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United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

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Tenth Circuit
Court of Appeals
Judges: 12
Posts: 12
Vacancies: 0
Active judges
Chief: Mary Briscoe
Senior Judges
Former Judges
(Numbers indicate % of seats vacant.)
More than 40%

The United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, sometimes referred to simply as the Tenth Circuit, is one of the thirteen federal appellate courts. The court was established in 1929 with the Tenth Circuit Reorganization Act and has fifteen posts. The court is located at the Byron White U.S. Courthouse in Denver.

Vacancy warning level

The vacancy warning level for the Tenth Circuit is set at green. The court currently has no vacancies out of its twelve total seats.

Pending nominations

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

Active judges

Article III judges

JudgeAppointed byActiveChiefPreceededBachelorsLaw
Judge Jerome HolmesW. Bush 8/9/2006 - PresentStephanie SeymourWake Forest U., B.A., 1983Georgetown U. Law, J.D., 1988
Judge Neil GorsuchW. Bush 8/8/2006 - PresentDavid EbelColumbia U. '88Harvard Law '91
Judge Timothy TymkovichW. Bush 4/1/2003 - PresentJohn PorfilioColorado College '79University of Colorado Law '82
Judge Harris HartzW. Bush 12/10/2001 - PresentBobby BaldockHarvard '67Harvard Law '72
Judge Carlos LuceroClinton 6/30/1995 - PresentAdams State College '61George Washington U. Law '64
Chief Judge Mary BriscoeClinton 5/26/1995 - Present2010-PresentJames LoganUniversity of Kansas '69University of Kansas Law '73
Judge Paul KellyH.W. Bush 4/13/1992 - PresentNotre Dame '63Fordham Law '67
Judge Carolyn McHughObama 3/12/2014-Present2012-2014Michael R. MurphyUniversity of Utah, 1978University of Utah College of Law, 1982
Judge Nancy Caplinger-MoritzObama 5/6/2014-PresentDeanell TachaWashburn University, B.B.A., 1982Washburn Law School, J.D., 1985
Judge Robert BacharachObama 2/25/2013 - PresentUniversity of Oklahoma, B.A., 1981Washington U. Law, J.D., 1985
Judge Scott MathesonObama 12/22/2010 - PresentMichael McConnellStanford U. '75Yale Law '80
Judge Gregory Alan PhillipsObama 7/8/2013-PresentTerrence O'BrienUniversity of Wyoming, B.A., 1983University of Wyoming Law, J.D., 1987

Senior judges

JudgeAppointed byActiveChiefSeniorBachelorsLaw
Senior Judge Terrence O'BrienW. Bush 4/16/2002 - 4/30/20134/30/2013 - PresentUniversity of Wyoming '65University of Wyoming Law '72
Senior Judge Michael R. Murphy (Tenth Circuit)Clinton 8/14/1995-12/31/201212/31/2012-PresentCreighton University, 1969University of Wyoming, 1972
Senior Judge David EbelReagan 04/20/1988 - 01/15/200601/16/2006 - PresentNorthwestern U., B.A., 1962University of Michigan Law, J.D., 1965
Senior Judge Wade BrorbyReagan 2/17/1988 - 5/25/20015/25/2001 - PresentUniversity of Wyoming '56University of Wyoming Law '58
Senior Judge Bobby BaldockReagan 12/17/1985 - 1/26/20011/26/2001 - PresentNew Mexico Military Institute '56University of Arizona Law '60
Senior Judge Deanell TachaReagan 12/16/1985 - 1/27/20112001-20071/27/2011 - PresentUniversity of Kansas '68University of Michigan Law '71
Senior Judge Stephen AndersonReagan 10/16/1985 - 1/1/20001/1/2000 - PresentUniversity of Utah Law School, 1960
Senior Judge John PorfilioReagan 5/10/1985-10/15/199910/15/1999-PresentDenver University, 1956University of Denver Law School, 1959
Senior Judge Stephanie SeymourCarter 11/2/1979 - 10/16/20051994-200010/16/2005 - PresentSmith College '62Harvard Law '65
Senior Judge Monroe McKayCarter 12/1/1977-12/31/19931991-199312/31/1993-PresentBrigham Young University, 1957University of Chicago Law, 1960


United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth CircuitUnited States Court of Appeals for the Tenth CircuitUnited States District Court for the District of WyomingUnited States District Court for the District of UtahUnited States District Court for the District of ColoradoUnited States District Court for the District of KansasUnited States District Court for the District of New MexicoUnited States District Court for the Western District of OklahomaUnited States District Court for the Northern District of OklahomaUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma
Map of the Tenth Circuit. Click on a district to find out more about it.

The Tenth 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 Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals are petitioned to the Supreme Court of the United States. Justice Sonia Sotomayor is the Circuit Justice for the Tenth Circuit.

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

Case loads


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 searchable list of decisions from the Tenth Circuit, please see:
Tenth Circuit Searchable Opinions


Court history

The Tenth Circuit was established on February 28, 1929, under Tenth Circuit Reorganization Act of 1929, which broke the then Eighth Circuit up into the Eighth Circuit and the Tenth Circuit. All of the judges who resided in the newly created Tenth Circuit were transferred to the new appellate court. Over time, eight additional seats were added to the circuit, resulting in a total of twelve seats.[7] The court's current jurisdiction contains 560,625 square miles or roughly 20% of the total U.S. landmass. For a full history of the Tenth Circuit, please see the Tenth Judicial Circuit Historical Society's Official website.

Judicial posts

The following table highlights the development of judicial posts for the Tenth Circuit:[7]

Year Statute Total Seats
February 28, 1929 45 Stat. 1346 4
August 3, 1949 63 Stat. 493 5
May 19, 1961 75 Stat. 80 6
June 18, 1968 82 Stat. 184 7
October 20, 1978 92 Stat. 1629 8
July 10, 1984 98 Stat. 333 10
December 1, 1990 104 Stat. 5089 12

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.[8][9]

Former judges

To learn more about the judges of the Tenth Circuit, see former federal judges of the Tenth Circuit.

Federal courthouse

The Tenth Circuit is located in the Byron White U.S. Courthouse in Denver. The courthouse was built between 1910 and 1916 replacing a previous building. The exterior of the building uses local Colorado Yule marble, the same material used on the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. Originally, the building held all of the federal agencies located in Denver. Over time, as the federal agencies grew, the building came to be occupied by only the Post Office. The building was expanded and renovated in 1994 to rehouse the federal courthouse, with the current value of the building estimated at $200 million.[10]

See also

External links