United States District Court for the Western District of Texas

United States District Court for the Western District of Texas
(W.D. Tex.)
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Appeals to: Fifth Circuit
Established: February 21, 1857
Judges assigned: 13
Chief Judge: Orlando Luis Garcia

The United States District Court For the Western District Of Texas (in case citations, W.D. Tex.) is a federal district court. The court convenes in San Antonio with divisions in Austin, Del Rio, El Paso, Midland, Pecos, and Waco. It has jurisdiction in over 50 Trans-Pecos, Permian Basin, and Hill Country counties of the U.S. state of Texas. This district covers over 92,000 square miles (240,000 km2) and seven divisions.


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 Texas Judicial District, the Galveston court had jurisdiction over the whole state.[1] On February 21, 1857, the state was divided into two districts, Eastern and Western, with Judge Watrous continuing in the Eastern district.[2] 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.


Appeals from cases brought in the Western District of Texas are taken to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (except for patent claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit).

The divisions of the Western District of Texas are:

Judge Orlando Luis Garcia is the Chief Judge of the Western District of Texas District Court.

The United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Texas represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. The office is currently occupied by Richard Durbin who became U.S. Attorney after Robert L. Pitman, the former United States Attorney resigned to take his seat on the federal bench after receiving his judicial commission on December 19, 2014.[3] Pitman previously served as the interim United States Attorney for the district in 2001, before becoming chief deputy to Johnny Sutton.[4]

Current judges

# Title Judge Duty station Born Term of service Appointed by
Active Chief Senior
29 Chief Judge Orlando Luis Garcia San Antonio 1952 1994–present 2016–present Clinton
26 District Judge Sam Sparks Austin 1939 1991–present G.H.W. Bush
27 District Judge Samuel Frederick Biery Jr. San Antonio 1947 1994–present 2010–2015 Clinton
31 District Judge Philip Ray Martinez El Paso 1957 2002–present G.W. Bush
32 District Judge Alia Moses Del Rio 1962 2002–present G.W. Bush
34 District Judge Kathleen Cardone El Paso 1953 2003–present G.W. Bush
35 District Judge Earl Leroy Yeakel III Austin 1945 2003–present G.W. Bush
36 District Judge Frank Montalvo El Paso 1956 2003–present G.W. Bush
37 District Judge Xavier Rodriguez San Antonio 1961 2003–present G.W. Bush
38 District Judge David Campos Guaderrama El Paso 1954 2012–present Obama
39 District Judge Robert L. Pitman San Antonio/Austin 1962 2014–present Obama
40 District Judge vacant
41 District Judge vacant
22 Senior Judge James Robertson Nowlin Austin 1937 1981–2003 1999–2003 2003–present Reagan
30 Senior Judge David Briones El Paso 1943 1994–2009 2009–present Clinton
33 Senior Judge Robert A. Junell Midland 1947 2003–2015 2015–present G.W. Bush

    Vacancies and pending nominations

    Seat Seat last held by Vacancy reason Date of vacancy Nominee Date of nomination
    6 Robert A. Junell Senior Status February 13, 2015 Walter David Counts III March 16, 2016
    7 Walter Scott Smith, Jr. Retirement September 14, 2016

    Former judges

    # Judge State Born–died Active service Chief Judge Senior status Appointed by Reason for
    1 DuVal, Thomas HowardThomas Howard DuVal TX 1813–1880 1857–1880 Pierce, Pierce death
    2 Turner, Ezekiel B.Ezekiel B. Turner TX 1825–1888 1880–1888[Note 1] Hayes, Hayes death
    3 Maxey, Thomas SheldonThomas Sheldon Maxey TX 1846–1921 1888–1916 Cleveland, Cleveland retirement
    4 West, DuValDuVal West TX 1861–1949 1916–1931 1931–1949 Wilson, Wilson death
    5 Smith, William RobertWilliam Robert Smith TX 1863–1924 1917–1924 Wilson, Wilson death
    6 Boynton, Charles AlbertCharles Albert Boynton TX 1867–1954 1924–1947 1947–1954 Coolidge, Coolidge death
    7 McMillan, Robert JohnstonRobert Johnston McMillan TX 1885–1941 1932–1941 Hoover, Hoover death
    8 Keeling, Walter AngusWalter Angus Keeling TX 1873–1945 1942–1945 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
    9 Rice, Jr., Ben HerbertBen Herbert Rice, Jr. TX 1889–1964 1945–1964 1948–1962 Truman, Truman death
    10 Thomason, R. EwingR. Ewing Thomason TX 1879–1973 1947–1963 1963–1973 Truman, Truman death
    11 Spears, Adrian AnthonyAdrian Anthony Spears TX 1910–1991 1961–1979[Note 2] 1962–1979 1979–1982 Kennedy, Kennedy retirement
    12 Thornberry, HomerHomer Thornberry TX 1909–1995 1963–1965 Kennedy, Kennedy reappointment
    13 Suttle, Dorwin WallaceDorwin Wallace Suttle TX 1906–2001 1964–1979 1979–2001 Johnson, L.L. Johnson death
    14 Roberts, JackJack Roberts TX 1910–1988 1966–1980 1979–1980 1980–1988 Johnson, L.L. Johnson death
    15 Guinn, Ernest AllenErnest Allen Guinn TX 1905–1974 1966–1974 Johnson, L.L. Johnson death
    16 Wood, Jr., John H.John H. Wood, Jr. TX 1916–1979 1970–1979 Nixon, Nixon death
    17 Sessions, William S.William S. Sessions TX 1930–present 1974–1987 1980–1987 Ford, Ford resignation
    18 Bunton III, Lucius DeshaLucius Desha Bunton III TX 1924–2001 1979–1992 1987–1992 1992–2001 Carter, Carter death
    19 Hudspeth, Harry LeeHarry Lee Hudspeth TX 1935–present 1979–2001 1992–1999 2001–2016 Carter, Carter retirement
    20 Shannon Jr., Clyde FrederickClyde Frederick Shannon Jr. TX 1942–present 1980–1984 Carter, Carter resignation
    21 Garcia, Hipolito FrankHipolito Frank Garcia TX 1925–2002 1980–2002 Carter, Carter death
    23 Prado, Edward C.Edward C. Prado TX 1947–present 1984–2003 Reagan, Reagan reappointment
    24 Smith, Jr., Walter ScottWalter Scott Smith, Jr. TX 1940–present 1984–2016 2003–2010 Reagan, Reagan retirement
    25 Garza, Emilio M.Emilio M. Garza TX 1947–present 1988–1991 Reagan, Reagan reappointment
    28 Furgeson, Jr., William RoyalWilliam Royal Furgeson, Jr. TX 1941–present 1994–2008 2008–2013 Clinton, Clinton retirement
    1. Recess appointment; formally nominated on December 14, 1880, confirmed by the United States Senate on December 20, 1880, and received commission on December 20, 1880.
    2. 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.

    Succession of seats

    Seat 1
    Seat established on February 21, 1857 by 11 Stat. 164
    DuVal 1857–1880
    Turner 1880–1888
    Maxey 1888–1916
    West 1916–1931
    McMillan 1932–1941
    Keeling 1942–1945
    Rice, Jr. 1945–1964
    Suttle 1964–1979
    Shannon, Jr. 1980–1984
    Prado 1984–2003
    Rodriguez 2003–present

    Seat 2
    Seat established on February 26, 1917 by 39 Stat. 938
    W.R. Smith, Sr. 1917–1924
    Boynton 1924–1947
    Thomason 1947–1963
    Thornberry 1963–1965
    Roberts 1966–1980
    Nowlin 1981–2003
    Yeakel III 2003–present

    Seat 3
    Seat established on May 19, 1961 by 75 Stat. 80
    Spears 1962–1979
    Hudspeth 1979–2001
    Moses 2002–present

    Seat 4
    Seat established on March 18, 1966 by 80 Stat. 75
    Guinn 1966–1974
    Sessions 1974–1987
    Garza 1988–1991
    O. Garcia 1994–present

    Seat 5
    Seat established on June 2, 1970 by 84 Stat. 294
    Wood, Jr. 1970–1979
    Bunton III 1979–1992
    Briones 1994–2009
    Guaderrama 2012–present

    Seat 6
    Seat established on October 20, 1978 by 92 Stat. 1629
    H. Garcia 1980–2002
    Junell 2003–2015
    vacant 2015–present

    Seat 7
    Seat established on July 10, 1984 by 98 Stat. 333
    W.S. Smith, Jr. 1984–2016
    vacant 2016–present

    Seat 8
    Seat established on December 1, 1990 by 104 Stat. 5089
    Sparks 1991–present

    Seat 9
    Seat established on December 1, 1990 by 104 Stat. 5089
    Biery, Jr. 1994–present

    Seat 10
    Seat established on December 1, 1990 by 104 Stat. 5089
    Furgeson, Jr. 1994–2008
    Pitman 2014–present

    Seat 11
    Seat established on December 21, 2000 by 114 Stat. 2762
    Martinez 2002–present

    Seat 12
    Seat established on November 2, 2002 by 116 Stat. 1758
    Cardone 2003–present

    Seat 13
    Seat established on November 2, 2002 by 116 Stat. 1758
    Montalvo 2003–present

    See also


    1. U.S. Department of Justice: 2002 Centennial Report, pgs. 1, 10
    2. Southern District of Texas: History of the District
    3. Johnson, Chris (17 December 2014). "Gay attorney confirmed to federal judiciary in Texas". Washington Blade. Retrieved 22 December 2014.
    4. Kreytak, Steven (December 1, 2003). "Behind the bench, a man to be counted on: New judge won praise for fairness, kindness in 13 years as U.S. prosecutor". Austin American-Statesman. Retrieved September 29, 2011.
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