United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
Seal of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (in case citations, 7th Cir.) is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the courts in the following districts:

The court is based at the Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago, Illinois. It is one of thirteen United States courts of appeals, composed of eleven judges.

The court offers a unique internet presence that includes a wiki and RSS feeds of opinions and oral arguments. No other United States District or Appellate Court offers oral arguments using these feeds to the internet with the exception of United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit which offers RSS features. It is also notable for having two of the most prominent law and economics scholars, Chief Judge Easterbrook and Judge Posner, on its panel.[1]

The Dirksen Federal Building, seat of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.


Current composition of the court

As of June 29, 2010, the judges on the court are as follows:

# Judge Duty station Born Appointed Chief Appointed by
44 Frank H. Easterbrook Chicago, IL 1948 1985–present 2006–present Reagan
41 Richard Posner Chicago, IL 1939 1981–present 1993–2000 Reagan
43 Joel Martin Flaum Chicago, IL 1936 1983–present 2000–2006 Reagan
47 Michael Stephen Kanne Lafayette, IN 1938 1987–present —— Reagan
48 Ilana Rovner Chicago, IL 1938 1992–present —— G.H.W. Bush
49 Diane Pamela Wood Chicago, IL 1950 1995–present —— Clinton
51 Ann Claire Williams Chicago, IL 1949 1999–present —— Clinton
52 Diane S. Sykes Milwaukee, WI 1957 2004–present —— G.W. Bush
53 John Daniel Tinder Indianapolis, IN 1950 2007–present —— G.W. Bush
54 David F. Hamilton Bloomington, IN 1957 2009–present —— Obama
Vacant (seat 9)

Vacancies and pending nominations

Seat Seat Last Held By Vacancy Reason Date of Vacancy Nominee Date of Nomination
9 Terence T. Evans Senior status January 7, 2010 Victoria F. Nourse [2] July 14, 2010


Five judges currently serve on the court on senior status:

# Judge Duty station Born Active service Chief Senior
Appointed by
37 William Joseph Bauer Chicago, IL 1926 1974–1994 1986–1993 1994–present Ford
39 Richard Dickson Cudahy Chicago, IL 1926 1979–1994 —— 1994–present Carter
42 John Louis Coffey Milwaukee, WI 1922 1982–2004 —— 2004–present Reagan
45 Kenneth Francis Ripple South Bend, IN 1943 1985–2008 —— 2008–present Reagan
46 Daniel Anthony Manion South Bend, IN 1942 1986–2007 —— 2007–present Reagan

List of former judges

Thirty-nine judges have served on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, but no longer do:

Appointed by
Reason for
1 Gresham, Walter Q.Walter Q. Gresham Indiana 1832–1895 1891–1893 —— —— Arthur, C.C. Arthur[3] resignation
2 Woods, William AllenWilliam Allen Woods Indiana 1837–1901 1892–1901 —— —— Harrison, B.B. Harrison death
3 Jenkins, James GrahamJames Graham Jenkins Wisconsin 1834–1921 1893–1905 —— —— Cleveland, Cleveland retirement
4 Showalter, John WilliamJohn William Showalter Illinois 1844–1898 1895–1898 —— —— Cleveland, Cleveland death
5 Grosscup, Peter StengerPeter Stenger Grosscup Illinois 1852–1921 1899–1911 —— —— McKinley, McKinley resignation
6 Baker, Francis ElishaFrancis Elisha Baker Indiana 1860–1924 1902–1924 —— —— Roosevelt, T.T. Roosevelt death
7 Seaman, William HenryWilliam Henry Seaman Wisconsin 1842–1915 1905–1915 —— —— Roosevelt, T.T. Roosevelt death
8 Kohlsaat, Christian CecilChristian Cecil Kohlsaat Illinois 1844–1918 1905–1918 —— —— Roosevelt, T.T. Roosevelt death
9 Alschuler, SamuelSamuel Alschuler[4] Illinois 1859–1939 1915–1936 —— 1936–1939 Wilson, Wilson death
10 Evans, Evan AlfredEvan Alfred Evans Wisconsin 1876–1948 1916–1948 —— —— Wilson, Wilson death
11 Page, George TrueGeorge True Page Illinois 1859–1941 1919–1930 —— 1930–1941 Wilson, Wilson death
12 Anderson, Albert BarnesAlbert Barnes Anderson Indiana 1857–1938 1925–1929 —— 1929–1938 Coolidge, Coolidge death
13 Sparks, William MorrisWilliam Morris Sparks Indiana 1872–1950 1929–1948 1948–1948 1948–1950 Hoover, Hoover death
14 FitzHenry, LouisLouis FitzHenry Illinois 1870–1935 1933–1935 —— —— Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
15 Major, James EarlJames Earl Major Illinois 1887–1972 1937–1956 1948–1954 1956–1972 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
16 Treanor, Walter EmanuelWalter Emanuel Treanor Indiana 1883–1941 1937–1941 —— —— Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
17 Kerner, Sr., OttoOtto Kerner, Sr.[4] Illinois 1884–1952 1938–1952 —— —— Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
18 Minton, ShermanSherman Minton Indiana 1890–1965 1941–1949 —— —— Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt elevation to the Supreme Court
19 Duffy, F. RyanF. Ryan Duffy Wisconsin 1888–1979 1949–1966 1954–1959 1966–1979 Truman, Truman death
20 Finnegan, Philip J.Philip J. Finnegan Illinois 1886–1959 1949–1959 —— —— Truman, Truman death
21 Lindley, Walter C.Walter C. Lindley Illinois 1880–1958 1949–1958 —— —— Truman, Truman death
22 Swaim, Hardress NathanielHardress Nathaniel Swaim[4] Indiana 1880–1957 1949–1957 —— —— Truman, Truman death
23 Schnackenberg, Elmer JacobElmer Jacob Schnackenberg[4] Illinois 1889–1968 1953–1968 —— —— Eisenhower, Eisenhower death
24 Hastings, John SimpsonJohn Simpson Hastings Indiana 1898–1977 1957–1969 1959–1968 1969–1977 Eisenhower, Eisenhower death
25 Parkinson, William LynnWilliam Lynn Parkinson Indiana 1902–1959 1957–1959 —— —— Eisenhower, Eisenhower death
26 Knoch, Winfred GeorgeWinfred George Knoch Illinois 1895–1983 1958–1967 —— 1967–1983 Eisenhower, Eisenhower death
27 Castle, LathamLatham Castle Illinois 1900–1986 1959–1970 1968–1970 1970–1986 Eisenhower, Eisenhower death
28 Kiley, Roger JosephRoger Joseph Kiley Illinois 1900–1974 1961–1974 —— 1974–1974 Kennedy, Kennedy death
29 Swygert, Luther MerrittLuther Merritt Swygert Indiana 1905–1988 1961–1981 1970–1975 1981–1988 Kennedy, Kennedy death
30 Cummings, Jr., Walter J.Walter J. Cummings, Jr. Illinois 1916–1999 1966–1999 1981–1986 —— Johnson, L.L. Johnson death
31 Fairchild, Thomas E.Thomas E. Fairchild Wisconsin 1912–2007 1966–1981 1975–1981 1981–2007 Johnson, L.L. Johnson death
32 Kerner, Jr., OttoOtto Kerner, Jr. Illinois 1908–1976 1968–1974 —— —— Johnson, L.L. Johnson resignation
33 Pell, Jr., Wilbur FrankWilbur Frank Pell, Jr. Indiana 1915–2000 1970–1984 —— 1984–2000 Nixon, Nixon death
34 Stevens, John PaulJohn Paul Stevens Illinois 1920–present 1970–1975 —— —— Nixon, Nixon elevation to the Supreme Court
35 Sprecher, Robert ArthurRobert Arthur Sprecher Illinois 1917–1982 1971–1982 —— —— Nixon, Nixon death
36 Tone, Philip WillisPhilip Willis Tone Illinois 1923–2001 1974–1980 —— —— Nixon, Nixon resignation
38 Harlington Wood, Jr. Illinois 1920–2008 1976–1992 —— 1992–2008 Ford, Ford death
40 Eschbach, Jesse E.Jesse E. Eschbach Indiana 1920–2005 1981–1985 —— 1985–2005 Reagan, Reagan death
50 Terence T. Evans Wisconsin 1940-2011 1995–2010 —— 2010–2011 Clinton, Clinton death

Chief judges

Chief Judge
Sparks 1948 – 1948
Major 1948 – 1954
Duffy 1954 – 1959
Hastings 1959 – 1968
Castle 1968 – 1970
Swygert 1970 – 1975
Fairchild 1975 – 1981
Cummings 1981 – 1986
Bauer 1986 – 1993
Posner 1993 – 2000
Flaum 2000 – 2006
Easterbrook 2006 – present

In order to qualify for the office of Chief Judge, 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. See 28 U.S.C. § 45.

The above rules have applied since October 1, 1982. The office of Chief Judge was created in 1948 and until August 6, 1959 was filled by 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. From then until 1982 it was filled by the senior such judge who had not turned 70.

The current Chief Judge of the Seventh Circuit is Judge Frank Easterbrook, who succeeded Judge Joel Flaum in November 2006. Judge Diane Wood is in line to be the next chief judge, as the only judges more senior than her in regular active service who have not already served as chief judge (Judges Michael Kanne and Ilana Rovner) will be older than 65 when Chief Judge Easterbrook's term expires in 2013. Judge Wood would be the first female chief judge of the court.

Succession of seats

The court has eleven seats for active judges, 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 Judiciary Act of 1869 as a circuit judgeship for the Seventh Circuit
Reassigned to the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit by the Judiciary Act of 1891
Gresham IN 1891–1893
Jenkins WI 1893–1905
Seaman WI 1905–1915
E. Evans WI 1916–1948
Duffy WI 1949–1966
Fairchild WI 1966–1981
Coffey WI 1982–2004
Sykes WI 2004–present
Seat 2
Established on June 16, 1891 by the Judiciary Act of 1891
Woods IN 1892–1901
Baker IN 1902–1924
Anderson IN 1925–1929
Sparks IN 1929–1948
Finnegan IL 1949–1959
Castle IL 1959–1970
Sprecher IL 1971–1982
Flaum IL 1983–present
Seat 3
Established on February 8, 1895 by 28 Stat. 643
Showalter IL 1895–1898
Grosscup IL 1899–1911
Alschuler IL 1915–1936
Treanor IN 1937–1941
Minton IN 1941–1949
Lindley IL 1949–1958
Knoch IL 1958–1967
Kerner, Jr. IL 1968–1974
Bauer IL 1974–1994
D. Wood IL 1995–present
Seat 4
Established on March 3, 1905 by 33 Stat. 992
Kohlsaat IL 1905–1918
Page IL 1919–1930
FitzHenry IL 1933–1935
Major IL 1937–1956
Hastings IN 1957–1969
Pell IN 1970–1984
Manion IN 1986–2007
Tinder IN 2007–present
Seat 5
Established on May 31, 1938 by 52 Stat. 584
Kerner, Sr. IL 1938–1952
Schnackenberg IL 1953–1968
Stevens IL 1970–1975
H. Wood IL 1976–1992
Rovner IL 1992–present
Seat 6
Established on August 3, 1949 by 63 Stat. 493
Swaim IN 1949–1957
Parkinson IN 1957–1959
Kiley IL 1961–1974
Tone IL 1974–1980
Posner IL 1981–present
Seat 7
Established on May 19, 1961 by 75 Stat. 80
Swygert IN 1961–1981
Eschbach IN 1981–1985
Kanne IN 1987–present
Seat 8
Established on March 18, 1966 by 80 Stat. 75
Cummings IL 1966–1999
Williams IL 1999–present
Seat 9
Established on October 20, 1978 by 92 Stat. 1629, 1632
Cudahy IL 1979–1994
T. Evans WI 1995–2010
(vacant) (n/a) 2010–present
Seat 10
Established on July 10, 1984 by 98 Stat. 333
Easterbrook IL 1985–present
Seat 11
Established on July 10, 1984 by 98 Stat. 333
Ripple IN 1985–2008
Hamilton IN 2009–present

See also

  • Federal judicial appointment history#Seventh Circuit

See also


  1. ^ Lewis, Neil A. (May 11, 2009). "Potential Justice Offers a Counterpoint in Chicago". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/12/us/politics/12wood.html. Retrieved May 26, 2010. 
  2. ^ Presidential Nominations and Withdrawal Sent to the Senate, 7/14/10
  3. ^ Gresham was appointed as a circuit judge for the Seventh Circuit in 1884. The Judiciary Act of 1891 reassigned his seat to what is now the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
  4. ^ a b c d Recess appointment, later confirmed by the United States Senate.

External links


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