Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals

Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
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United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
(6th Cir.)
Location Potter Stewart U.S. Courthouse
Cincinnati, Ohio
Appeals from
Established December 10, 1869
Chief Judge R. Guy Cole Jr.
Active judges 16
Senior judges 12
Circuit justice Elena Kagan
Official website

The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (in case citations, 6th Cir.) is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the district courts in the following districts:

The court is composed of sixteen judges and is based at the Potter Stewart U.S. Courthouse in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is one of thirteen United States courts of appeals.

Elena Kagan is the circuit justice for the Sixth Circuit.[1] William Howard Taft, the only person ever to serve as both President and Chief Justice of the United States, once served on the circuit. Four other judges of the Sixth Circuit have been elevated to serve on the Supreme Court.

Decisions issued by the Sixth Circuit were reversed by the United States Supreme Court 24 out of the 25 times they were reviewed in the five annual terms starting in October 2008 and ending in June 2013 — a higher frequency than any other federal appellate court during that time period.[2]

Current composition of the court

# Title Judge Duty station Born Term of service Appointed by
Active Chief Senior
56 Chief Judge R. Guy Cole Jr. Columbus, OH 1951 1995–present 2014–present Clinton
53 Circuit Judge Alice M. Batchelder Medina, OH 1944 1991–present 2009–2014 G.H.W. Bush
55 Circuit Judge Karen Nelson Moore Cleveland, OH 1948 1995–present Clinton
57 Circuit Judge Eric L. Clay Detroit, MI 1948 1997–present Clinton
59 Circuit Judge Julia Smith Gibbons Memphis, TN 1950 2002–present G.W. Bush
60 Circuit Judge John M. Rogers Lexington, KY 1948 2002–present G.W. Bush
61 Circuit Judge Jeffrey Sutton Columbus, OH 1960 2003–present G.W. Bush
62 Circuit Judge Deborah L. Cook Akron, OH 1952 2003–present G.W. Bush
64 Circuit Judge Richard Allen Griffin Traverse City, MI 1952 2005–present G.W. Bush
66 Circuit Judge Raymond M. Kethledge Ann Arbor, MI 1966 2008–present G.W. Bush
67 Circuit Judge Helene N. White Detroit, MI 1954 2008–present G.W. Bush
68 Circuit Judge Jane Branstetter Stranch Nashville, TN 1953 2010–present Obama
69 Circuit Judge Bernice B. Donald Memphis, TN 1951 2011–present Obama
70 Circuit Judge Amul Thapar Covington, KY 1969 2017–present Trump
71 Circuit Judge John K. Bush Louisville, KY 1964 2017–present Trump
72 Circuit Judge Joan Larsen Ann Arbor, MI 1968 2017–present Trump
36 Senior Circuit Judge Damon Keith Detroit, MI 1922 1977–1995 1995–present Carter
37 Senior Circuit Judge Gilbert S. Merritt Jr. Nashville, TN 1936 1977–2001 1989–1996 2001–present Carter
44 Senior Circuit Judge Harry W. Wellford inactive 1924 1982–1991 1991–present Reagan
46 Senior Circuit Judge Ralph B. Guy Jr. Ann Arbor, MI 1929 1985–1994 1994–present Reagan
48 Senior Circuit Judge James L. Ryan inactive 1932 1985–2000 2000–present Reagan
49 Senior Circuit Judge Danny Julian Boggs Louisville, KY 1944 1986–2017 2003–2009 2017–present Reagan
50 Senior Circuit Judge Alan Eugene Norris Columbus, OH 1935 1986–2001 2001–present Reagan
51 Senior Circuit Judge Richard Fred Suhrheinrich Lansing, MI 1936 1990–2001 2001–present G.H.W. Bush
52 Senior Circuit Judge Eugene Edward Siler Jr. London, KY 1936 1991–2001 2001–present G.H.W. Bush
54 Senior Circuit Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey Nashville, TN 1942 1993–2008 2009–present Clinton
58 Senior Circuit Judge Ronald Lee Gilman Memphis, TN 1942 1997–2010 2010–present Clinton
63 Senior Circuit Judge David McKeague Lansing, MI 1946 2005–2017 2017–present G.W. Bush

Vacancies and Pending Nominations

Seat Prior Judge's Duty Station Seat Last Held By Vacancy Reason Date of Vacancy Nominee Date of Nomination
9 Medina, OH Alice M. Batchelder Senior Status TBD[3]
6 Lexington, KY John M. Rogers John B. Nalbandian January 24, 2018

List of former judges

# Judge State Born–died Active service Chief Judge Senior status Appointed by Reason for
1 Jackson, Howell EdmundsHowell Edmunds Jackson TN 1832–1895 1891–1893 [4] elevated to Supreme Court
2 Taft, William HowardWilliam Howard Taft OH 1857–1930 1892–1900 Harrison, B.B. Harrison resignation
3 Lurton, Horace HarmonHorace Harmon Lurton TN 1844–1914 1893–1909 Cleveland, Cleveland elevated to Supreme Court
4 Day, William R.William R. Day OH 1849–1923 1899–1903 McKinley, McKinley elevated to Supreme Court
5 Severens, Henry FranklinHenry Franklin Severens MI 1835–1923 1900–1911 McKinley, McKinley resignation
6 Richards, John K.John K. Richards OH 1856–1909 1903–1909 Roosevelt, T.T. Roosevelt death
7 Warrington, John WesleyJohn Wesley Warrington OH 1844–1921 1909–1919 1919–1921 Taft, Taft death
8 Knappen, Loyal EdwinLoyal Edwin Knappen MI 1854–1930 1910–1924 1924–1930 Taft, Taft death
9 Denison, Arthur CarterArthur Carter Denison MI 1861–1942 1911–1931 Taft, Taft resignation
10 Donahue, Maurice H.Maurice H. Donahue OH 1864–1928 1919–1928 Wilson, Wilson death
11 Moorman, Charles HarwoodCharles Harwood Moorman KY 1876–1938 1925–1938 Coolidge, Coolidge death
12 Hicks, XenophonXenophon Hicks TN 1872–1952 1928–1952 1948–1952 1952–1952 Coolidge, Coolidge death
13 Hickenlooper, SmithSmith Hickenlooper OH 1880–1933 1928–1933 Coolidge, Coolidge death
Mack, JulianJulian Mack 1866–1943 1929–1930 [5] reassignment to 2nd Cir.
14 Simons, Charles CasperCharles Casper Simons MI 1876–1964 1932–1959 1952–1958 1959–1964 Hoover, Hoover death
15 Allen, Florence EllinwoodFlorence Ellinwood Allen OH 1884–1966 1934–1959 1958–1959 1959–1966 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
16 Hamilton, ElwoodElwood Hamilton KY 1883–1945 1938–1945 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
17 Arant, Herschel WhitfieldHerschel Whitfield Arant OH 1887–1941 1939–1941 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
18 Martin Sr., John DonelsonJohn Donelson Martin Sr. TN 1883–1962 1940–1962 1959–1959 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
19 McAllister, Thomas FrancisThomas Francis McAllister MI 1896–1976 1941–1963 1959–1961 1963–1976 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
20 Miller Jr., ShackelfordShackelford Miller Jr. KY 1892–1965 1945–1965 1961–1962 1965–1965 Truman, Truman death
21 Stewart, PotterPotter Stewart OH 1915–1985 1954–1958 Eisenhower, Eisenhower elevated to Supreme Court
22 Cecil, Lester LeFevreLester LeFevre Cecil OH 1893–1983 1959–1965 1962–1963 1965–1982 Eisenhower, Eisenhower death
23 Weick, Paul CharlesPaul Charles Weick OH 1899–1997 1959–1981 1963–1969 1981–1997 Eisenhower, Eisenhower death
24 O'Sullivan, Clifford PatrickClifford Patrick O'Sullivan MI 1897–1975 1960–1969 1969–1975 Eisenhower, Eisenhower death
25 Phillips, HarryHarry Phillips TN 1909–1985 1963–1979 1969–1979 1979–1985 Kennedy, Kennedy death
26 Edwards Jr., George CliftonGeorge Clifton Edwards Jr. MI 1914–1995 1963–1985 1979–1983 1985–1995 Kennedy, Kennedy death
27 Celebrezze, Anthony J.Anthony J. Celebrezze OH 1910–1998 1965–1980 1980–1998 Johnson, L.L. Johnson death
28 Peck II, John WeldJohn Weld Peck II OH 1913–1993 1966–1978 1978–1993 Johnson, L.L. Johnson death
29 McCree, Wade H.Wade H. McCree MI 1920–1987 1966–1977 Johnson, L.L. Johnson resignation
30 Combs, Bert T.Bert T. Combs KY 1911–1991 1967–1970 Johnson, L.L. Johnson resignation
31 Brooks, Henry LuesingHenry Luesing Brooks KY 1905–1971 1969–1971 Nixon, Nixon death
32 Miller, William ErnestWilliam Ernest Miller TN 1908–1976 1970–1976 Nixon, Nixon death
33 Kent, W. WallaceW. Wallace Kent MI 1916–1973 1970–1973 Nixon, Nixon death
34 Pierce Lively KY 1921–2016 1972–1989 1983–1988 1989–2016 Nixon, Nixon death
35 Engel Jr., Albert J.Albert J. Engel Jr. MI 1924–2013 1973–1989 1988–1989 1989–2013 Nixon, Nixon death
38 Brown, BaileyBailey Brown TN 1917–2004 1979–1982 1982–1997 Carter, Carter retirement
39 Cornelia Groefsema Kennedy MI 1923–2014 1979–1999 1999–2014 Carter, Carter death
40 Martin Jr., Boyce F.Boyce F. Martin Jr. KY 1935–2016 1979–2013 1996–2003 Carter, Carter retirement
41 Jones, Nathaniel R.Nathaniel R. Jones OH 1926–present 1979–1995 1995–2002 Carter, Carter retirement
42 Contie Jr., Leroy JohnLeroy John Contie Jr. OH 1920–2001 1982–1986 1986–2001 Reagan, Reagan death
43 Krupansky, Robert B.Robert B. Krupansky OH 1921–2004 1982–1991 1991–2004 Reagan, Reagan death
45 Milburn, Herbert TheodoreHerbert Theodore Milburn TN 1931–2016 1984–1996 1996–2016 Reagan, Reagan death
47 Nelson, David AldrichDavid Aldrich Nelson OH 1932–2010 1985–1999 1999–2010 Reagan, Reagan death
65 Neilson, Susan BiekeSusan Bieke Neilson MI 1956–2006 2005–2006 Bush, G.W.G.W. Bush death

Chief judges

Chief Judge
Hicks 1948–1952
Simons 1952–1958
Allen 1958–1959
Martin 1959–1959
McAllister 1959–1961
S. Miller, Jr. 1961–1962
Cecil 1962–1963
Weick 1963–1969
Phillips 1969–1979
Edwards, Jr. 1979–1983
Lively 1983–1988
Engel, Jr. 1988–1989
Merritt, Jr. 1989–1996
Martin, Jr. 1996–2003
Boggs 2003–2009
Batchelder 2009–2014
Cole, Jr. 2014–present

Chief judges have administrative responsibilities with respect to their circuits, and preside over any panel on which they serve unless the circuit justice (i.e., the Supreme Court justice responsible for the circuit) is also on the panel. Unlike the Supreme Court, where one justice is specifically nominated to be chief, the office of chief judge rotates among the circuit 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 seats

The court has sixteen seats for active judges, numbered in the order in which they were filled. Judges who retire into senior status remain on the bench but leave their seat vacant. That seat is filled by the next circuit judge appointed by the president.

See also


  1. ^ U.S. Supreme Court: Allotment Order (September 28, 2010)
  2. ^ Kedar Bhatia, October Term 2012 summary memo, SCOTUSblog (Jun. 29, 2013, 10:25 AM)
  3. ^ Future Judicial Vacancies
  4. ^ Jackson was appointed to as a circuit judge for the Sixth Circuit in 1886 by Grover Cleveland. The Judiciary Act of 1891 reassigned his seat to what is now the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
  5. ^ Mack did not have a permanent seat on this court. Instead, he was appointed to the ill-fated United States Commerce Court in 1911 by William Howard Taft. Aside from their duties on the Commerce Court, the judges of the Commerce Court also acted as at-large appellate judges, able to be assigned by the Chief Justice of the United States to whichever circuit most needed help. Mack was assigned to the Seventh Circuit immediately prior to his assignment to the Sixth Circuit.


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