United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas

United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas
(N.D. Tex.)
Location: Dallas, Texas
Appeals to: Fifth Circuit
Established: February 24, 1879
Judges assigned: 12
Chief Judge: Barbara M. Lynn

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 John R. Parker, serving since December 2014[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 Northern District of Texas has seven court divisions, covering the following counties:

The Abilene Division, covering Callahan, Eastland, Fisher, Haskell, Howard, Jones, Mitchell, Nolan, Shackelford, Stephens, Stonewall, Taylor, and Throckmorton counties.

The Amarillo Division, covering Armstrong, Briscoe, Carson, Castro, Childress, Collingsworth, Dallam, Deaf Smith, Donley, Gray, Hall, Hansford, Hartley, Hemphill, Hutchinson, Lipscomb, Moore, Ochiltree, Oldham, Parmer, Potter, Randall, Roberts, Sherman, Swisher, and Wheeler counties.

The Dallas Division, covering Dallas, Ellis, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Navarro, and Rockwall counties.

The Fort Worth Division, covering Comanche, Erath, Hood, Jack, Palo Pinto, Parker, Tarrant, and Wise counties.

The Lubbock Division, covering Bailey, Borden, Cochran, Crosby, Dawson, Dickens, Floyd, Gaines, Garza, Hale, Hockley, Kent, Lamb, Lubbock, Lynn, Motley, Scurry, Terry, and Yoakum counties.

The San Angelo Division, covering Brown, Coke, Coleman, Concho, Crockett, Glasscock, Irion, Menard, Mills, Reagan, Runnels, Schleicher, Sterling, Sutton, and Tom Green counties.

The Wichita Falls Division, covering Archer, Baylor, Clay, Cottle, Foard, Hardeman, King, Knox, Montague, Wichita, Wilbarger, and Young counties.


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
30 Chief Judge Barbara M. Lynn Dallas 1952 1999–present 2016–present Clinton
23 District Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater Dallas 1953 1986–present 2007–2014 Reagan
25 District Judge John H. McBryde Fort Worth 1931 1990–present G.H.W. Bush
29 District Judge Sam A. Lindsay Dallas 1951 1998–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 Fort Worth 1965 2007–present G.W. Bush
35 District Judge vacant
36 District Judge vacant
37 District Judge vacant
38 District Judge vacant
18 Senior Judge Mary Lou Robinson Amarillo 1926 1979–2016 2016–present Carter
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
24 Senior Judge Samuel Ray Cummings Lubbock 1944 1987–2014 2014–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 Irma Carrillo Ramirez March 15, 2016
3 Samuel Ray Cummings Senior Status December 31, 2014 E. Scott Frost March 15, 2016
9 Mary Lou Robinson Senior Status February 3, 2016
9 Jorge Antonio Solis Retired May 1, 2016 James Wesley Hendrix March 15, 2016

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[5]–1935 1935–1939 McKinley, McKinley death
4 Wilson, James CliftonJames Clifton Wilson TX 1874–1951 1919[6]–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[7]–1973 1972–1973 1973–1979 Kennedy, Kennedy death
10 Hughes, Sarah T.Sarah T. Hughes TX 1896–1985 1961[8]–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
26 Solis, Jorge AntonioJorge Antonio Solis TX 1951–present 1991–2016 2014–2016 G.H.W. Bush, G.H.W. Bush retirement
28 Kendall, Elton JoeElton Joe Kendall TX 1954–present 1992–2002 Bush, G.H.W.G.H.W. Bush retirement

Succession of seats

Seat 1
Seat established on February 24, 1879 by 20 Stat. 318
McCormick 1879–1892
Rector 1892–1898
Seat abolished on April 9, 1898 pursuant to 30 Stat. 240

Seat 2
Seat established on February 9, 1898 by 30 Stat. 240
Meek 1899–1935
Davidson 1936–1965
Taylor, Jr. 1966–1979
Buchmeyer 1979–2003
Boyle 2004–present

Seat 3
Seat established on February 26, 1919 by 40 Stat. 1183
Wilson 1919–1947
Dooley 1947–1966
Woodward 1968–1986
Cummings 1987–2014
vacant 2014–present

Seat 4
Seat established on September 14, 1922 by 42 Stat. 837 (temporary)
Seat made permanent on August 19, 1935 by 49 Stat. 659
Atwell 1923–1954
Estes 1955–1972
Mahon 1972–1989
McBryde 1990–present

Seat 5
Seat established on May 19, 1961 by 75 Stat. 80
Brewster 1961–1973
Porter 1974–1990
Solis 1991–2016
vacant 2016–present

Seat 6
Seat established on May 19, 1961 by 75 Stat. 80
Hughes 1962–1975
Higginbotham 1975–1982
Fish 1983–2007
O'Connor 2007–present

Seat 7
Seat established on June 2, 1970 by 84 Stat. 294
Hill 1970–1984
Fitzwater 1986–present

Seat 8
Seat established on October 20, 1978 by 92 Stat. 1629
Belew, Jr. 1979–1990
Means 1991–2013
vacant 2013–present

Seat 9
Seat established on October 20, 1978 by 92 Stat. 1629
Robinson 1979–2016
vacant 2016–present

Seat 10
Seat established on October 20, 1978 by 92 Stat. 1629
Sanders, Jr. 1979–1996
Lynn 1999–present

Seat 11
Seat established on July 10, 1984 by 98 Stat. 333
Maloney 1985–2000
Godbey 2002–present

Seat 12
Seat established on December 1, 1990 by 104 Stat. 5089
Kendall 1992–2002
Kinkeade 2002–present

Seat 13
Seat established on December 1, 1990 by 104 Stat. 5089
Lindsay 1998–present

See also


  1. "Office of the United States Attorneys". Executive Office for United States Attorneys. United States Department of Justice.
  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. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  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.

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