United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin

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Western District of Wisconsin
Seventh Circuit
Judges: 2
Posts: 2
Vacancies: 0
Active judges
Chief: William Conley
Senior Judges
Magistrate Judges
Former Judges
(Numbers indicate % of seats vacant.)
More than 40%

The United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin is one of ninety-four United States district courts. It encompasses much of the western half of the state and is headquartered in the Robert Kastenmeier Federal Courthouse in downtown Madison, Wisconsin.

The United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. The current district attorney is John William Vaudreuil.[1]

When decisions of the court are appealed, they are appealed to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals based in downtown Chicago, Illinois at the Everett M. Dirksen Federal Courthouse and Building.

Vacancy warning level

The United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin's vacancy warning level is green. The court currently has no vacancies out of their two posts.

Pending nominations

There are no pending nominations for the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin.

Active judges

Article III judges

JudgeBornHomeAppointed byActiveChiefPreceededBachelorsLaw
Chief Judge William Conley1956Rice Lake, WIObama 3/25/2010 - Present2010 - PresentBarbara CrabbUniversity of Wisconsin, B.A., 1978University of Wisconsin Law School, J.D., 1982
Judge James D. Peterson1957Madison, WisconsinObama 5/8/2014-PresentJohn ShabazUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison, B.S., 1979University of Wisconsin-Madison Law, J.D., 1998

Senior judges

JudgeAppointed byActiveChiefSeniorBachelorsLaw
Senior Judge Barbara CrabbCarter 11/2/1979-12/31/20091980-1996; 2001-201012/31/2009-PresentUniversity of Wisconsin, Madison, 1960University of Wisconsin Law School, 1962

Magistrate judges

Magistrate Judge Stephen Crocker1992 - Present
Magistrate Judge Peter Oppeneer2009 - Present


The Counties of the Western District of Wisconsin (click for larger map)

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

The geographic jurisdiction of the Western District of Wisconsin consists of all the following counties in the western part of the state of Wisconsin.




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 980119921791155 10246.46.37 (0.9%)1213
2012 872111819901010 9805.96.23 (0.4%)1213
2011 66812011869998 8716.45.12 (0.3%)1221
2010 687102017071034 6735.85.30 (0%)1220
2009 610107216821001 6816.35.30 (0%)8.320
2008 39710601457952 5055.94.64 (1.1%)019
20073801036141610523645.54.60 (0%)022
*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 Justia.com-Dockets and Filings-Western District of Wisconsin.


Court history

The State of Wisconsin was established and organized as one judicial district by Congress on May 29, 1848 with one post to cover the entire state. This judicial district was not assigned to a judicial circuit and was therefore granted the same jurisdiction as United States circuit courts, excluding appeals and writs of error, which are the jurisdiction of the United States Supreme Court.

On July 15, 1862 Statute 12 Stat. 576 reorganized the judicial circuits, repealed the circuit court jurisdiction of the U.S. District Court for the District of Wisconsin, and then assigned the district over to the Eighth Circuit. Statute 14 Stat. 209 again reorganized the circuits, and assigned U.S. District Court for the District of Wisconsin over to the Seventh Circuit on July 23, 1866.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Wisconsin was divided into two judicial districts, known as the Eastern District of Wisconsin and the Western District of Wisconsin on June 30, 1870, with one judgeship authorized to each district. The sitting judge was assigned over to the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

Over time one additional judicial post was added for a total of two current posts.[2]

Judicial posts

The following table highlights the development of judicial posts for the Western District of Wisconsin:[2]

Year Statute Total Seats
May 29, 1848 9 Stat. 233 1
June 30, 1870 16 Stat. 171 1
October 20, 1978 92 Stat. 1629 2

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.[3][4]

Former judges

For information on judges of the Western District of Wisconsin, see former federal judges of the Western District of Wisconsin.

Federal courthouse

One separate courthouse serves the Western District of Wisconsin.

Judicial nominating commission

In April 2013, Senators Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson created the Wisconsin Federal Nominating Commission. The commission will recommend nominees for the following courts: Eastern District of Wisconsin, Western District of Wisconsin and Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The commission will also recommend United States Attorneys for the Eastern and Western Districts. It will be comprised of six members of the Wisconsin State Bar, with three members appointed by each senator.[5]

See also

External links


WisconsinWisconsin Supreme CourtWisconsin Court of AppealsWisconsin Circuit CourtsWisconsin Municipal CourtsUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of WisconsinUnited States District Court for the Western District of WisconsinUnited States bankruptcy court, Eastern District of WisconsinUnited States bankruptcy court, Western District of WisconsinUnited States Court of Appeals for the Seventh CircuitWisconsin countiesWisconsin judicial newsWisconsin judicial electionsJudicial selection in WisconsinWisconsinTemplate.jpg