United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts

United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts

United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts
(D. Mass.)

Appeals to First Circuit
Established September 24, 1789
Judges assigned 13
Chief judge Patti B. Saris
Official site

The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts (in case citations, D. Mass.) is the federal district court whose jurisdiction is the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, USA. The first court session was held in Boston in 1789. The second term was held in Salem in 1790 and court session locations alternated between the two cities until 1813. That year, Boston became the court's permanent home. A western division was opened in Springfield in 1979 and a central division was opened in Worcester in 1987. The court's main building is the John Joseph Moakley Federal Courthouse on Fan Pier in South Boston.

Appeals from the District of Massachusetts are heard by the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, also located in the Moakley courthouse (except for patent claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit).


  • US Attorney's Office 1
  • Judges 2
    • Current composition of the court 2.1
  • Vacancies and pending nominations 3
    • Former judges 3.1
  • Succession of seats 4
  • U.S. Attorneys 5
  • Notable cases 6
  • See also 7
  • Notes 8
  • External links 9

US Attorney's Office

The United States Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. The current U.S. Attorney is Carmen Ortiz.


Current composition of the court

# Title Judge Duty station Born Term of service Appointed by
Active Chief Senior
37 Chief Judge Patti B. Saris Boston, MA 1951 1993–present 2013–present Clinton
32 District Judge William G. Young Boston, MA 1940 1985–present 1999–2005 Reagan
33 District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock Boston, MA 1947 1986–present Reagan
35 District Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton Boston, MA 1938 1992–present G.H.W. Bush
38 District Judge Richard G. Stearns Boston, MA 1944 1993–present Clinton
41 District Judge Boston, MA 1947 1995–present Clinton
42 District Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV Boston, MA 1955 2004–present G.W. Bush
43 District Judge Denise J. Casper Boston, MA 1968 2010–present Obama
44 District Judge Timothy S. Hillman Worcester, MA 1948 2012–present Obama
45 District Judge Indira Talwani Boston, MA 1960 2014–present Obama
46 District Judge Mark G. Mastroianni Springfield, MA 1964 2014–present Obama
47 District Judge Leo T. Sorokin Boston, MA 1961 2014-present Obama
48 District Judge vacant
24 Senior District Judge Joseph L. Tauro Boston, MA 1931 1972–2013 1992–1999 2013–present Nixon
30 Senior District Judge Rya W. Zobel Boston, MA 1931 1979–2014 2014–present Carter
31 Senior District Judge Mark L. Wolf Boston, MA 1946 1985–2013 2006–2012 2013–present Reagan
34 Senior District Judge Edward F. Harrington Boston, MA 1933 1988–2001 2001–present Reagan
40 Senior District Judge Michael Ponsor Springfield, MA 1946 1994–2011 2011–present Clinton

Vacancies and pending nominations

Seat Seat last held by Vacancy reason Date of vacancy Nominee Date of nomination
10 Rya W. Zobel senior status April 1, 2014 Allison Dale Burroughs July 31, 2014

Former judges

# Judge State Born/Died Active service Chief Judge Senior status Appointed by Reason for
1 Lowell, JohnJohn Lowell MA 1743–1802 1789–1801 Washington,Washington appointment to circuit court
2 Davis, JohnJohn Davis MA 1761–1847 1801–1841 Adams,Adams resignation
3 Sprague, PelegPeleg Sprague MA 1793–1880 1841–1865 Tyler,Tyler resignation
4 Lowell, JohnJohn Lowell MA 1824–1897 1865–1879 Lincoln,Lincoln appointment to circuit court
5 Nelson, Thomas LeverettThomas Leverett Nelson MA 1827–1897 1879–1897 Hayes,Hayes death
6 Lowell, Francis CabotFrancis Cabot Lowell MA 1855–1911 1898–1905 McKinley,McKinley appointment to 1st Cir.
7 Dodge, FredericFrederic Dodge MA 1847–1927 1905–1912 Roosevelt, T.T. Roosevelt appointment to 1st Cir.
8 Morton Jr., James MadisonJames Madison Morton Jr. MA 1869–1940 1912–1932 Taft,Taft appointment to 1st Cir.
9 Brewster, Elisha HumeElisha Hume Brewster MA 1871–1946 1922–1941 1941–1946 Harding,Harding death
10 Lowell, James ArnoldJames Arnold Lowell MA 1869–1933 1922–1933 Harding,Harding death
11 McLellan, Hugh DeanHugh Dean McLellan MA 1876–1953 1932–1941 Hoover,Hoover resignation
12 Sweeney, George ClintonGeorge Clinton Sweeney MA 1895–1966 1935–1966 1948–1965 1966 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
13 Ford, FrancisFrancis Ford MA 1882–1975 1938–1972 1972–1975 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
14 Healey, Arthur D.Arthur D. Healey MA 1889–1948 1941–1948 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
15 Wyzanski, Jr., Charles EdwardCharles Edward Wyzanski, Jr. MA 1906–1986 1941–1971 1965–1971 1971–1986 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
16 McCarthy, William T.William T. McCarthy MA 1885–1964 1949–1960 1960–1964 Truman,Truman death
17 Aldrich, BaileyBailey Aldrich MA 1907–2002 1954–1959 Eisenhower,Eisenhower appointment to 1st Cir.
18 Julian, AnthonyAnthony Julian MA 1902–1984 1959–1972 1971–1972 1972–1984 Eisenhower,Eisenhower death
19 Caffrey, Andrew AugustineAndrew Augustine Caffrey MA 1920–1993 1960[1]–1986 1972–1986 1986–1993 Eisenhower,Eisenhower death
20 Garrity Jr., Wendell ArthurWendell Arthur Garrity Jr. MA 1920–1999 1966–1985 1985–1999 Johnson, L.L. Johnson death
21 Murray, Frank JeromeFrank Jerome Murray MA 1904–1995 1967–1977 1977–1995 Johnson, L.L. Johnson death
22 Campbell, Levin H.Levin H. Campbell MA 1927–present 1971–1972 Nixon,Nixon appointment to 1st Cir.
23 Freedman, Frank HarlanFrank Harlan Freedman MA 1924–2003 1972–1992 1986–1992 1992–2003 Nixon,Nixon death
25 Skinner, Walter JayWalter Jay Skinner MA 1927–2005 1973–1992 1992–2005 Nixon,Nixon death
26 Mazzone, A. DavidA. David Mazzone MA 1928–2004 1978–1993 1993–2004 Carter,Carter death
27 Keeton, RobertRobert Keeton MA 1919–2007 1979–2003 2003–2006 Carter,Carter retirement
28 McNaught, John JosephJohn Joseph McNaught MA 1921–1994 1979–1991 Carter,Carter retirement
29 Nelson, David SutherlandDavid Sutherland Nelson MA 1933–1998 1979–1991 1991–1998 Carter,Carter death
36 Lindsay, Reginald C.Reginald C. Lindsay MA 1945–2009 1993–2009 Clinton,Clinton death
39 Gertner, NancyNancy Gertner MA 1946–present 1994–2011 2011 Clinton retirement

Succession of seats

U.S. Attorneys

Notable cases

  • Ghen v. Rich (1881) (a whale is the property of the whaler who killed it, and not the person who found it dead on the beach).

See also


  1. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on January 10, 1961, confirmed by the United States Senate on August 9, 1961, and received commission on August 16, 1961.

External links

  • United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts Official Website
  • United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Official Website