United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
(8th Cir.)
Location Thomas F. Eagleton United States Courthouse St. Louis, Missouri
Appeals from
Established December 10, 1869
Chief judge William J. Riley
Active judges 11
Senior judges 6
Circuit justice Samuel Alito
Official website

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit (in case citations, 8th Cir.) is a United States federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the following United States district courts:

The court is composed of eleven active judges and is based at the Thomas F. Eagleton United States Courthouse in St. Louis, Missouri. It is one of thirteen United States courts of appeals. In 1929 Congress passed a statute dividing the Eighth Circuit that placed Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Missouri, and Arkansas in the Eighth Circuit and created a Tenth Circuit that included Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Kansas, and Oklahoma.[1]


Republican Presidents have appointed a greater percentage of judges to the Eighth Circuit (eight of ten active judges, or 80%) than any other Court of Appeals in the United States.

Current composition of the court

# Title Judge Duty station Born Term of service Appointed by
Active Chief Senior
51 Chief Judge William J. Riley Omaha, NE 1947 2001–present 2010–present G.W. Bush
42 Circuit Judge Roger Leland Wollman Sioux Falls, SD 1934 1985–present 1999–2002 Reagan
45 Circuit Judge James B. Loken Minneapolis, MN 1940 1990–present 2003–2010 G.H.W. Bush
48 Circuit Judge Diana E. Murphy Minneapolis, MN 1934 1994–present Clinton
53 Circuit Judge Lavenski R. Smith Little Rock, AR 1958 2002–present G.W. Bush
54 Circuit Judge Steven M. Colloton Des Moines, IA 1963 2003–present G.W. Bush
55 Circuit Judge Raymond W. Gruender Saint Louis, MO 1963 2004–present G.W. Bush
56 Circuit Judge William Duane Benton Kansas City, MO 1950 2004–present G.W. Bush
57 Circuit Judge Bobby E. Shepherd El Dorado, AR 1951 2006–present G.W. Bush
58 Circuit Judge Jane Louise Kelly Cedar Rapids, IA 1964 2013–present Obama
59 Circuit Judge vacant
32 Senior Circuit Judge Myron H. Bright Fargo, ND 1919 1968–1985 1985–present L. Johnson
41 Senior Circuit Judge Pasco Bowman II Kansas City, MO 1933 1983–2003 1998–1999 2003–present Reagan
44 Senior Circuit Judge C. Arlen Beam Lincoln, NE 1930 1987–2001 2001–present Reagan
46 Senior Circuit Judge David R. Hansen inactive 1938 1991–2003 2002–2003 2003–present G.H.W. Bush
47 Senior Circuit Judge Morris Sheppard Arnold Little Rock, AR 1941 1992–2006 2006–present G.H.W. Bush
52 Senior Circuit Judge Michael Joseph Melloy Cedar Rapids, IA 1948 2002–2013 2013–present G.W. Bush

Vacancies and pending nominations

Seat Seat last held by Vacancy reason Date of vacancy Nominee Date of nomination
9 Kermit Edward Bye Senior Status April 22, 2015 Jennifer Klemetsrud Puhl January 28, 2016

List of former judges

# Judge State Born–died Active service Chief Judge Senior status Appointed by Reason for
1 Caldwell, Henry ClayHenry Clay Caldwell AR 1832–1915 1891–1903 [2] retirement
2 Sanborn, Walter HenryWalter Henry Sanborn MN 1845–1928 1892–1928 Harrison, B.B. Harrison death
3 Thayer, Amos MaddenAmos Madden Thayer MO 1841–1905 1894–1905 Cleveland, Cleveland death
4 Van Devanter, WillisWillis Van Devanter WY 1859–1941 1903–1910 Roosevelt, T.T. Roosevelt elevation to Supreme Court
5 Hook, William CatherWilliam Cather Hook KS 1857–1921 1903–1921 Roosevelt, T.T. Roosevelt death
6 Adams, Elmer BraggElmer Bragg Adams MO 1842–1916 1905[3]–1916 Roosevelt, T.T. Roosevelt death
Carland, John EmmettJohn Emmett Carland SD 1853–1922 1911–1922 [4] death
7 Smith, Walter I.Walter I. Smith IA 1862–1922 1911–1922 Taft, Taft death
8 Stone, KimbroughKimbrough Stone MO 1875–1958 1916–1947 1947–1958 Wilson, Wilson death
9 Lewis, Robert E.Robert E. Lewis CO 1857–1941 1921–1929 Harding, Harding reassignment to 10th Circuit
10 Kenyon, William SquireWilliam Squire Kenyon IA 1869–1933 1922–1933 Harding, Harding death
11 Booth, Wilbur FranklinWilbur Franklin Booth MN 1861–1944 1925–1932 1932–1944 Coolidge, Coolidge death
12 Van Valkenburgh, Arba SeymourArba Seymour Van Valkenburgh MO 1862–1944 1925–1933 1933–1944 Coolidge, Coolidge death
13 Cotteral, John HazeltonJohn Hazelton Cotteral OK 1864–1933 1928–1929 Coolidge, Coolidge reassignment to 10th Circuit
14 Gardner, Archibald K.Archibald K. Gardner SD 1867–1962 1929–1960 1948–1959 1960–1962 Hoover, Hoover death
15 Sanborn, Jr., John B.John B. Sanborn, Jr. MN 1883–1964 1932–1958 1959–1964 Hoover, Hoover death
16 Woodrough, Joseph WilliamJoseph William Woodrough NE 1873–1977 1933–1961 1961–1977 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
17 Faris, Charles BreckenridgeCharles Breckenridge Faris MO 1864–1938 1935–1935 1935–1938 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
18 Thomas, SethSeth Thomas IA 1873–1962 1935(b)–1954 1954–1962 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
19 Johnsen, Harvey M.Harvey M. Johnsen NE 1895–1975 1940–1965 1959–1965 1965–1975 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
20 Riddick, Walter GarrettWalter Garrett Riddick AR 1883–1953 1941–1953 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
21 Collet, John CaskieJohn Caskie Collet MO 1898–1955 1947–1955 Truman, Truman death
22 Vogel, Charles JosephCharles Joseph Vogel ND 1898–1980 1954–1968 1965–1968 1968–1980 Eisenhower, Eisenhower death
23 Van Oosterhout, Martin DonaldMartin Donald Van Oosterhout IA 1900–1979 1954–1971 1968–1970 1971–1979 Eisenhower, Eisenhower death
24 Whittaker, Charles EvansCharles Evans Whittaker MO 1901–1973 1956–1957 Eisenhower, Eisenhower elevation to Supreme Court
25 Matthes, Marion CharlesMarion Charles Matthes MO 1906–1980 1958–1973 1970–1973 1973–1980 Eisenhower, Eisenhower death
26 Blackmun, HarryHarry Blackmun MN 1908–1999 1959–1970 Eisenhower, Eisenhower elevation to Supreme Court
27 Ridge, Albert AlphonsoAlbert Alphonso Ridge MO 1898–1967 1961–1965 1965–1967 Kennedy, Kennedy death
28 Mehaffy, PatPat Mehaffy AR 1904–1981 1963–1974 1973–1974 1974–1981 Kennedy, Kennedy death
29 Gibson, Floyd RobertFloyd Robert Gibson MO 1910–2001 1965–1979 1974–1979 1979–2001 Johnson, L.L. Johnson death
30 Lay, Donald P.Donald P. Lay MN 1926–2007 1966–1992 1979–1992 1992–2007 Johnson, L.L. Johnson death
31 Heaney, Gerald WilliamGerald William Heaney MN 1918–2010 1966–1988 1988–2006 Johnson, L.L. Johnson retirement
33 Ross, Donald RoeDonald Roe Ross NE 1922–2013 1970–1987 1987–2013 Nixon, Nixon death
34 Stephenson, Roy LaverneRoy Laverne Stephenson IA 1917–1982 1971–1982 1982–1982 Nixon, Nixon death
35 Webster, William HedgcockWilliam Hedgcock Webster MO 1924–present 1973–1978 Nixon, Nixon resignation to become FBI Director
36 Henley, Jesse SmithJesse Smith Henley AR 1917–1997 1975–1982 1982–1997 Ford, Ford death
37 McMillian, TheodoreTheodore McMillian MO 1919–2006 1978–2003 2003–2006 Carter, Carter death
38 Arnold, Richard SheppardRichard Sheppard Arnold AR 1936–2004 1980–2001 1992–1998 2001–2004 Carter, Carter death
39 Gibson, John R.John R. Gibson MO 1925–2014 1982–1994 1994–2014 Reagan, Reagan death
40 George Gardner Fagg IA 1934–2015 1982–1999 1999–2006 Reagan retirement
43 Frank J. Magill ND 1927–2013 1986–1997 1997–2013 Reagan, Reagan death
49 Kelly, John DavidJohn David Kelly ND 1934–1998 1998–1998 Clinton, Clinton death
50 Bye, Kermit EdwardKermit Edward Bye ND 1937–present 2000–2015 2015–2016 Clinton, Clinton retirement

Chief judges

Chief Judge
Gardner 1948–1959
Johnsen 1959–1965
Vogel 1965–1968
Van Oosterhout 1968–1970
Matthes 1970–1973
Mehaffy 1973–1974
Gibson 1974–1979
Lay 1979–1992
R. Arnold 1992–1998
Bowman 1998–1999
Wollman 1999–2002
Hansen 2002–2003
Loken 2003–2010
Riley 2010–present

Chief judges have administrative responsibilities with respect to their circuits, and preside over any panel on which they serve unless the circuit justice (i.e., the Supreme Court justice responsible for the circuit) is also on the panel. Unlike the Supreme Court, where one justice is specifically nominated to be chief, the office of chief judge rotates among the circuit judges. To be chief, 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 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.

When the office was created in 1948, the chief judge was the longest-serving judge who had not elected to retire on what has since 1958 been known as senior status or declined to serve as chief judge. After August 6, 1959, judges could not become chief after turning 70 years old. The current rules have been in operation since October 1, 1982.

Succession of seats

The court has had thirteen seats for active judges. Two of these seats were reassigned to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, leaving a eleven-seat court. The seats are numbered in the order in which they were filled. Judges who retire into senior status remain on the bench but leave their seat vacant. That seat is filled by the next circuit judge appointed by the president.

Seat 1
Established on December 10, 1869 by the Circuit Judges Act as a circuit judgeship for the Eighth Circuit
Reassigned to the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit by the Judiciary Act of 1891
Caldwell AR 1891–1903
Hook KS 1903–1921
Lewis CO 1921–1929
Reassigned on February 28, 1929 to the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit by 45 Stat. 1346

Seat 2
Established on June 16, 1891 by the Judiciary Act of 1891
W. Sanborn MN 1892–1928
Cotteral OK 1928–1929
Reassigned on February 28, 1929 to the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit by 45 Stat. 1346

Seat 3
Established on July 23, 1894 by 28 Stat. 115
Thayer MO 1894–1905
Adams MO 1905–1916
Stone MO 1916–1947
Collet MO 1947–1955
Whittaker MO 1956–1957
Matthes MO 1958–1973
Webster MO 1973–1978
McMillian MO 1978–2003
Benton MO 2004–present

Seat 4
Established on January 31, 1903 by 32 Stat. 791
Van Devanter WY 1903–1910
W. Smith IA 1911–1922
Kenyon IA 1922–1933
Faris MO 1935–1935
Thomas IA 1936–1954
Van Oosterhout IA 1954–1971
Stephenson IA 1971–1982
Fagg IA 1982–1999
Melloy IA 2002–2013
Kelly IA 2013–present

Seat 5
Established on March 3, 1925 by 43 Stat. 1116
Booth MN 1925–1932
J. Sanborn MN 1932–1959
Blackmun MN 1959–1970
Ross NE 1970–1987
Beam NE 1987–2001
Riley NE 2001–present

Seat 6
Established on March 3, 1925 by 43 Stat. 1116
Van Valkenburgh MO 1925–1933
Woodrough NE 1933–1961
Mehaffy AR 1963–1974
Henley AR 1975–1982
Bowman MO 1983–2003
Gruender MO 2004–present

Seat 7
Established on February 28, 1929 by 45 Stat. 1346
Gardner SD 1929–1960
Ridge MO 1961–1965
F. Gibson MO 1965–1979
J. Gibson MO 1982–1994
Murphy MN 1994–present

Seat 8
Established on May 24, 1940 by 54 Stat. 219
Johnsen NE 1940–1965
Lay NE 1966–1992
M. Arnold AR 1992–2006
Shepherd AR 2006–present

Seat 9
Established on May 24, 1940 by 54 Stat. 219
Riddick AR 1941–1953
Vogel ND 1954–1968
Bright ND 1968–1985
Magill ND 1986–1997
Kelly ND 1998–1998
Bye ND 2000–2015
vacant ND 2015–present

Seat 10
Established on March 18, 1966 by 80 Stat. 75
Heaney MN 1966–1988
Loken MN 1990–present

Seat 11
Established on October 20, 1978 by 92 Stat. 1629
R. Arnold AR 1980–2001
L. Smith AR 2002–present

Seat 12
Established on July 10, 1984 by 98 Stat. 333
Wollman SD 1985–present

Seat 13
Established on December 1, 1990 by 104 Stat. 5089
Hansen IA 1991–2003
Colloton IA 2003–present

See also

Wikisource has original works on the topic: United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit


  1. "Tenth Circuit Act of 1929". Official website of the Federal Judicial Center. Archived from the original on 2006-09-26. Retrieved 2006-10-20.
  2. Caldwell was appointed as a circuit judge for the Eighth Circuit in 1890 by Benjamin Harrison. The Judiciary Act of 1891 reassigned his seat to what is now the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.
  3. Recess appointment, confirmed by the United States Senate at a later date.
  4. Carland did not have a permanent seat on this court. Instead, he was appointed to the ill-fated United States Commerce Court in 1911 by William Howard Taft. Aside from their duties on the Commerce Court, the judges of the Commerce Court also acted as at-large appellate judges, able to be assigned by the Chief Justice of the United States to whichever circuit most needed help. Carland was assigned to the Eighth Circuit upon his commission.


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