United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth 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 Tenth Circuit, sometimes referred to simply as the Tenth Circuit, is one of the thirteen federal appellate courts. The court was established in 1929 with the Tenth Circuit Reorganization Act and has fifteen posts. The court is located at the Byron White U.S. Courthouse in Denver.
Vacancy warning level
There are no pending nominations for the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.
Article III judges
|Judge Jerome Holmes||W. Bush||8/9/2006 - Present||Stephanie Seymour||Wake Forest U., B.A., 1983||Georgetown U. Law, J.D., 1988|
|Judge Neil Gorsuch||W. Bush||8/8/2006 - Present||David Ebel||Columbia U. '88||Harvard Law '91|
|Judge Timothy Tymkovich||W. Bush||4/1/2003 - Present||John Porfilio||Colorado College '79||University of Colorado Law '82|
|Judge Harris Hartz||W. Bush||12/10/2001 - Present||Bobby Baldock||Harvard '67||Harvard Law '72|
|Judge Carlos Lucero||6/30/1995-Present||Adams State College, 1961||George Washington University Law, 1964|
|Chief Judge Mary Briscoe||Clinton||5/26/1995 - Present||2010-Present||James Logan||University of Kansas '69||University of Kansas Law '73|
|Judge Paul Kelly||H.W. Bush||4/13/1992 - Present||Notre Dame '63||Fordham Law '67|
|Judge Carolyn McHugh||Obama||3/12/2014-Present||2012-2014||Michael R. Murphy||University of Utah, 1978||University of Utah College of Law, 1982|
|Judge Nancy Caplinger-Moritz||Obama||5/6/2014-Present||Deanell Tacha||Washburn University, B.B.A., 1982||Washburn Law School, J.D., 1985|
|Judge Robert Bacharach||Obama||2/25/2013 - Present||University of Oklahoma, B.A., 1981||Washington U. Law, J.D., 1985|
|Judge Scott Matheson||Obama||12/22/2010 - Present||Michael McConnell||Stanford U. '75||Yale Law '80|
|Judge Gregory Alan Phillips||Obama||7/8/2013-Present||Terrence O'Brien||University of Wyoming, B.A., 1983||University of Wyoming Law, J.D., 1987|
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 Terrence O'Brien||W. Bush||4/16/2002 - 4/30/2013||4/30/2013 - Present||University of Wyoming '65||University of Wyoming Law '72|
|Senior Judge Michael R. Murphy (Tenth Circuit)||Clinton||8/14/1995-12/31/2012||12/31/2012-Present||Creighton University, 1969||University of Wyoming, 1972|
|Senior Judge David Ebel||Reagan||04/20/1988 - 01/15/2006||01/16/2006 - Present||Northwestern U., B.A., 1962||University of Michigan Law, J.D., 1965|
|Senior Judge Wade Brorby||Reagan||2/17/1988 - 5/25/2001||5/25/2001 - Present||University of Wyoming '56||University of Wyoming Law '58|
|Senior Judge Bobby Baldock||Reagan||12/17/1985 - 1/26/2001||1/26/2001 - Present||New Mexico Military Institute '56||University of Arizona Law '60|
|Senior Judge Deanell Tacha||Reagan||12/16/1985 - 1/27/2011||2001-2007||1/27/2011 - Present||University of Kansas '68||University of Michigan Law '71|
|Senior Judge Stephen Anderson||Reagan||10/16/1985 - 1/1/2000||1/1/2000 - Present||University of Utah Law School, 1960|
|Senior Judge John Porfilio||Reagan||5/10/1985-10/15/1999||10/15/1999-Present||Denver University, 1956||University of Denver Law School, 1959|
|Senior Judge Stephanie Seymour||Carter||11/2/1979 - 10/16/2005||1994-2000||10/16/2005 - Present||Smith College '62||Harvard Law '65|
|Senior Judge Monroe McKay||Carter||12/1/1977-12/31/1993||1991-1993||12/31/1993-Present||Brigham Young University, 1957||University of Chicago Law, 1960|
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 Tenth 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 Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals are petitioned to the Supreme Court of the United States. Justice Sonia Sotomayor is the Circuit Justice for the Tenth Circuit.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit has jurisdiction over the United States district courts in the following federal judicial districts:
- District of Colorado
- District of Kansas
- District of New Mexico
- Eastern District of Oklahoma
- Northern District of Oklahoma
- Western District of Oklahoma
- District of Utah
- District of Wyoming
|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.|
For a searchable list of decisions from the Tenth Circuit, please see:
Tenth Circuit Searchable Opinions
|• States cannot require citizenship documents to register to vote (2014)||Click for summary→|
|On November 10, 2014, the Tenth Circuit struck down Kansas and Arizona requirements to show citizenship documents when registering to vote. The ruling is an affirmation of action taken by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, which blocked the states from requiring those documents and lead both states to sue in federal court.
The federal court found that the agency exceeded its authority in blocking the states from requiring citizenship documents. Yet, the three-judge panel of the Tenth Circuit, consisting of Judges Jerome Holmes, Carlos Lucero and Gregory Alan Phillips, said that the states lacked the authority to require the federal government to include citizenship documents as a requirement on the voter registration form, which the states argued the agency had to do in compliance with the states’ own laws. Further, Judge Lucero, writing for the panel, said that the states failed to show that requiring proof of citizenship in any way decreased fraudulent voting.
| • Utah same-sex marriage ruling upheld (2014)|
Judge(s):Paul Kelly, Carlos Lucero and Jerome Holmes (Kitchen v. Herbert, 13-4178)
|Click for summary→|
|Judge Carlos Lucero was opinion writing judge in the appeal of Kitchen v. Herbert, a case that involved a same-sex marriages in Utah. The Tenth Circuit ruled 2-1 in favor of District of Utah's ruling ending the ban on the grounds that it violated the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause. Judge Lucero wrote and Jerome Holmes concurred:
Judge Paul Kelly dissented on the point that marriage is a fundamental right, stating:
|• Tenth Circuit refuses stay on injunction against online streaming company Aero (2014)||Click for summary→|
|Aereo, a company that retransmits television signals to subscribers, was enjoined by federal Judge Dale Kimball from operating in six states in February 2014. Judge Kimball found that Aereo was “indistinguishable” from a cable provider and should have the proper licenses necessary to stream broadcast network signals to subscribers. The injunction covered six states: Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Kansas and Oklahoma.
Afterwards, the company sought to have the injunction lifted with a preliminary stay until after trial by appealing to the Tenth Circuit. Judges Mary Briscoe and Robert Bacharach, the majority of a three-judge panel, refused to lift the injunction, stating that Aereo did not sufficiently show that it would likely succeed at trial, one of the requirements to order a stay. Further, the Tenth Circuit judges found no other factors that weighed in favor of staying the injunction.
Aereo operates by sending television signals to many small antennae that allows subscribers to pick up network broadcast signals after a delay from the live stream. The networks themselves began litigation with Aero once the company premiered its service in 2012, arguing that Aero was providing a public performance or broadcast of their copyrighted content. The Second Circuit has already denied the plaintiffs’ copyright claims after finding that what Aereo does is not a public performance as meant by the Copyright Act. Instead, Aereo claims that it provides a signal to millions of tiny antennae that produce a private performance of the networks’ content.
Judge Harris Hartz dissented from the majority.
| • Horse slaughterhouses may reopen prior to resolution of appeal (2013)|
Judge(s):Gregory Alan Phillips and David Ebel (Front Range Equine Rescue, et al v. Vilsack, et al, 13-2187)
|Click for summary→|
|On December 13, 2013, Judges Gregory Alan Phillips and David Ebel of the Tenth Circuit denied an emergency motion filed by animal rights groups for an injunction seeking to halt horse slaughterhouses from resuming operations for the first time since 2007. Plaintiffs requested a stay on those activities pending final resolution of their appeal, but "failed to meet their burden," according to the judges' decision. In the underlying case, animal rights groups sought to prevent the slaughter of horses in New Mexico, Missouri, and Iowa, claiming that the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued inspection permits to three slaughterhouses, but failed to prepare various documents essential to determining the environmental impact of their intended operations, in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act. Chief Judge Christina Armijo of the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico temporarily enjoined the slaughter of horses while considering the case, but later dismissed the proceedings with prejudice. The plaintiff animal rights groups appealed to the Tenth Circuit, and on November 5, 2013, the appeals court issued a temporary stay of Judge Armijo's decision pending further review. About one month later, Judges Phillips and Ebel lifted that stay, citing the plaintiffs' likelihood of success in the final resolution of their appeal, making way for horse slaughterhouses to begin operations.|
| • Court sides with Abercrombie in religious discrimination case (2013)|
Judge(s):Paul Kelly, David Ebel, and Jerome Holmes (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc., 11-5110)
|Click for summary→|
|On October 1, 2013, the Tenth Circuit vacated a trial court summary judgment ruling in a suit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of a would-be Muslim employee after the clothing store Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F) declined to hire her because she wore a headscarf. Judge Jerome Holmes wrote for the majority, joined by Judge Paul Kelly. Judge David Ebel wrote separately, concurring in part and dissenting in part. In the underlying case, the plaintiff, Samantha Elauf, interviewed for a job at A&F while wearing a religious headscarf, but did not specifically inform her interviewer that she wore it for a religious purpose; the interviewer merely assumed that it was worn for a religious purpose. Ultimately, Elauf was not hired because her headscarf violated A&F's dress code. In the ruling, Holmes noted that the trial court's decision was erroneous -- there can be no religious discrimination without notification of the need for a religious accommodation. Here, because Elauf failed to tell her interviewer that she would need an accommodation for her religious headscarf, the EEOC would not have been unable to conclusively establish that A&F had actual notice of her religious needs. In his separate opinion, Ebel agreed that the trial court's decision was incorrect, but argued that the question of discrimination should have been sent to a jury.|
| • Oklahoma Sharia Law temporary injunction (2012)|
Judge(s):Terrence O'Brien, Scott Matheson and Monroe McKay (Awad v. Ziriax, et al, 10-6273)
|Click for summary→|
|On January 10, 2012, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals released an anticipated ruling. The decision by the panel of Judges Terrence O'Brien, Scott Matheson, and Monroe McKay, upheld a previous ruling by Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange, out of the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, that said Oklahoma's "Sharia Law" ballot measure was unconstitutional. Supported by 70% of the state's population in 2010, the amendment prohibited courts in the state from considering international or Sharia law in deciding cases.
The Tenth Circuit Court disagreed with the supporters of the amendment, who insisted that the measure was intended to disallow courts from considering any religious law in their proceedings. As a response, the opinion states, "That argument conflicts with the amendment's plain language, which mentions sharia law in two places."Because the amendment was thought to discriminate against a specific religion, in this case, Islam, strict scrutiny was applied to judging its contents. Courts often utilize a higher level of scrutiny when it is concerned a minority is being unfairly treated.
The Tenth Circuit was established on February 28, 1929, under Tenth Circuit Reorganization Act of 1929, which broke the then Eighth Circuit up into the Eighth Circuit and the Tenth Circuit. All of the judges who resided in the newly created Tenth Circuit were transferred to the new appellate court. Over time, eight additional seats were added to the circuit, resulting in a total of twelve seats. The court's current jurisdiction contains 560,625 square miles or roughly 20% of the total U.S. landmass. For a full history of the Tenth Circuit, please see the Tenth Judicial Circuit Historical Society's Official website.
The following table highlights the development of judicial posts for the Tenth Circuit:
|February 28, 1929||45 Stat. 1346||4|
|August 3, 1949||63 Stat. 493||5|
|May 19, 1961||75 Stat. 80||6|
|June 18, 1968||82 Stat. 184||7|
|October 20, 1978||92 Stat. 1629||8|
|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.
To learn more about the judges of the Tenth Circuit, see former federal judges of the Tenth Circuit.
The Tenth Circuit is located in the Byron White U.S. Courthouse in Denver. The courthouse was built between 1910 and 1916 replacing a previous building. The exterior of the building uses local Colorado Yule marble, the same material used on the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. Originally, the building held all of the federal agencies located in Denver. Over time, as the federal agencies grew, the building came to be occupied by only the Post Office. The building was expanded and renovated in 1994 to rehouse the federal courthouse, with the current value of the building estimated at $200 million.
- Tenth Circuit Reorganization Act of 1929
- United States court of appeals
- News: Federal 10th Circuit upholds lower court Sharia ruling, January 11, 2012
- United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
- Judges of the Tenth Circuit
- Recent opinions from FindLaw
- Historical Opinions Database for the Tenth Circuit Searches opinions from 1995 to today.
- Tenth Circuit blog
- Courthouse News Service, "Suit nixed over protester corral at Bush rally," June 20, 2013
- Higher Courts blog
- United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, "Kitchen v. Herbert," June 25, 2014
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- Food Safety News, "10th Circuit Grants Temporary Injunction in Horse Case," November 5, 2013
- Times Colonist, "US court allowing horse slaughterhouses to open while animal protection groups' appeal pending," December 14, 2013
- Huffington Post, "Court Sides With Abercrombie In Oklahoma Hijab Lawsuit," October 2, 2013
- National Law Journal, "Tenth Circuit Sides with Abercrombie in Hijab Case," October 3, 2013
- ABA Journal, "10th Circuit Says Federal Judge Got It Right, Correctly Blocked Okla. Voter Ban on Shariah Law," January 10, 2012
- Los Angeles Times, "Appeals court affirms order blocking Oklahoma sharia law ban," January 10, 2012
- History of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit from the Federal Judicial Center
- United States Courts, "Frequently Asked Questions"
- United States Courts, "On Being Chief Judge," February 2009
- Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, "Courthouse History," accessed January 28, 2014
Chief Judge: Mary Briscoe • Jerome Holmes • Neil Gorsuch • Timothy Tymkovich • Harris Hartz • Carlos Lucero • Paul Kelly • Carolyn McHugh • Nancy Caplinger-Moritz • Robert Bacharach • Scott Matheson • Gregory Alan Phillips
|Former judges||William E. Doyle (Colorado) • Robert Henry • Michael McConnell • William Holloway • Robert McWilliams • James E. Barrett • John Hazelton Cotteral • Robert E. Lewis • Robert Williams (Oklahoma) • Orie Leon Phillips • George Thomas McDermott • Sam Gilbert Bratton • Alfred Murrah • Walter Huxman • David Thomas Lewis • Jean Breitenstein • Delmas Hill • John Hickey • James Logan • John Pickett • Oliver Seth •|
|Former Chief judges|