United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas

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Northern District of Texas
Fifth Circuit
Judges: 10
Posts: 12
Vacancies: 2
Active judges
Chief: Sidney Fitzwater
Senior Judges
Magistrate Judges
Former Judges
(Numbers indicate % of seats vacant.)
More than 40%

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas is one of ninety-four United States district courts. When decisions of the court are appealed, they are appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals based in downtown New Orleans at the John Minor Wisdom Federal Courthouse.

The United States Attorney for the Northern District of Texas represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. The current district attorney is John R. Parker.[1]

Vacancy warning level

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas's vacancy warning level is yellow. The court currently has two vacancies out of its twelve posts.

Pending nominations

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

Active judges

Article III judges

JudgeBornHomeAppointed byActiveChiefPreceededBachelorsLaw
Chief Judge Sidney Fitzwater1953Olney, MDReagan 3/19/1986 - Present2007 - PresentRobert HillBaylor U., B.A., 1975Baylor U. School of Law, J.D., 1976
Judge Mary Lou Robinson1926Dodge City, KSCarter 4/26/1979 - PresentNew Seat|92 Stat. 1629University of Texas, B.A., 1948University of Texas School of Law, LL.B., 1950
Judge Jorge Solis1951San Ygnacio, TXH.W. Bush 9/16/1991 - PresentRobert PorterMcMurry College, B.A., 1973University of Texas School of Law, J.D., 1976
Judge Sam Lindsay1951San Antonio, TXClinton 3/17/1998 - PresentNew Seat|104 Stat. 5089St. Mary`s U., B.A., 1974University of Texas School of Law, J.D., 1977
Judge Barbara Lynn1952Binghamton, NYClinton 11/22/1999 - PresentHarold SandersUniversity of Virginia, B.A., 1973Southern Methodist U., J.D., 1976
Judge David Godbey1957Temple, TXW. Bush 8/2/2002 - PresentRobert MaloneySouthern Methodist U., B.S.E.E./B.S., 1978Harvard Law School, J.D., 1982
Judge James Kinkeade1951Denton, TXW. Bush 11/15/2002 - PresentElton KendallBaylor U., B.A., 1973Baylor Law School, J.D., 1974
Judge Jane Boyle1954Sharon, PAW. Bush 6/29/2004 - PresentJerry BuchmeyerUniversity of Texas, B.S., 1977Southern Methodist U. School of Law, J.D., 1981
Judge Reed O'Connor1965Houston, TXW. Bush 11/21/2007-PresentJoe FishUniversity of Houston 1986South Texas College of Law, 1989
Judge John McBryde1931Jackson, MSH.W. Bush 8/7/1990 - PresentEldon MahonTexas Christian University, B.S., 1953University of Texas School of Law, LL.B., 1956

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 Joe FishReagan 2/24/1983 - 11/12/20072002 - 200711/12/2007 - PresentYale College, 1965Yale Law School, 1968
Senior Judge Robert Maloney (Texas)Reagan 10/17/1985 - 8/31/20008/31/2000 - PresentSouthern Methodist U., B.B.A., 1956Southern Methodist U. School of Law, J.D., 1960
Senior Judge Sam CummingsReagan 12/9/1987-12/31/20141/1/2015-PresentTexas Tech UniversityBaylor University School of Law
Senior Judge Terry MeansH.W. Bush 11/5/1991 - 7/3/20137/3/2013 - PresentSouthern Methodist U., B.A., 1971Southern Methodist U. School of Law, J.D., 1974

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 Kerry Roach1980 - PresentUniversity of Oklahoma, B.A., 1965University of Texas Law, L.L.B, 1968
Magistrate Judge Clinton Averitte1987 - PresentUniversity of Texas, B.S., 1971Southern Methodist U. Law, J.D., 1974
Magistrate Judge Irma Ramirez2002 - PresentWest Texas State U., B.A., 1986Southern Methodist U. Law, J.D., 1991
Magistrate Judge Nancy Koenig1998 - PresentUniversity of Texas at Austin, B.A., 1972Texas Tech U. Law, J.D., 1982
Magistrate Judge Paul Stickney1998 - PresentUniversity of South Dakota, B.S., 1978University of South Dakota Law, J.D., 1981
Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cureton2010 - PresentBaylor U., B.A., 1990Baylor U. Law, J.D., 1993
Magistrate judge Renee Toliver2010-PresentHoward University, 1981University of Texas Law, 1984
Magistrate Judge Scott Frost2011 - PresentAngelo State U., B.A., 1984Texas Tech U. Law, J.D., 1987
Judge David L. Horan2012-PresentUniversity of Notre Dame, 1996Yale Law School, 2000


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

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

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

The Abilene Division, covering Callahan, Eastland, Fisher, Haskell, Howard, Jones, Mitchell, Nolan, Shackelford, Stephens, Stonewall, Taylor, and Throckmorton counties

The Amarillo Division, covering Armstrong, Briscoe, Carson, Castro, Childress, Collingsworth, Dallam, Deaf Smith, Donley, Gray, Hall, Hansford, Hartley, Hemphill, Hutchinson, Lipscomb, Moore, Ochiltree, Oldham, Parmer, Potter, Randall, Roberts, Sherman, Swisher, and Wheeler counties

The Dallas Division, covering Dallas, Ellis, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Navarro, and Rockwall counties

The Fort Worth Division, covering Comanche, Erath, Hood, Jack, Palo Pinto, Parker, Tarrant, and Wise counties

The Lubbock Division, covering Bailey, Borden, Cochran, Crosby, Dawson, Dickens, Floyd, Gaines, Garza, Hale, Hockley, Kent, Lamb, Lubbock, Lynn, Motley, Scurry, Terry, and Yoakum counties

The San Angelo Division, covering Brown, Coke, Coleman, Concho, Crockett, Glasscock, Irion, Menard, Mills, Reagan, Runnels, Schleicher, Sterling, Sutton, and Tom Green counties

The Wichita Falls Division, covering Archer, Baylor, Clay, Cottle, Foard, Hardeman, King, Knox, Montague, Wichita, Wilbarger, and Young counties

The court convenes in Dallas with divisions in Fort Worth, Amarillo, Abilene, Lubbock, San Angelo, and Wichita Falls. It has jurisdiction over 100 counties in the Northern and Central parts of the state of Texas.




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 75369142166786452 102267.36.597 (1.1%)2.922
2012 53658181135466004 754277.181 (1.3%)022
2011 49656588115535942 56116.46.659 (1.5%)023
2010 45026035105375592 49455.86.589 (2.4%)026
2009 43555654100095492 45176.9747 (1.4%)023
2008 4399542898275519 43087.47.459 (1.9%)0.122
20074326575110077592841496.96.842 (1.4%)019
*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 Texas.


On December 29, 1845, the State of Texas was organized 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 Supreme Court.

Texas was divided into two judicial districts, known as the Eastern District of Texas and the Western District of Texas, on February 21, 1857. One judgeship was authorized for the court in each district. Circuit court jurisdiction of the district court in Texas was repealed on July 15, 1862, and a U.S. circuit court was established for the district and assigned over to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Texas was then assigned to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on July 23, 1866.

The Northern District of Texas was established on February 24, 1879, with one judgeship authorized to the district court. On February 9, 1898, a temporary judgeship was authorized to the Northern District of Texas. However, the statute provided that any vacancy in the existing judgeship would not be filled.

A few years later, on March 11, 1902, the Southern District of Texas was established and one judgeship was authorized to this district court.

The Northern District of Texas had ten judicial posts added over time for a total of twelve current posts.[7]

Judicial posts

The following table highlights the development of judicial posts for the Northern District of Texas:[7]

Year Statute Total Seats
December 29, 1845 9 Stat. 1 1
February 24, 1879 20 Stat. 318 1
February 9, 1898 30 Stat. 240 2
1898 Post Expired 1
February 26, 1919 40 Stat. 1183 2
September 14, 1922 42 Stat. 837 3(1 Temporary)
August 19, 1935 49 Stat. 659 3
May 19, 1961 75 Stat. 80 5
June 2, 1970 84 Stat. 294 6
October 20, 1978 92 Stat. 1629 9
July 10, 1984 98 Stat. 333 10
December 1, 1990 104 Stat. 5089 12

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.[8][9]

Former judges

For more information on judges of the Northern District of Texas, see former federal judges of the Northern District of Texas.

Federal courthouse

Seven separate courthouses serve the Northern District of Texas.

See also

External links