United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama
The United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama (in case citations, M.D. Ala.) is a federal court in the Eleventh Circuit (except for patent claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit).
|United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama|
|Location||Frank M. Johnson Jr. Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse|
|Appeals to||Eleventh Circuit|
|Established||February 6, 1839|
|Chief Judge||Emily Coody Marks|
|Officers of the court|
|U.S. Attorney||Louis V. Franklin Sr.|
|U.S. Marshal||Jesse Seroyer Jr.|
The District was established on February 6, 1839.
The United States Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Alabama represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. The current United States Attorney is Louis V. Franklin Sr..
Organization of the courtEdit
As of May 3, 2019[update]:
|#||Title||Judge||Duty station||Born||Term of service||Appointed by|
|20||Chief Judge||Emily Coody Marks||Montgomery||1973||2018–present||2019–present||—||Trump|
|21||District Judge||Andrew L. Brasher||Montgomery||1981||2019–present||—||—||Trump|
|14||Senior Judge||Myron Herbert Thompson||Montgomery||1947||1980–2013||1991–1998||2013–present||Carter|
|16||Senior Judge||William Harold Albritton III||Montgomery||1936||1991–2004||1998–2004||2004–present||G.H.W. Bush|
|19||Senior Judge||William Keith Watkins||Montgomery||1951||2005–2019||2011–2019||2019–present||G.W. Bush|
Vacancies and pending nominationsEdit
|Seat||Prior Judge's Duty Station||Seat last held by||Vacancy reason||Date of vacancy||Nominee||Nominated|
|3||Montgomery||William Keith Watkins||Senior status||January 31, 2019||R. Austin Huffaker Jr.||July 8, 2019|
|#||Judge||State||Born–died||Active service||Chief Judge||Senior status||Appointed by||Reason for|
|1||William Crawford||AL||1784–1849||1839–1849[Note 1]||—||—||Operation of law||death|
|2||John Gayle||AL||1792–1859||1849–1859[Note 1]||—||—||Taylor||death|
|3||William Giles Jones||AL||1808–1883||1859–1861[Note 2][Note 1]||—||—||Buchanan||resignation|
|4||George Washington Lane||AL||1806–1863||1861–1863[Note 1]||—||—||Lincoln||death|
|5||Richard Busteed||AL||1822–1898||1863–1874[Note 3][Note 1]||—||—||Lincoln||resignation|
|6||John Bruce||AL||1832–1901||1875–1901[Note 4][Note 5]||—||—||Grant||death|
|7||Thomas G. Jones||AL||1844–1914||1901–1914[Note 6][Note 4]||—||—||T. Roosevelt||death|
|8||Henry De Lamar Clayton Jr.||AL||1857–1929||1914–1929[Note 4]||—||—||Wilson||death|
|9||Charles Brents Kennamer||AL||1874–1955||1931–1955[Note 7]||—||—||Hoover||death|
|10||Frank Minis Johnson||AL||1918–1999||1955–1979[Note 8]||1966–1979||—||Eisenhower||elevation to 11th Cir.|
|11||Thomas Virgil Pittman||AL||1916–2012||1966–1970[Note 9]||—||—||L. Johnson||seat abolished|
|12||Robert Edward Varner||AL||1921–2006||1971–1986||1979–1984||1986–2006||Nixon||death|
|13||Truman McGill Hobbs||AL||1921–2015||1980–1991||1984–1991||1991–2015||Carter||death|
|15||Joel Fredrick Dubina||AL||1947–present||1986–1990||—||—||Reagan||elevation to 11th Cir.|
|17||Ira De Ment||AL||1931–2011||1992–2002||—||2002–2011||G.H.W. Bush||death|
|18||Mark Fuller||AL||1958–present||2002–2015||2004–2011||—||G.W. Bush||resignation|
- Jointly appointed to the Middle, Northern, and Southern Districts of Alabama.
- Recess appointment; formally nominated on January 23, 1860, confirmed by the United States Senate on January 30, 1860, and received commission on January 30, 1860.
- Recess appointment; formally nominated on January 5, 1864, confirmed by the Senate on January 20, 1864, and received commission on January 20, 1864.
- Jointly appointed to the Middle and Northern Districts of Alabama.
- From 1875 to 1886, Judge Bruce was jointly appointed to the Southern District of Alabama.
- Recess appointment; formally nominated on December 5, 1901, confirmed by the Senate on December 17, 1901, and received commission the same day.
- From 1831 to 1836, Judge Kennamer was jointly appointed to the Middle and Northern Districts of Alabama.
- Recess appointment; formally nominated on January 12, 1956, confirmed by the Senate on January 31, 1956, and received commission the same day.
- Judge Pittman was jointly appointed to the Middle and Southern Districts of Alabama.
Chief judges have administrative responsibilities with respect to their district court. Unlike the Supreme Court, where one justice is specifically nominated to be chief, the office of chief judge rotates among the district court judges. To be chief, 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 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.
When the office was created in 1948, the chief judge was the longest-serving judge who had not elected to retire on what has since 1958 been known as senior status or declined to serve as chief judge. After August 6, 1959, judges could not become or remain chief after turning 70 years old. The current rules have been in operation since October 1, 1982.
Succession of seatsEdit
Gomillion v. Lightfoot (1958) – Court dismissed action, which was later affirmed by the Fifth Circuit. In 1960, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the decision, finding that electoral districts drawn in Tuskegee, with the purpose of disenfranchising black voters, violated the Fifteenth Amendment.
United States v. Alabama (1966) – Court rules poll tax violates the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendment. U.S. Supreme Court concurred three weeks later in an unrelated case, Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections.
Glassroth v. Moore (2002) – Court rules that a display of the Ten Commandments, erected by Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore in the Alabama Judicial Building violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.