time, nine additional judicial posts were added for a total of twenty-two posts.[8]

Judicial posts

The following table highlights the development of judicial posts for the Northern District of Illinois:[8]

Year Statute Total Seats
March 3, 1819 3 Stat. 502 1
February 13, 1855 10 Stat. 606 1
March 3, 1905 33 Stat. 992 2
May 29, 1928 45 Stat. 974 3
February 25, 1931 46 Stat. 1417 5
May 31, 1938 52 Stat. 584 6
May 24, 1940 54 Stat. 219 7(1 temporary)
August 14, 1950 64 Stat. 443 8
May 19, 1961 75 Stat. 80 10
March 18, 1966 80 Stat. 75 11
June 2, 1970 84 Stat. 294 13
October 2, 1978 92 Stat. 883 13
October 20, 1978 92 Stat. 1629 16
July 10, 1984 98 Stat. 333 21(1 temporary)
December 1, 1990 104 Stat. 5089 22

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.[9][10]

Former judges

For more information about the judges of the Northern District of Illinois, see former federal judges of the Northern District of Illinois.

Federal courthouse

Two separate courthouses serve the Northern District of Illinois.

See also

External links