United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

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Eighth Circuit
Court of Appeals
Judges: 11
Posts: 11
Vacancies: 0
Active judges
Chief: William Riley
Senior Judges
Former Judges
(Numbers indicate % of seats vacant.)
More than 40%

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, sometimes referred to simply as the Eighth Circuit, is one of the thirteen federal appellate courts. The court was established in 1891, and has eleven posts. The court is located at the Thomas Eagleton U.S. Courthouse in St. Louis, Missouri.

Vacancy warning level

Currently the vacancy warning level for the Eighth Circuit is set at green. The court currently has no vacancies, with all eleven seats filled.

Pending nominations

There are no pending nominations for the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.

Active judges

Article III judges

JudgeBornHomeAppointed byActiveChiefPreceededBachelorsLaw
Judge Lavenski Smith10/31/1958Hope, ARW. Bush 7/15/2002 - PresentUniversity of ArkansasUniversity of Arkansas
Judge Bobby Shepherd1951Hatton, NDW. Bush 10/10/2006 - PresentMorris ArnoldOuachita Baptist University '73University of Arkansas Law '75
Judge Roger Wollman1934Frankfort, SDReagan 7/22/1985 - Present1999-2002Tabor College '57University of South Dakota '62
Judge James Loken1940Madison, WIH.W. Bush 9/10/1990 - Present2003-2010Gerald HeaneyUniversity of Wisconsin '62Harvard Law '65
Judge Diana Murphy1934Faribault, MNClinton 10/11/1994 - PresentJohn GibsonUniversity of Minnesota, B.A., 1954University of Minnesota Law School, J.D., 1974
Judge Kermit Bye1937Hatton, NDClinton 3/9/2000 - PresentGerald HeaneyUniversity of North Dakota '59University of North Dakota '62
Chief Justice William Riley1947Lincoln, NEW. Bush 05/23/2001 - Present2010 - PresentArlen BeamUniversity of Nebraska, 1969University of Nebraska College of Law, 1972
Judge Steven Colloton1963Iowa City, IAW. Bush 9/10/2003 - PresentDavid HansenPrinceton '85Yale Law '88
Judge Raymond Gruender1963St. Louis, MOW. Bush 6/5/2004 - PresentPasco BowmanUniversity of St. Louis '84University of St. Louis '87
Judge William D. Benton1950Springfield, MOW. Bush 7/2/2004 - PresentTheodore McMillianNorthwestern U. '72Yale Law '75
Judge Jane Kelly1964Greencastle, IndianaObama 04/24/2013 - PresentMichael MelloyDuke U., 1987Harvard Law, 1991

Senior judges

JudgeAppointed byActiveChiefSeniorBachelorsLaw
Senior Judge David HansenH.W. Bush 11/18/1991 - 4/1/20032002-20034/1/2003 - PresentNorthwest Missouri State U. '60George Washington U. Law '63
Senior Judge Morris ArnoldH.W. Bush 05/26/1992 - 10/09/20061992-199810/09/2006-PresentUniversity of Arkansas '65University of Arkansas '68
Senior Judge Myron BrightL.B. Johnson 6/7/1968-6/1/19856/1/1985-presentUniversity of Minnesota '41University of Minnesota '47
Senior Judge(Inactive) John GibsonReagan 3/9/1982 - 1/1/19941/1/1994-PresentUniversity of Missouri '49University of Missouri Law '52
Senior Judge Pasco BowmanReagan 7/19/1983 - 8/1/20031998-19998/1/2003-PresentBridgewater College '55New York U. Law '58
Senior Judge Arlen BeamReagan 11/9/1987 - 2/1/20012/1/2001 - PresentUniversity of Nebraska, B.S., 1951University of Nebraska College of Law, J.D., 1965
Senior Judge Michael MelloyW. Bush 02/14/2002 - 02/01/201302/01/2013 - PresentLoras College, 1970University of Iowa College of Law, 1974
Senior Judge (Inactive) George FaggReagan 10/1/1982 - 5/1/19995/1/1999-PresentDrake U. '56Drake U. '58
Senior Judge (Inactive) Frank J. MagillReagan 3/4/1986 - 4/1/19974/1/1997-PresentGeorgetown U. '51Georgetown U. Law '55


United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth CircuitUnited States Court of Appeals for the Eighth CircuitUnited States District Court for the Western District of ArkansasUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of ArkansasUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of MissouriUnited States District Court for the Western District of MissouriUnited States District Court for the Southern District of IowaUnited States District Court for the Northern District of IowaUnited States District Court for the District of MinnesotaUnited States District Court for the District of NebraskaUnited States District Court for the District of South DakotaUnited States District Court for the District of North Dakota
Map of the Eighth Circuit. Click on a district to find out more about it.

The Eighth 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 Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals are petitioned to the Supreme Court of the United States. Justice Samuel Alito is the Circuit Justice for the Eighth Circuit.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has jurisdiction over the United States district courts in the following federal judicial districts:



Federal Court Caseload Statistics*
YearStarting case load:Cases filed:Total cases:Cases terminated:Remaining casesTerminations on merits:Terminations on ProcedureCross 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.

Notable cases

For a search-able list of decisions from the Eighth Circuit, please see: Eighth Circuit Searchable Opinions (dead link)


Court history

The Eighth Circuit was established by the United States Congress in 1891 with the Evarts Act of 1891, which established the first nine appeals circuits. Over the years, nine additional seats were added to the court resulting in a total of eleven seats.[6] To learn more about the history of the Eighth Circuit, please contact the Historical Society of the United States Courts in the Eighth Circuit.

Judicial posts

The following table highlights the development of judicial posts for the Eighth Circuit:[6]

Year Statute Total Seats
March 3, 1891 26 Stat. 826 2
July 23, 1894 28 Stat. 115 3
January 31, 1903 32 Stat. 791 4
March 3, 1925 43 Stat. 1116 6
February 28, 1929 45 Stat. 1346 5
May 24, 1940 54 Stat. 219 7
March 18, 1966 80 Stat. 75 8
October 20, 1978 92 Stat. 1629 9
July 10, 1984 98 Stat. 333 10
December 1, 1990 104 Stat. 5089 11

Former judges

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.[7][8]

Former judges

For more information on judges of the Eighth Circuit, see former federal judges of the Eighth Circuit.

Federal courthouse

The court is located at Thomas Eagleton U.S. Courthouse in St. Louis, Missouri. The twenty-nine-story building was completed in 2000, and contains more than 1.3 million square feet of space. It is the tallest U.S. Federal courthouse, standing at 557 feet.[9]

See also

External links