United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
- 1 Vacancy warning level
- 2 Active judges
- 3 Jurisdiction
- 4 Caseloads
- 5 Notable cases
- 6 History
- 7 Former judges
- 8 Federal courthouse
- 9 See also
- 10 External links
- 11 References
The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, sometimes referred to simply as the Eighth 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 Thomas Eagleton U.S. Courthouse in St. Louis, Missouri.
Vacancy warning level
There are no pending nominations for the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
Article III judges
|Judge Lavenski Smith||W. Bush||7/15/2002 - Present||University of Arkansas||University of Arkansas|
|Judge Bobby Shepherd||W. Bush||10/10/2006 - Present||Morris Arnold||Ouachita Baptist University '73||University of Arkansas Law '75|
|Judge Roger Wollman||Reagan||7/22/1985 - Present||1999-2002||Tabor College '57||University of South Dakota '62|
|Judge James Loken||H.W. Bush||9/10/1990 - Present||2003-2010||Gerald Heaney||University of Wisconsin '62||Harvard Law '65|
|Judge Diana Murphy||Clinton||10/11/1994 - Present||John Gibson||University of Minnesota, B.A., 1954||University of Minnesota Law School, J.D., 1974|
|Judge Kermit Bye||Clinton||3/9/2000-4/22/2015||Gerald Heaney||University of North Dakota '59||University of North Dakota '62|
|Chief Justice William Riley (Eighth Circuit)||W. Bush||05/23/2001 - Present||2010 - Present||Arlen Beam||University of Nebraska, 1969||University of Nebraska College of Law, 1972|
|Judge Steven Colloton||9/10/2003-Present||David Hansen||Princeton University, 1985||Yale Law School, 1988|
|Judge Raymond Gruender||W. Bush||6/5/2004 - Present||Pasco Bowman||University of St. Louis '84||University of St. Louis '87|
|Judge William D. Benton||7/2/2004-Present||Theodore McMillian||Northwestern University, 1972||Yale Law School, 1975|
|Judge Jane Kelly||Obama||04/24/2013 - Present||Michael Melloy||Duke U., 1987||Harvard Law, 1991|
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 David R. Hansen||H.W. Bush||11/18/1991 - 4/1/2003||2002-2003||4/1/2003 - Present||Northwest Missouri State U. '60||George Washington U. Law '63|
|Senior Judge Morris Arnold||H.W. Bush||05/26/1992 - 10/09/2006||1992-1998||10/09/2006-Present||University of Arkansas '65||University of Arkansas '68|
|Senior Judge Myron Bright||L.B. Johnson||6/7/1968-6/1/1985||6/1/1985-present||University of Minnesota '41||University of Minnesota '47|
|Senior Judge(Inactive) John Gibson (Eighth Circuit)||Reagan||3/9/1982 - 1/1/1994||1/1/1994-Present||University of Missouri '49||University of Missouri Law '52|
|Senior Judge Pasco Bowman||Reagan||7/19/1983 - 8/1/2003||1998-1999||8/1/2003-Present||Bridgewater College '55||New York U. Law '58|
|Senior Judge Arlen Beam||Reagan||11/9/1987 - 2/1/2001||2/1/2001 - Present||University of Nebraska, B.S., 1951||University of Nebraska College of Law, J.D., 1965|
|Senior Judge Michael Melloy||W. Bush||02/14/2002 - 02/01/2013||02/01/2013 - Present||Loras College, 1970||University of Iowa College of Law, 1974|
|Senior Judge (Inactive) George Fagg||Reagan||10/1/1982 - 5/1/1999||5/1/1999-Present||Drake U. '56||Drake U. '58|
|Senior Judge (Inactive) Frank J. Magill||Reagan||3/4/1986 - 4/1/1997||4/1/1997-Present||Georgetown U. '51||Georgetown U. Law '55|
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 Eighth 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 Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals are petitioned to the Supreme Court of the United States. Justice Samuel Alito is the Circuit Justice for the Eighth Circuit.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has jurisdiction over the United States district courts in the following federal judicial districts:
|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.|
|• States take ‘’Roe v. Wade’’ challenge to federal court (2015)||Click for summary→|
|North Dakota and Arkansas have asked the Eighth Circuit to reinstate strict abortion laws that were struck down in 2014 by judges in the U.S. district courts. In North Dakota, the law at issue mandated a cut-off for abortions at six weeks post-conception; this was the strictest time frame in the nation. The governor of North Dakota, Jack Dalyrmple, stated that the law was strict in an effort to force a new challenge of ‘’Roe’’at the United States Supreme Court level. In Arkansas, the law allowed abortions until the 12th week.
Central to the arguments made by both sides of this challenge was viability of the fetus, which the United States Supreme Court has defined as survival outside of the womb in opinions subsequent to ‘’Roe’’. Attorneys for North Dakota argued that the standard for determining life is the heartbeat, and therefore a fetus is viable once that is detected. The other side, however, argues that viability means that the fetus can survive outside the mother’s womb with or without assistance from medical equipment. Arkansas lawyers argued that “viability standards have changed.”
Opponents of both states’ laws say that the states want to ignore the framework set out by the Supreme Court in ‘‘Roe’’ and its progeny. Given that the Supreme Court is the highest court in the land, these opponents say that the states have an uphill battle ahead of them.
|• Eighth Circuit affirms police immunity following Taser death (2014)||Click for summary→|
|In June 2014, the Eighth Circuit ruled that Minneapolis police officers were entitled to qualified immunity after a suspect's death in a Taser incident during an arrest. Chief Judge William Riley, writing for a three-judge panel of the court that included Judges Michael Melloy and Jane Kelly, affirmed the trial court's ruling, noting that the police force used was reasonable under the circumstances.
|• Eighth Circuit blocks discovery attempt in lethal injection challenge (2014)||Click for summary→|
|The Eighth Circuit has ruled that Missouri inmates have no right to discovery to learn more about the pharmacy used by the state to procure its execution drugs, unless they can show there is a more humane way to execute. The inmates argued that the drug combination used by the state was cruel and unusual punishment as it could cause “unconstitutionally excruciating death.” The state, through its Department of Corrections, argued that revealing the name of the pharmacy it used could cause the state to have trouble obtaining the drugs it needs to carry out executions.
Judge Steven Colloton wrote the majority opinion. In it, he cited the United States Supreme Court case ‘’Baze v. Rees’’, which held that capital punishment is not violative of an individual’s constitutional rights and is a legal sentence. Because of this, it is logical that a state must have a means to carry out that sentence. Chief Judge William Jay Riley agreed with the majority, along with Judges Roger Wollman, James Loken, Lavenski Smith, Raymond Gruender and Bobby Shepherd. Judges Diana Murphy, Jane Kelly and Kermit Bye dissented from the opinion. They stated that to have death-row inmates suggest other ways to die before discovery is allowed is an absurdity.
The Missouri inmates challenged the use of the lethal injection drugs only after the state could no longer procure one of the three standard drugs used in a drug cocktail in executions, and the state began to use just two drugs. Their lawyers wanted to gather more information about the pharmacy the state used to make the drugs for their executions, the pharmacists and the state’s own execution team.
| • Court upholds South Dakota abortion law (2012)|
Judge(s):En banc (full court) (Planned Parenthood v. State of South Dakota (2012), No. 09-3231/3233/3362)
|Click for summary→|
|In July 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit upheld South Dakota's 2005 abortion law that required doctors to inform patients that having an abortion was linked to depression and even suicide, prior to an operation being performed. The law was challenged as a violation of patients' due process and doctors' First Amendment rights. In addition, challengers to the law insisted that the statements required were not scientifically grounded and were yet unproven. The law was ruled unconstitutional by a three-judge panel of the appeals court, but later overturned by an appeal to the court as a whole.|
| • Lee County School District racial discrimination case (2012)|
Judge(s):Kermit Bye, Michael Melloy, Laurie Smith Camp (Sharon Sanders v. Lee County School Dist. No. 1, et al, 10-3240)
|Click for summary→|
|On February 29, 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit partially overturned a ruling of the Eastern District of Arkansas, finding the Lee County School District to be guilty under federal discrimination laws. Sharon Sanders, a former school finance coordinator, took the district to court following her demotion and subsequent recommendation for dismissal on the basis of race discrimination. According to court records, Sanders and another administrator were demoted following an election where the school board became comprised of a majority of black members. In the original suit, Sanders was awarded compensatory damages, lost wages, punitive damages and attorney's fees by a jury. Upon appeal, a judge of the Eastern District of Arkansas revoked the lost wages and severely cut her award for attorney's fees. The ruling by the Eighth Circuit ordered new proceedings to determine fees for Sanders's attorney and punitive damages, but fundamentally agreed that she had been discriminated against on the basis of race.|
| • Appeal in retired NFL players' suit against NFLPA (2012)|
Judge(s):Unassigned (Eller v. National Football Association Players Association, Civil No. 11-2623 (SRN/JJG).)
|Click for summary→|
|Retired NFL players filed with the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to appeal the decision of Judge Susan Richard Nelson to dismiss their suit against the NFL Players Association. The original suit was dismissed by Judge Nelson on May 29, 2012, in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota. The appeal was heard by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in June 2013.
Judge Nelson dismissed the original suit, ruling that the retired players had no legal right to the hundreds of millions of dollars in additional post-career benefits they claimed to have lost due to the lockout negotiations the previous year. In the decision, Judge Nelson wrote that she accepted the factual basis of the retirees’ claims, but disagreed that the current players had acted illegally during the negotiations.
The Eighth 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. To learn more about the history of the Eighth Circuit, please contact the Historical Society of the United States Courts in the Eighth Circuit.
The following table highlights the development of judicial posts for the Eighth Circuit:
|March 3, 1891||26 Stat. 826||2|
|July 23, 1894||28 Stat. 115||3|
|January 31, 1903||32 Stat. 791||4|
|March 3, 1925||43 Stat. 1116||6|
|February 28, 1929||45 Stat. 1346||5|
|May 24, 1940||54 Stat. 219||7|
|March 18, 1966||80 Stat. 75||8|
|October 20, 1978||92 Stat. 1629||9|
|July 10, 1984||98 Stat. 333||10|
|December 1, 1990||104 Stat. 5089||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 on judges of the Eighth Circuit, see former federal judges of the Eighth Circuit.
The court is located at Thomas Eagleton U.S. Courthouse in St. Louis, Missouri. The twenty-nine-story building was completed in 2000, and contains more than 1.3 million square feet of space. It is the tallest U.S. Federal courthouse, standing at 557 feet.
- United States court of appeals
- News: Eighth Circuit upholds SD abortion law, July 31, 2012
- News: U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals rules in favor of South Dakota pro-life law, September 12, 2011
- News: North Dakota appeals court throws out woman's guilty plea, August 29, 2011
- News: South Dakota man's death penalty case moves closer to execution, August 15, 2011
- News: South Dakota man's death penalty case to be heard by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, June 28, 2011
- News: Eighth Circuit Court upholds embezzlement ruling, June 13, 2011
- United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, "Official Website"
- Eighth Circuit, "Active and Senior Judges"
- FindLaw, "United States Eighth Circuit Cases"
- Courthouse News Service, "Iowa election law curbed for anti-abortion group," June 20, 2013
- [ http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2013-04-18/north-dakota-targets-roe-v-dot-wade ‘’Bloomberg’’, “North Dakota Targets ‘Roe v. Wade’,” April 18, 2013]
- [ http://thedailyrecord.com/2015/01/13/north-dakota-arkansas-challenge-roe-in-federal-court/ ‘’Daily Record’’, “North Dakota, Arkansas challenge Roe in federal court,” January 13, 2015]
- St. Louis Today, “Federal appeals decision deals blow to Missouri death row inmates,” January 29, 2014
- Chicago Tribune, "Appeals court upholds South Dakota abortion law's suicide advisory," July 24, 2012
- Arkansas News, "Court: Race behind white school employees's forced resignation," February 28, 2012 (dead link)
- ESPN, "Retirees appeal dismissed lawsuit," June 21, 2012
- Fox News, "Retirees' lawsuit against NFLPA dismissed," May 30, 2012
- SportingNews NFL, "Retired players' lawsuit vs. NFLPA dismissed," May 29, 2012
- Federal Judicial Center, "History of the Eighth Circuit," accessed on August 1, 2014
- United States Courts, "Frequently Asked Questions"
- United States Courts, "On Being Chief Judge," February 2009
- U.S. General Services Administration, "Thomas F. Eagleton U.S. Courthouse," accessed on August 1, 2014
Chief Judge: William Riley (Eighth Circuit) • Lavenski Smith • Bobby Shepherd • Roger Wollman • James Loken • Diana Murphy • Kermit Bye • Steven Colloton • Raymond Gruender • William D. Benton • Jane Kelly
|Former judges||Henry Clay Caldwell • Elmer Bragg Adams • John Emmett Carland • Amos Madden Thayer • Walter Henry Sanborn • William Cather Hook • John Hazelton Cotteral • Robert E. Lewis • Willis Van Devanter • Walter Inglewood Smith • Arba Seymour Van Valkenburgh • Wilbur Franklin Booth • Charles Breckenridge Faris • Kimbrough Stone • Joseph William Woodrough • William Squire Kenyon • John Benjamin Sanborn • John D. Kelly • Archibald Gardner • Seth Thomas • John Collet • Charles Joseph Vogel • Jesse Henley • Roy Stephenson • William Webster • Floyd Gibson • Albert Ridge • Charles Whittaker • Harvey Johnsen • Harry Blackmun • Gerald Heaney • Donald Lay • Marion Matthes • Theodore McMillian • Pat Mehaffy • Walter Riddick • Martin Van Oosterhout • Donald Ross •|
|Former Chief judges||
David R. Hansen • Morris Arnold • Roger Wollman • James Loken • Pasco Bowman • Archibald Gardner • Charles Joseph Vogel • Floyd Gibson • Harvey Johnsen • Donald Lay • Marion Matthes • Pat Mehaffy • Martin Van Oosterhout •