Open main menu

Edward Willis Nottingham Jr. (born 1948) is a former United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, having served in that office from November 24, 1989, until his resignation on October 21, 2008, after a year of scandal.

Edward Willis Nottingham Jr.
Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Colorado
In office
Preceded byLewis Thornton Babcock
Succeeded byWiley Young Daniel
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Colorado
In office
November 27, 1989 – October 29, 2008
Appointed byGeorge H. W. Bush
Preceded bySeat established by 98 Stat. 333
Succeeded byWilliam J. Martínez
Personal details
Edward Willis Nottingham Jr.

1948 (age 70–71)
Denver, Colorado
EducationCornell University (A.B.)
University of Colorado Law School (J.D.)


Early life, education, and career

Born in Denver, Colorado,[1] Nottingham was raised in Eagle County, Colorado.[2][3] He received an Artium Baccalaureus degree from Cornell University in 1969, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Colorado School of Law in 1972.[3] Prior to his appointment as a judge, Nottingham was a local coordinator for Bush's 1988 presidential campaign. From 1972 to 1973 he was a law clerk of the United States District Court for the District of Colorado for Chief United States District Judge Alfred A. Arraj. [2] Before becoming a judge, he spent a decade and a half in private practice in Grand Junction, Colorado, interrupted by a two-year stint as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Colorado from 1976 to 1978.[1][3]

Federal judicial service

Nottingham was nominated to the United States District Court for the District of Colorado by President George H. W. Bush on October 20, 1989,[4] to a new seat created by 98 Stat. 333.[1] After a brief delay brought on by Senate efforts to block some Bush appointees, Nottingham was confirmed on by the United States Senate on November 21, 1989, and received his commission on November 27, 1989.[1][5]

During his nineteen-year tenure, Nottingham oversaw a number of high-profile cases, such as a copyright infringement case involving Michael Jackson,[6] a ruling barring the State of Colorado from withholding public funds for abortion,[7] a ruling invalidating a law creating a federal "no-call list" for telemarketers[8] which was ultimately overturned,[9] and the prosecution of former Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio for insider trading.[10]

Although Nottingham's talent as a jurist was never in serious dispute, the consistency of his work and his judicial temperament were matters of widespread concern. On the one hand, The Denver Post reported that Nottingham had a reputation for judicial efficiency, and as "one of the best legal minds on the bench".[2] He received both notoriety and admiration for dressing down witnesses,[2] demanding professionalism from attorneys,[11] and punishing lawyers who brought what he judged to be frivolous cases by scheduling them for hearings at 6 AM.[12]

In August 2007 a complaint of judicial misconduct was filed against him with the Tenth Circuit and an investigation started that included two hearings over the course of a year; the complaint concerned allegations that he had spent thousands of dollars at a strip club.[13][14] Over the course of the year he was also named as a figure in an investigation into a prostitution ring, in which a prostitute said that he had asked her to mislead investigators.[15][16] He resigned from the bench on October 21, 2008,[15] and the misconduct charges were dismissed, as he was no longer a judge.[17]

Private law practice

After leaving the bench, Nottingham opened a private law practice in Colorado.[18]


  1. ^ a b c d "Nottingham, Edward Willis, Jr. - Federal Judicial Center".
  2. ^ a b c d Cardona, Felisa; McPhee, Mike (22 October 2008). "Nottingham: A thoughtful judge and an exacting jurist". The Denver Post. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011.
  3. ^ a b c Morson, Berny (October 22, 2008). "Judge Nottingham quits amid inquiry". Rocky Mountain News. Archived from the original on October 23, 2008.
  4. ^ Public Papers of the Presidents, White House Press Release, October 20, 1989.
  5. ^ "Confirmation Vote Ends Controversy", St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 24, 1989, 7-A.
  6. ^ Peter G. Chronis, "Judge fumes as witnesses for Jackson fail to show," The Denver Post, February 11, 1994, B-12
  7. ^ Pear, Robert (7 May 1994). "U.S. Judge Bars Colorado Limits On Public Money for Abortions". The New York Times.
  8. ^ Liptak, Adam (27 September 2003). "No-Call List: Hard Choices". The New York Times.
  9. ^ David Stout, "Court Upholds Telemarketing Restrictions," The New York Times, February 18, 2004, [1]
  10. ^ Frosch, Dan (20 April 2007). "Ex-Chief at Qwest Found Guilty of Insider Trading". The New York Times.
  11. ^ Vuong, Andy (March 21, 2007). "Nacchio judge's quick lessons". The Denver Post.
  12. ^ "Law: Frivolity Punished Here". The New York Times. 18 January 1998.
  13. ^ "Federal judge resigns amid misconduct probe". MSNBC and Wire Services. 21 October 2008.
  14. ^ Searcey, Dionne (21 October 2008). "Federal Judge Edward Nottingham Resigns Amid Misconduct Allegations". The Wall Street Journal.
  15. ^ a b "District Judge Nottingham resigns, apologizes". The Denver Post. October 21, 2008.
  16. ^ "Judge issues statement on strip club visits". Associated Press via Summit Daily. August 11, 2007.
  17. ^ "Colorado judge was accused of patronizing prostitutes". Deseret News. 31 October 2008.
  18. ^ "Edward Nottingham Jr. - Edward W. Nottingham LLC - Denver". Edward W. Nottingham LLC.


Legal offices
Preceded by
Seat established by 98 Stat. 333
Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Colorado
Succeeded by
William J. Martínez
Preceded by
Lewis Thornton Babcock
Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Colorado
Succeeded by
Wiley Young Daniel