United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
- 1 Vacancy warning level
- 2 Active judges
- 3 Jurisdiction
- 4 Caseloads
- 5 Notable cases
- 6 History
- 7 Federal courthouse
- 8 See also
- 9 External links
- 10 References
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.
Vacancy warning level
There are no pending nominations for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
Article III judges
|Chief Judge Ruben Castillo||1954||Chicago, IL||Clinton||05/9/1994 - Present||07/1/2013 - Present||Nicholas Bua||Loyola University Chicago, 1976||Northwestern University School of Law, 1979|
|Judge John Darrah||1938||Chicago, IL||Clinton||7/14/2000 - Present||George Marovich||Loyola U., B.S., 1965||Loyola U. School of Law, J.D., 1969|
|Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan||1952||Aleppo, Syria||W. Bush||7/15/2003 - Present||Marvin Aspen||Evangel U., B.A., 1975||Franklin Pierce Law Center, J.D., 1978|
|Judge Robert Dow||1965||Madison, WI||W. Bush||12/5/2007 - Present||Charles Kocoras||Yale U., B.A., 1987||Harvard Law School, J.D., 1993|
|Judge Frederick Kapala||1950||Rockford, IL||W. Bush||5/10/2007 - Present||Philip Reinhard||Marquette U., B.A., 1972||University of Illinois College of Law, J.D., 1976|
|Judge Virginia Kendall||1962||Evanston, IL||W. Bush||1/3/2006 - Present||Suzanne Conlon||Northwestern U., B.A., 1984||Loyola U. of Chicago, J.D., 1992|
|Judge Matthew Kennelly||1956||Marion, IN||Clinton||4/22/1999 - Present||Paul Plunkett||University of Notre Dame, B.A., 1978||Harvard Law School, J.D., 1981|
|Judge Charles Norgle||1937||Chicago, IL||Reagan||10/4/1984 - Present||New Seat|98 Stat. 333||Northwestern U., B.B.A., 1964||John Marshall Law School, J.D., 1969|
|Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer||1954||Tokyo, Japan||Clinton||10/22/1998 - Present||William Hart||University of Valparaiso, B.A., 1976||University of Chicago Law School, J.D., 1979|
|Judge Amy St. Eve||1965||Belleville, IL||W. Bush||8/2/2002 - Present||George Lindberg||Cornell U., B.A., 1987||Cornell Law School, J.D., 1990|
|Judge James Zagel||1941||Chicago, IL||Reagan||4/22/1987-Present||Frank McGarr||University of Chicago,1962||Harvard Law School, 1965|
|Judge Sharon Coleman||1960||Chicago, IL||Obama||7/13/2010-Present||Mark Filip||Northern Illinois University, 1981||Washington University School of Law, 1984|
|Judge Gary Feinerman||1965||Skokie, IL||Obama||6/29/2010 - Present||Robert Gettleman||Yale College, B.A., 1987||Stanford Law School, J.D., 1991|
|Judge Edmond E. Chang||1970||New York, NY||Obama||12/20/2010 - Present||Elaine Bucklo||University of Michigan, B.S.E., 1991||Northwestern U. School of Law, J.D., 1994|
|Judge Jorge L. Alonso||1966||Sagua La Grande, Las Villas, Cuba||Obama||12/16/2014-Present||Ronald Guzman||University of Miami, 1988||George Washington University Law, 1991|
|Judge John Z. Lee||5/7/2012-Present||David Coar||Harvard University, 1989||Harvard Law School, 1992|
|Judge John Tharp, Jr.||1960||Camp Lejeune, NC||Obama||5/14/2012 - Present||Blanche Manning||Duke U., A.B., 1982||Northwestern U. Law, J.D., 1990|
|Judge Thomas M. Durkin||Obama||12/17/2012 - Present||Wayne Andersen||University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, B.S., 1975||DePaul U. Law, J.D., 1978|
|Judge Sara Lee Ellis||Obama||10/7/2013 - Present||Joan Gottschall||Indiana U., B.A., 1991||Loyola U. Law, Chicago, J.D., 1994|
|Judge Andrea R. Wood||Obama||October 14, 2013 - Present||William Hibbler||University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, B.A., 1986||U. of Illinois Law, J.D., 1989|
|Judge Manish Shah||1972||Chicago, Illinois||Obama||4/30/2014-Present||Stanford U., B.A., 1994||University of Chicago Law School, J.D., 1998|
|Judge John Robert Blakey||1965||South Bend, IN||Obama||12/16/2014-Present||James Holderman||University of Notre Dame, 1988||University 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 Judge James Holderman||Reagan||4/4/1985-12/30/2013||2006-6/30/2013||12/31/2013-Present||University of Illinois, 1968||University of Illinois College of Law, 1971|
|Senior Judge Marvin Aspen||Carter||7/24/1979 - 7/1/2002||1995 - 2002||7/1/2002 - Present||Northwestern U., B.S., 1956||Northwestern U. School of Law, J.D., 1958|
|Senior Judge Elaine Bucklo||Clinton||10/11/1994 - 10/31/2009||10/31/2009 - Present||Saint Louis U., A.B., 1966||Northwestern U. School of Law, J.D., 1972|
|Senior Judge Suzanne Conlon||Reagan||2/22/1988 - 4/17/2004||4/17/2004 - Present||Mundelein College, B.A., 1963||Loyola U. Chicago School of Law, J.D., 1968|
|Senior Judge Robert Gettleman||Clinton||10/11/1994 - 5/5/2009||5/5/2009 - Present||Boston U., B.S./B.A., 1965||Northwestern U. School of Law, J.D., 1968|
|Senior Judge Joan Gottschall||Clinton||8/1/1996 - 4/23/2012||4/23/2012 - Present||Smith College, B.A., 1969||Stanford Law School, J.D., 1973|
|Senior Judge Ronald Guzman||Clinton||11/15/1999-11/16/2014||11/16/2014-Present||Lehigh University, 1970||New York University Law School, 1973|
|Senior Judge William Hart||Reagan||4/21/1982 - 6/1/1996||6/1/1996 - Present||Loyola U. Chicago School of Law, J.D., 1951|
|Senior Judge Charles Kocoras||Carter||9/30/1980 - 6/30/2006||2002 - 2006||6/30/2006 - Present||De Paul U., B.S., 1961||De Paul U. College of Law, J.D., 1969|
|Senior Judge Joan Lefkow||Clinton||7/11/2000-9/1/2012||9/1/2012-Present||Wheaton College, 1965||Northwestern University Law School, 1971|
|Senior Judge Harry Leinenweber||Reagan||12/17/1985 - 6/3/2002||6/3/2002 - Present||University of Notre Dame, B.A., 1959||University of Chicago Law School, J.D., 1962|
|Senior Judge George Lindberg||H.W. Bush||11/6/1989 - 6/21/2001||6/21/2001 - Present||Northwestern U., B.S., 1954||Northwestern U. School of Law, J.D., 1957|
|Senior Judge Blanche Manning||Clinton||8/10/1994 - 2/1/2010||2/1/2010 - Present||Chicago Teachers College, B.Ed., 1961||John Marshall Law School, J.D., 1967 ; U. of Virginia School of Law, LL.M., 1992|
|Senior Judge George Marovich||Reagan||4/1/1988 - 1/2/2000||1/2/2000 - Present||University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, B.S., 1952||University of Illinois College of Law, J.D., 1954|
|Senior Judge John Nordberg||Reagan||4/21/1982 - 6/18/1994||6/18/1994 - Present||Carleton College||University of Michigan Law School, J.D., 1950|
|Senior Judge Philip Reinhard||H.W. Bush||2/10/1992 - 1/12/2007||1/12/2007 - Present||University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, B.A., 1962||University of Illinois College of Law, J.D., 1964|
|Senior Judge Brian Duff||Reagan||10/17/1985 - 10/30/1996||10/30/1996 - Present||University of Notre Dame, A.B., 1953||DePaul U. College of Law, J.D., 1962|
|Senior Judge Milton Shadur||Carter||5/23/1980 - 6/25/1992||6/25/1992 - Present||University of Chicago, B.S., 1943||University 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 judge Sidney Schenkier||3/30/1998-2022||Northwestern University, 1976||Northwestern University, 1979|
|Presiding Magistrate Judge Geraldine Soat Brown||2000 - Present|
|Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cole||05/06/2005 - Present|
|Magistrate Judge Susan Cox||04/19/2007 - Present||Allegheny College, 1980||Boston U. Law, J.D.,1983|
|Magistrate Judge Michael Mason (Illinois judge)||09/29/2001 - Present||University of Arizona, 1965||John Marshall Law, J.D., 1977|
|Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez||05/20/2005 - Present|
|Magistrate Judge Sheila Finnegan||04/26/2010 - Present|
|Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Gilbert||05/7/2010 - Present|
|Magistrate Judge Young Kim (Illinois)||5/7/2010 - Present|
|Magistrate Judge Mary Rowland||10/01/2012 - Present|
|Magistrate Judge Daniel G. Martin||2012-Present|
|Magistrate Judge Iain D. Johnston||2/1/2013 - Present||Rockford College, 1987||The John Marshall Law School, J.D., 1990|
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:
|Federal Court Caseload Statistics*|
|Year||Starting case load:||Cases filed:||Total cases:||Cases terminated:||Remaining cases:||Median time(Criminal)**:||Median time(Civil)**:||3 Year Civil cases#:||Vacant posts:##||Trials/Post|
|*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.
For a searchable list of opinions, please see Justia.com-Dockets and Filings-Northern District of Illinois.
| • Sherlock Holmes characters no longer protected by copyright (2013)|
Judge(s):Ruben Castillo (Klinger v. Conan Doyle Estate, Ltd., 1:13-cv-01226)
|Click for summary→|
|On December 23, 2013, Judge Ruben Castillo found that characters from the pre-1923 Sherlock Holmes (Holmes) series of novels, including the titular Holmes and his sidekick, Dr. John Watson, entered the public domain, and were no longer protected by copyright. Style and character elements from the works published post-1923, however, were still protected by copyright.
Judge Castillo agreed with Klinger as to his first allegation, writing that “[i]t is a bedrock principle of copyright that ‘once work enters the public domain it cannot be appropriated as private (intellectual property)’ and even the most creative of legal theories cannot trump this tenet.” He disagreed, however, with Klinger’s second allegation, contending that the plaintiff’s arguments were “unavailing and overcome by the relevant case law” on the subject.
| • Judge vacates ruling on NSA surveillance evidence (2013)|
Judge(s):Sharon Johnson Coleman (U.S. v. Daoud, 1:12-cr-00723)
|Click for summary→|
|On September 1, 2013, Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman vacated her own ruling in a case involving constitutional protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. In the underlying case, Adel Daoud, a 19-year-old U.S. citizen, was charged in a terrorism case after being accused of trying to detonate what he believed to be a bomb in downtown Chicago. Daoud was allegedly identified as a potential terrorist through an examination of his digital footprint. On August 28, 2013, Judge Coleman initially found that because the government did not intend to use it at trial, federal prosecutors did not need to provide information as to whether its evidence against Daoud was based on data gleaned from the National Security Agency’s enhanced surveillance techniques. Days later, Judge Coleman changed course, reopening debate to “allow further examination” as to the nature of the government’s classified evidence against Daoud.|
| • Michael Jordan image infringement case (2012)|
Judge(s):Gary Feinerman (Jordan v. Jewel Food Stores, Inc, No. 10 C 340)
|Click for summary→|
|On February 16, 2012, Judge Gary Feinerman ruled against basketball player Michael Jordan in a lawsuit against a store chain who made reference to Jordan in an ad-like magazine layout. According to Feinerman, the layout was constitutionally protected free speech, and did not constitute an advertisement. The lawsuit centered around a layout published by Sports Illustrated in 2009. In it, Jewel congratulated Jordan on his induction to the Basketball Hall of Fame, and included their logo in the layout. It also included basketball shoes with the number "23" on them, in reference to Jordan's jersey number while playing with the Chicago Bulls. Judge Feinerman's ruling stated that because the layout wasn't attempting to sell anything, there was no misappropriation of Jordan's image. He rejected the argument from Jordan's attorneys that the food chain didn't need to be selling a particular item to have used Jordan's image to promote the company.|
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.
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.
The following table highlights the development of judicial posts for the Northern District of Illinois:
|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.
For more information about the judges of the Northern District of Illinois, see former federal judges of the Northern District of Illinois.
Two separate courthouses serve the Northern District of Illinois.
- United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Official Website
- Opinions of the Northern District of Illinois
- Office of Special Counsel, Northern District of Illinois (dead link)
- Judges of the Northern District of Illinois
- Courthouse News Weekly, "Illinois federal warned about new precedent," June 4, 2013
- Chicago Tribune, "Lawsuits say school closings unfair, discriminate against blacks," May 16, 2013
- Offices of the United States Attorneys, Official list
- Courthouse News Service, "Now Sherlock Holmes Belongs to Everyone," January 2, 2014
- Slate, "Is Sherlock Holmes in the Public Domain?," March 26, 2013
- ABC 7 News, "Government wins major spy ruling in Chicago terror case," August 28, 2013
- Slate, "Government Internet Surveillance in Chicago Bomb-Plot Case Can Remain Secret, Judge Rules," August 29, 2013
- Associated Press, "Federal Judge Undoes Key Ruling on Surveillance Evidence," September 4, 2013
- Associated Press, "Federal judge deals blow to Jordan in ad lawsuit," February 16, 2012
- History of the Northern District of Illinois on the Federal Judicial Center website
- United States Courts, "Frequently Asked Questions"
- United States Courts, "On Being Chief Judge," February 2009
Chief Judge: Ruben Castillo • John Darrah • Samuel Der-Yeghiayan • Robert Dow • Frederick Kapala • Virginia Kendall • Matthew Kennelly • Charles Norgle • Rebecca Pallmeyer • Amy St. Eve • James Zagel • Sharon Coleman • Gary Feinerman • Edmond E. Chang • Jorge L. Alonso • John Z. Lee • John Tharp, Jr. • Thomas M. Durkin • Sara Lee Ellis • Andrea R. Wood • Manish Shah • John Robert Blakey
James Holderman • Marvin Aspen • Elaine Bucklo • Suzanne Conlon • Robert Gettleman • Joan Gottschall • Ronald Guzman • William Hart • Charles Kocoras • Joan Lefkow • Harry Leinenweber • George Lindberg • Blanche Manning • George Marovich • John Nordberg • Philip Reinhard • Brian Duff • Milton Shadur •
|Magistrate judges||Sidney Schenkier • Geraldine Soat Brown • Jeffrey Cole • Susan Cox • Michael Mason (Illinois judge) • Maria Valdez • Sheila Finnegan • Jeffrey Gilbert • Young Kim (Illinois) • Mary Rowland • Daniel G. Martin • Iain D. Johnston •|
|Former Article III judges||
Wayne Andersen • David Coar • John F. Grady • William Hibbler • James B. Moran • Ann Williams • Paul Plunkett • Joel Flaum • Ilana Rovner • Mark Filip • Thomas Drummond • Henry Williams Blodgett • William Bauer • Philip Tone • Peter Stenger Grosscup • Christian Cecil Kohlsaat • Solomon Hicks Bethea • Kenesaw Mountain Landis • George Albert Carpenter • Adam Cliffe • James Herbert Wilkerson • John Peter Barnes • George Johnson • William Harrison Holly • Philip Leo Sullivan • Michael Igoe • William Lynch • James Alesia • Richard Austin • Nicholas Bua • William Campbell (Illinois) • John Crowley • Bernard Decker • Susan Getzendanner • Julius Hoffman • Alfred Kirkland • Winfred Knoch • Walter LaBuy • George Leighton • Abraham Marovitz • Prentice Marshall • Frank McGarr • Richard McLaren • Thomas McMillen • Julius Miner • Alexander Napoli • James B. Parsons • Joseph Perry (Illinois) • Edwin Robson • Stanley Roszkowski • Elwyn Shaw • Hubert Will • Charles Woodward •
|Former Chief judges|
State of Illinois
|State executive officers||
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