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United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama

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Northern District of Alabama
Eleventh Circuit
NDAla seal.gif
Judges: 7
Posts: 8
Vacancies: 1
Active judges
Chief: Karon Bowdre
Senior Judges
Magistrate Judges
Chief Magistrate: John Ott
Former Judges
(Numbers indicate % of seats vacant.)
More than 40%

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabamais one of ninety-four United States district courts. When decisions of the court are appealed, they are appealed to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals based in downtown Atlanta at the Elbert P. Tuttle U.S. Court of Appeals Building.[1]

The United States Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. The current district attorney is Joyce White Vance.[2]

Vacancy warning level

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama's vacancy warning level is yellow. The court currently has one vacancy.

Pending nominations

There are no pending nominations for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama.

Active judges

Article III judges

JudgeBornHomeAppointed byActiveChiefPreceededBachelorsLaw
Judge Sharon Blackburn1950Pensacola, FLH.W. Bush 5/30/1991 - Present2006 - 11/17/2013New Seat|104 Stat. 5089University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, B.A., 1973Samford U. Law, J.D., 1977
Chief Judge Karon Bowdre1955Montgomery, ALH.W. Bush 11/8/2001-Present11/18/2013-PresentSam PointerSamford University 1977Samford University Law, 1981
Judge Scott Coogler1959Nantucket, MAW. Bush 5/28/2003-PresentDean Buttram Jr.University of Alabama, 1981University of Alabama Law, 1984
Judge David Proctor1960Atlanta, GAW. Bush 9/22/2003 - PresentNew Seat|116 Stat. 1758Carson-Newman College, B.A., 1983University of Tennessee Law, J.D., 1986
Judge Virginia Hopkins1952Anniston, ALW. Bush 6/17/2004-PresentEdwin NelsonUniversity of Alabama, 1974University of Virginia Law, 1977
Judge Abdul Kallon1969Freetown, Sierra LeoneObama 1/4/2010 - PresentU. W. ClemonDartmouth College, A.B., 1990University of Pennsylvania Law, J.D., 1993
Judge Madeline HaikalaLouisianaObama 10/14/2013-presentInge JohnsonWilliams College, 1986Tulane University Law School, 1989

Senior judges

JudgeAppointed byActiveChiefSeniorBachelorsLaw
Senior Judge James HancockNixon 4/17/1973 - 5/1/19965/1/1996 - PresentUniversity of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, 1953University of Alabama School of Law, 1957
Senior Judge Foy GuinNixon 4/18/1973 - 2/3/19892/3/1989 - PresentUniversity of Alabama School of Law, 1947
Senior Judge Robert PropstCarter 5/30/1980 - 7/15/19967/15/1996 - PresentUniversity of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, 1953University of Alabama School of Law, 1957
Senior Judge William AckerReagan 8/18/1982 - 5/31/19965/31/1996 - PresentBirmingham-Southern College, 1949Yale Law, 1952
Senior Judge Charles SmithClinton 1995 - 08/201309/2013-PresentUniversity of Alabama, 1966University of Alabama Law, 1971
Senior Judge Inge JohnsonClinton 10/9/1998-10/24/201210/24/2012-PresentUniversity of Alabama Law, 1973

Magistrate judges

Magistrate Judge Michael Putnam
Magistrate Judge Harwell Davis03/19/1998 - Present
Chief Magistrate Judge John Ott
Magistrate Judge John H. England6/18/2013-PresentUniversity of AlabamaUniversity of Alabama
Magistrate Judge Staci G. Cornelius


The Counties of the Northern District of Alabama (click for larger map)

The Northern District of Alabama has original jurisdiction over cases filed within its jurisdiction. These cases can include civil and criminal matters that fall under federal law.

It has jurisdiction over the cities of Birmingham, Huntsville, Tuscaloosa, and Decatur.

There are seven court divisions, each covering the following counties:

The Eastern Division, covering Calhoun, Clay, Cleburne, and Talladega counties

The Jasper Division, covering Fayette, Lamar, Marion, Walker, and Winston counties.

The Middle Division, covering Cherokee, Etowah, DeKalb, Marshall, and St. Clair counties.

The Northeastern Division, covering Cullman, Jackson, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, and Morgan counties.

The Northwestern Division, covering Colbert, Franklin, and Lauderdale counties.

The Southern Division, covering Blount, Jefferson, and Shelby counties.

The Western Division, covering Bibb, Greene, Pickens, Sumter, and Tuscaloosa counties.




Federal Court Caseload Statistics*
YearStarting case load:Cases filed:Total cases:Cases terminated:Remaining cases:Median time(Criminal)**:Median time(Civil)**:3 Year Civil cases#:Vacant posts:## Trials/Post
2013 6558315097084836 48727.317.4474 (10.8%)12.222
2012 55065074105804027 65536.97.4189 (3.1%)023
2011 3450522286723166 55066.58.3157 (3.1%)024
2010 3682393576174192 3425713.9114 (3.8%)1.723
2009 4078326173393666 36736.711.798 (3.1%)7.926
2008 4191313873293273 40566.98.883 (2.3%)028
2007280855358343423241116.75.749 (1.3%)024
*All statistics are taken from the Official Federal Courts' Website and reflect the calendar year through September.    **Time in months from filing to completion.
#This statistic includes cases which have been appealed in higher courts.    ##This is the total number of months that any judicial posts had spent vacant that year.

Notable cases

For a searchable list of opinions, please see Opinions of the Northern District of Alabama.


The District of Alabama was established by Congress on April 21, 1820, with one post to cover the entire state. On March 10, 1824, Congress divided the district into the Northern District of Alabama and the Southern District of Alabama, with one judicial post for each district. Over time, seven additional judicial posts were added for a total of eight current posts.[8]

Judicial posts

The following table highlights the development of judicial posts for the Southern District of Alabama:[8]

Year Statute Total Seats
April 21, 1820 3 Stat. 564 1(District of Alabama)
March 10, 1824 4 Stat. 9 1
February 25, 1907 34 Stat. 931 2
June 5, 1936 49 Stat. 1476 1(Reassigned)
March 26, 1938 52 Stat. 120 2(Temporary)
December 1938 Temporary expired 1
December 24, 1942 56 Stat. 1092 2
May 19, 1961 75 Stat. 80 3
June 2, 1970 84 Stat. 294 4
October 20, 1978 92 Stat. 1629 7
December 1, 1990 104 Stat. 5089 8(Temporary)
c1996 Temporary post expired 7
November 2, 2002 116 Stat. 1758 8(Temporary)

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.[9][10]

Former judges

For more information about the judges of the Northern District of Alabama, see former federal judges of the Northern District of Alabama.

See also

External links


Alabama Supreme CourtAlabama Court of Civil AppealsAlabama Court of Criminal AppealsAlabama Circuit CourtsAlabama Municipal CourtsAlabama Probate CourtsAlabamaAlabama countiesAlabama judicial newsAlabama judicial electionsJudicial selection in AlabamaUnited States District Court for the Northern District of AlabamaUnited States District Court for the Middle District of AlabamaUnited States District Court for the Southern District of AlabamaUnited States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh CircuitAlabamaTemplate.jpg