Open main menu

United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama

Coordinates: 33°30′58.7″N 86°48′40.2″W / 33.516306°N 86.811167°W / 33.516306; -86.811167

United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama
(N.D. Ala.)
NDAla seal.gif
More locations
Appeals toEleventh Circuit
EstablishedMarch 10, 1824
Chief JudgeKaron O. Bowdre
Officers of the court
U.S. AttorneyJay Town

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama (in case citations, N.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).

The District was established on March 10, 1824, with the division of the state into a Northern and Southern district. The circuit court itself was established on June 22, 1874.[1]

The United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Alabama represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. The current United States Attorney is Jay Town, who took office in August 2017.

Organization of the courtEdit

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama is one of three federal judicial districts in Alabama.[2] Court for the District is held at Anniston, Birmingham, Decatur, Florence, Gadsden, Huntsville, and Tuscaloosa.

'··Eastern' Division comprises the following counties: Calhoun, Clay, Cleburne, and Talladega.

Jasper Division comprises the following counties: Fayette, Lamar, Marion, Walker, and Winston.

Middle Division comprises the following counties: Cherokee, DeKalb, Etowah, Marshall, and St. Clair.

Northeastern Division comprises the following counties: Cullman, Jackson, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, and Morgan.

Northwestern Division comprises the following counties: Colbert, Franklin, and Lauderdale.

Southern Division comprises the following counties: Blount, Jefferson, and Shelby.

Western Division comprises the following counties: Bibb, Greene, Pickens, Sumter, and Tuscaloosa.

Current judgesEdit

As of June 18, 2019:

# Title Judge Duty station Born Term of service Appointed by
Active Chief Senior
32 Chief Judge Karon O. Bowdre Birmingham 1955 2001–present 2013–present G.W. Bush
33 District Judge L. Scott Coogler Tuscaloosa 1959 2003–present G.W. Bush
34 District Judge R. David Proctor Birmingham 1960 2003–present G.W. Bush
36 District Judge Abdul Kallon Birmingham 1969 2010–present Obama
37 District Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala Birmingham 1964 2013–present Obama
38 District Judge Annemarie Carney Axon Birmingham 1973 2018–present Trump
39 District Judge Liles C. Burke Huntsville 1969 2018–present Trump
40 District Judge Corey L. Maze Anniston 1978 2019–present Trump
21 Senior Judge James Hughes Hancock inactive 1931 1973–1996 1996–present Nixon
28 Senior Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn Birmingham 1950 1991–2015 2006–2013 2015–present G.H.W. Bush
29 Senior Judge Charles Lynwood Smith Jr. Huntsville 1943 1995–2013 2013–present Clinton
30 Senior Judge Inge Prytz Johnson inactive 1945 1998–2012 2012–present Clinton
35 Senior Judge Virginia Emerson Hopkins inactive 1952 2004–2018 2018–present G.W. Bush

Vacancies and pending nominationsEdit

Seat Prior Judge's Duty Station Seat last held by Vacancy reason Date of vacancy Nominee Date of nomination
6 Birmingham Karon O. Bowdre Senior status April 25, 2020[3]

Former judgesEdit

# Judge State Born–died Active service Chief Judge Senior status Appointed by Reason for
1 Charles Tait AL 1768–1835 1824–1826[Note 1][Note 2] Operation of law resignation
2 William Crawford AL 1784–1849 1826–1849[Note 2][Note 3] J.Q. Adams death
3 John Gayle AL 1792–1859 1849–1859[Note 4] Taylor death
4 William Giles Jones AL 1808–1883 1859–1861[Note 5][Note 4] Buchanan resignation
5 George Washington Lane AL 1806–1863 1861–1863[Note 4] Lincoln death
6 Richard Busteed AL 1822–1898 1863–1874[Note 6][Note 4] Lincoln resignation
7 John Bruce AL 1832–1901 1875–1901[Note 7][Note 8] Grant death
8 Thomas G. Jones AL 1844–1914 1901–1914[Note 9][Note 7] T. Roosevelt death
9 Oscar Richard Hundley AL 1855–1921 1907–1908[Note 10]
1908–1909[Note 11]
1909[Note 12]
T. Roosevelt
T. Roosevelt
not confirmed
not confirmed
10 William Irwin Grubb AL 1862–1935 1909–1935 Taft death
11 Henry De Lamar Clayton Jr. AL 1857–1929 1914–1929[Note 7] Wilson death
12 Charles Brents Kennamer AL 1874–1955 1931–1936[Note 7] Hoover reassignment to M.D. Ala.
13 David Jackson Davis AL 1878–1938 1935–1938[Note 13] F. Roosevelt death
14 Thomas Alexander Murphree AL 1883–1945 1938–1945 F. Roosevelt death
15 Clarence H. Mullins AL 1895–1957 1943–1953 1948–1953 1953–1957 F. Roosevelt death
16 Seybourn Harris Lynne AL 1907–2000 1946–1973 1953–1973 1973–2000 Truman death
17 Harlan Hobart Grooms AL 1900–1991 1953–1969 1969–1991 Eisenhower death
18 Clarence W. Allgood AL 1902–1991 1961–1973[Note 14] 1973–1991 Kennedy death
19 Frank Hampton McFadden AL 1925–present 1969–1982 1973–1982 Nixon resignation
20 Sam C. Pointer Jr. AL 1934–2008 1970–1999 1982–1999 1999–2000 Nixon retirement
22 Junius Foy Guin Jr. AL 1924–2016 1973–1989 1989–2016 Nixon death
23 Elbert Bertram Haltom Jr. AL 1922–2003 1980–1991 1991–2003 Carter death
24 Robert Bruce Propst AL 1931–2019 1980–1996 1996–2019 Carter death
25 U. W. Clemon AL 1943–present 1980–2009 1999–2006 Carter retirement
26 William Acker AL 1927–2018 1982–1996 1996–2018 Reagan death
27 Edwin L. Nelson AL 1940–2003 1990–2003 G.H.W. Bush death
31 H. Dean Buttram Jr. AL 1950–present 1998–2002 Clinton resignation
  1. ^ Reassigned from the District of Alabama.
  2. ^ a b Jointly appointed to the Northern and the Southern Districts of Alabama.
  3. ^ From 1839 to 1949, Judge Crawford was jointly appointed to the Middle District of Alabama.
  4. ^ a b c d Jointly appointed to the Middle, Northern, and Southern Districts of Alabama.
  5. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on January 23, 1860, confirmed by the United States Senate on January 30, 1860, and received commission the same day.
  6. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on January 5, 1864, confirmed by the Senate on January 20, 1864, and received commission the same day.
  7. ^ a b c d Jointly appointed to the Middle and Northern Districts of Alabama.
  8. ^ From 1875 to 1886, Judge Bruce was jointly appointed to the Southern District of Alabama.
  9. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on December 5, 1901, confirmed by the Senate on December 17, 1901, and received commission the same day.
  10. ^ Recess appointment; the Senate later rejected the appointment.
  11. ^ Received a second recess appointment and was again rejected by the Senate.
  12. ^ Received a third recess appointment but resigned prior to consideration.
  13. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on January 6, 1936, confirmed by the Senate on January 22, 1936, and received commission on January 28, 1936.
  14. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on January 15, 1962, confirmed by the Senate on February 5, 1962, and received commission on February 9, 1962.

Chief judgesEdit

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

Court decisionsEdit

Lucy v. Adams (1955) – A court ruling which affirmed the right of all citizens to be accepted at the University of Alabama. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ruling.

Armstrong v. Birmingham Board of Education (1963) – The court dismissed the plaintiff's complaint. On appeal, the Fifth Circuit reversed and ordered the desegregation of Birmingham public schools.[4]

United States v. Wallace (1963) – The court exercised its ruling in Lucy v. Adams and ordered that colored students be permitted to enroll at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. The court order led to the infamous Stand in the Schoolhouse Door incident with Governor George C. Wallace.[5]

Jackson v. Birmingham Board of Education (2002) – A reversal of the decision rendered by the district and Eleventh Circuit. The U.S. Supreme Court held that retaliation against a person on the basis of a sexual complaint is a form of sexual discrimination under Title IX.

Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (2003) – The U.S. Supreme Court reversed the decision of the district court, stating that employers cannot be sued under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act over race or gender discrimination if the claims are based on decisions over 180 days. The decision of the court led Congress to pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009.

United States v. Alabama (2011) – The court upheld most parts of Alabama HB 56, an anti-illegal immigration bill signed by Governor Robert J. Bentley. The Eleventh Circuit reversed, invalidating much of Alabama HB 56.[6]

See alsoEdit


External linksEdit