United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas

United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas

United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas
(N.D. Tex.)
Seal of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas
Location Dallas, Texas
Appeals to Fifth Circuit
Established February 24, 1879
Judges assigned 12
Chief judge Sidney Allen Fitzwater
Official site

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas (in case citations, N.D. Tex.) is a United States district court. Its first judge, Andrew Phelps McCormick, was appointed to the court on April 10, 1879. The court convenes in Dallas, Texas with divisions in Fort Worth, Amarillo, Abilene, Lubbock, San Angelo and Wichita Falls. It has jurisdiction over 100 counties in the northern and central parts of the U.S. state of Texas.

The United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Texas represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. The current United States Attorney is Sarah R. Saldaña, serving since September 2011.[1]

Appeals from this court are heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which includes Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas (except for patent claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit).


The first federal judge in Texas was John C. Watrous, who was appointed on May 26, 1846, and had previously served as Attorney General of the Republic of Texas. He was assigned to hold court in Galveston, at the time, the largest city in the state. As seat of the United States District Court for the District of Texas, the Galveston court had jurisdiction over the whole state.[2] On February 21, 1857, the state was divided into two districts, Eastern and Western, with Judge Watrous continuing in the Eastern district.[3] Judge Watrous and Judge Thomas H. DuVal, of the Western District of Texas, left the state on the secession of Texas from the Union, the only two United States Judges not to resign their posts in states that seceded. When Texas was restored to the Union, Watrous and DuVal resumed their duties and served until 1870.

In 1879, Texas was further subdivided with the creation of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, using territory taken from both the Eastern and Western districts.[4]

Current judges

# Title Judge Duty station Born Term of service Appointed by
Active Chief Senior
23 Chief Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater Dallas 1953 1986–present 2007–present Reagan
18 District Judge Mary Lou Robinson Amarillo 1926 1979–present Carter
24 District Judge Samuel Ray Cummings Lubbock 1944 1987–present Reagan
25 District Judge John H. McBryde Fort Worth 1931 1990–present G.H.W. Bush
26 District Judge Jorge Antonio Solis Dallas 1951 1991–present G.H.W. Bush
29 District Judge Sam A. Lindsay Dallas 1951 1998–present Clinton
30 District Judge Barbara M. Lynn Dallas 1952 1999–present Clinton
31 District Judge David C. Godbey Dallas 1957 2002–present G.W. Bush
32 District Judge James E. Kinkeade Dallas 1951 2002–present G.W. Bush
33 District Judge Jane J. Boyle Dallas 1954 2004–present G.W. Bush
34 District Judge Reed Charles O'Connor Dallas 1965 2007–present G.W. Bush
35 District Judge vacant
21 Senior Judge A. Joe Fish Dallas 1942 1983–2007 2002–2007 2007–present Reagan
22 Senior Judge Robert B. Maloney inactive 1933 1985–2000 2000–present Reagan
27 Senior Judge Terry R. Means Fort Worth 1948 1991–2013 2013–present G.H.W. Bush

Vacancies and pending nominations

Seat Seat last held by Vacancy reason Date of vacancy Nominee Date of nomination
8 Terry R. Means Senior Status July 3, 2013
3 Samuel Ray Cummings Senior Status December 31, 2014[5]

Former judges

# Judge State Born/Died Active service Chief Judge Senior status Appointed by Reason for
1 McCormick, Andrew PhelpsAndrew Phelps McCormick TX 1832–1916 1879–1892 Hayes,Hayes reappointment
2 Rector, John B.John B. Rector TX 1837–1898 1892–1898 Harrison, B.B. Harrison death
3 Meek, Edward RoscoeEdward Roscoe Meek TX 1865–1939 1899[6]–1935 1935–1939 McKinley,McKinley death
4 Wilson, James CliftonJames Clifton Wilson TX 1874–1951 1919[7]–1951 Wilson,Wilson retirement
5 Atwell, William HawleyWilliam Hawley Atwell TX 1869–1961 1923–1954 1948–1954 1954–1961 Harding,Harding death
6 Davidson, Thomas WhitfieldThomas Whitfield Davidson TX 1876–1974 1936–1965 1954–1959 1965–1974 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
7 Dooley, Joseph BrannonJoseph Brannon Dooley TX 1889–1967 1947–1966 1959 1966–1967 Truman,Truman death
8 Estes, Joe EwingJoe Ewing Estes TX 1903–1989 1955–1972 1959–1972 1972–1989 Eisenhower,Eisenhower death
9 Brewster, LeoLeo Brewster TX 1903–1979 1961[8]–1973 1972–1973 1973–1979 Kennedy,Kennedy death
10 Hughes, Sarah T.Sarah T. Hughes TX 1896–1985 1961[9]–1975 1975–1985 Kennedy,Kennedy death
11 Taylor, Jr., William McLaughlinWilliam McLaughlin Taylor, Jr. TX 1909–1985 1966–1979 1973–1977 1979–1985 Johnson, L.L. Johnson death
12 Woodward, Halbert OwenHalbert Owen Woodward TX 1918–2000 1968–1986 1977–1986 1986–2000 Johnson, L.L. Johnson death
13 Hill, Robert MaddenRobert Madden Hill TX 1928–1987 1970–1984 Nixon,Nixon reappointment
14 Mahon, Eldon BrooksEldon Brooks Mahon TX 1918–2005 1972–1989 1989–2005 Nixon,Nixon death
15 Porter, Robert WilliamRobert William Porter TX 1926–1991 1974–1990 1986–1989 1990–1991 Nixon,Nixon death
16 Higginbotham, PatrickPatrick Higginbotham TX 1938–present 1975–1982 Ford,Ford reappointment
17 Belew Jr., David OwenDavid Owen Belew Jr. TX 1920–2001 1979–1990 1990–2001 Carter,Carter death
19 Sanders, Jr., Harold BarefootHarold Barefoot Sanders, Jr. TX 1925–2008 1979–1996 1989–1995 1996–2008 Carter,Carter death
20 Buchmeyer, JerryJerry Buchmeyer TX 1933–2009 1979–2003 1995–2001 2003–2009 Carter,Carter death
28 Kendall, Elton JoeElton Joe Kendall TX 1954–present 1992–2002 Bush, G.H.W.G.H.W. Bush retirement

Succession of seats

See also


  1. ^ "Office of the United States Attorneys". Executive Office for United States Attorneys. United States Department of Justice. Retrieved 25 January 2014. 
  2. ^ U.S. Department of Justice: 2002 Centennial Report, pgs. 1, 10
  3. ^ Southern District of Texas: History of the District
  4. ^ U.S. District Courts of Texas, Legislative history, Federal Judicial Center.
  5. ^ Future Judicial Vacancies, US Courts
  6. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on December 13, 1898, confirmed by the United States Senate on February 15, 1899, and received commission on February 15, 1899.
  7. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on May 23, 1919, confirmed by the United States Senate on June 24, 1919, and received commission on June 24, 1919.
  8. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on January 15, 1962, confirmed by the United States Senate on March 16, 1962, and received commission on March 17, 1962.
  9. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on January 15, 1962, confirmed by the United States Senate on March 16, 1962, and received commission on March 17, 1962.

External links

  • Official site