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United States District Court for the Western District of Texas

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

United States District Court for the Western District of Texas
(W.D. Tex.)
LocationSan Antonio
More locations
Appeals toFifth Circuit
EstablishedFebruary 21, 1857
Chief JudgeOrlando Luis Garcia
Officers of the court
U.S. AttorneyJohn Bash
U.S. MarshalSusan Pamerleau

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.

Along with the District of New Mexico, Southern District of Texas, and District of Arizona, it is one of the busiest district courts in terms of criminal felony filings.[1]


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.[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 federal 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:

The federal courthouse in Austin is the court location of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division.
The federal courthouse in Austin is the court location of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division.

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 current United States Attorney is John Bash.

Current judges

As of August 5, 2019:

# 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
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 Earl Leroy Yeakel III Austin 1945 2003–present G.W. Bush
35 District Judge Kathleen Cardone El Paso 1953 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 Austin 1962 2014–present Obama
40 District Judge Walter David Counts III Midland
1961 2018–present Trump
41 District Judge Alan D Albright Waco 1959 2018–present Trump
42 District Judge Jason K. Pulliam San Antonio 1971 2019–present Trump
22 Senior Judge James Robertson Nowlin Austin 1937 1981–2003 1999–2003 2003–present Reagan
26 Senior Judge Sam Sparks Austin 1939 1991–2017 2017–present G.H.W. Bush
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

Former judges

# Judge State Born–died Active service Chief Judge Senior status Appointed by Reason for
1 Thomas Howard DuVal TX 1813–1880 1857–1880  Pierce death
2 Ezekiel B. Turner TX 1825–1888 1880–1888[Note 1]  Hayes death
3 Thomas Sheldon Maxey TX 1846–1921 1888–1916  Cleveland retirement
4 DuVal West TX 1861–1949 1916–1931 1931–1949  Wilson death
5 William Robert Smith TX 1863–1924 1917–1924  Wilson death
6 Charles Albert Boynton TX 1867–1954 1924–1947 1947–1954  Coolidge death
7 Robert Johnston McMillan TX 1885–1941 1932–1941  Hoover death
8 Walter Angus Keeling TX 1873–1945 1942–1945 F. Roosevelt death
9 Ben Herbert Rice Jr. TX 1889–1964 1945–1964 1948–1962  Truman death
10 R. Ewing Thomason TX 1879–1973 1947–1963 1963–1973  Truman death
11 Adrian Anthony Spears TX 1910–1991 1961–1979[Note 2] 1962–1979 1979–1982  Kennedy retirement
12 Homer Thornberry TX 1909–1995 1963–1965 L. Johnson[Note 3] elevation to 5th Cir.
13 Dorwin Wallace Suttle TX 1906–2001 1964–1979 1979–2001 L. Johnson death
14 Jack Roberts TX 1910–1988 1966–1980 1979–1980 1980–1988 L. Johnson death
15 Ernest Allen Guinn TX 1905–1974 1966–1974 L. Johnson death
16 John H. Wood Jr. TX 1916–1979 1970–1979  Nixon assassination
17 William S. Sessions TX 1930–2020 1974–1987 1980–1987  Ford resignation
18 Lucius Desha Bunton III TX 1924–2001 1979–1992 1987–1992 1992–2001  Carter death
19 Harry Lee Hudspeth TX 1935–present 1979–2001 1992–1999 2001–2016  Carter retirement
20 Clyde Frederick Shannon Jr. TX 1942–present 1980–1984  Carter resignation
21 Hipolito Frank Garcia TX 1925–2002 1980–2002  Carter death
23 Edward C. Prado TX 1947–present 1984–2003  Reagan elevation to 5th Cir.
24 Walter Scott Smith Jr. TX 1940–present 1984–2016 2003–2010  Reagan retirement
25 Emilio M. Garza TX 1947–present 1988–1991  Reagan elevation to 5th Cir.
28 William Royal Furgeson Jr. TX 1941–present 1994–2008 2008–2013  Clinton retirement
  1. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on December 14, 1880, confirmed by the United States Senate on December 20, 1880, and received commission the same day.
  2. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on January 15, 1962, confirmed by the Senate on March 16, 1962, and received commission on March 17, 1962.
  3. ^ Judge Thornberry was nominated by President Kennedy but was appointed to the Court by (i.e., received his commission from) President Johnson.

Chief judges

Chief judges have administrative responsibilities with respect to their district court. Unlike the Supreme Court, where one justice is specifically nominated to be chief, the office of chief judge rotates among the district court 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 or remain chief after turning 70 years old. The current rules have been in operation since October 1, 1982.

Succession of seats

See also


  1. ^ Jock Pan (May 20, 2010). Federal Government of the United States.
  2. ^ "U.S. Department of Justice: 2002 Centennial Report, pgs. 1, 10" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on June 1, 2009. Retrieved May 24, 2010.
  3. ^ Southern District of Texas: History of the District Archived 2009-09-17 at the Wayback Machine

External links

This page was last edited on 19 August 2020, at 01:14
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