United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
(8th Cir.)
LocationThomas F. Eagleton U.S. Courthouse
More locations
Appeals from
EstablishedJune 16, 1891
Circuit JusticeBrett Kavanaugh
Chief JudgeSteven Colloton

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 primarily at the Thomas F. Eagleton United States Courthouse in St. Louis, Missouri, and secondarily at the Warren E. Burger United States Courthouse in St. Paul, Minnesota. 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]

Current composition of the court

As of March 11, 2024:

# Title Judge Duty station Born Term of service Appointed by
Active Chief Senior
55 Chief Judge Steven Colloton Des Moines, IA 1963 2003–present 2024–present G.W. Bush
46 Circuit Judge James B. Loken Minneapolis, MN 1940 1990–present 2003–2010 G.H.W. Bush
54 Circuit Judge Lavenski Smith Little Rock, AR 1958 2002–present 2017–2024 G.W. Bush
56 Circuit Judge Raymond Gruender Saint Louis, MO 1963 2004–present G.W. Bush
57 Circuit Judge Duane Benton Kansas City, MO 1950 2004–present G.W. Bush
58 Circuit Judge Bobby Shepherd El Dorado, AR 1951 2006–present G.W. Bush
59 Circuit Judge Jane L. Kelly Cedar Rapids, IA 1964 2013–present Obama
60 Circuit Judge Ralph R. Erickson Fargo, ND 1959 2017–present Trump
61 Circuit Judge L. Steven Grasz Omaha, NE 1961 2018–present Trump
62 Circuit Judge David Stras Minneapolis, MN 1974 2018–present Trump
63 Circuit Judge Jonathan A. Kobes Sioux Falls, SD 1974 2018–present Trump
42 Senior Circuit Judge Pasco Bowman II inactive 1933 1983–2003 1998–1999 2003–present Reagan
43 Senior Circuit Judge Roger Leland Wollman Sioux Falls, SD 1934 1985–2018 1999–2002 2018–present Reagan
45 Senior Circuit Judge C. Arlen Beam inactive 1930 1987–2001 2001–present Reagan
47 Senior Circuit Judge David R. Hansen inactive 1938 1991–2003 2002–2003 2003–present G.H.W. Bush
48 Senior Circuit Judge Morris S. Arnold Little Rock, AR 1941 1992–2006 2006–present G.H.W. Bush
53 Senior Circuit Judge Michael Joseph Melloy Cedar Rapids, IA 1948 2002–2013 2013–present G.W. Bush

List of former judges

# Judge State Born–died Active service Chief Judge Senior status Appointed by Reason for
1 Henry Clay Caldwell AR 1832–1915 1891–1903 B. Harrison / Operation of law[2] retirement
2 Walter Henry Sanborn MN 1845–1928 1892–1928 B. Harrison death
3 Amos Madden Thayer MO 1841–1905 1894–1905 Cleveland death
4 Willis Van Devanter WY 1859–1941 1903–1910 T. Roosevelt elevation to Supreme Court
5 William Cather Hook KS 1857–1921 1903–1921 T. Roosevelt death
6 Elmer Bragg Adams MO 1842–1916 1905[3]–1916 T. Roosevelt death
7 John Emmett Carland SD 1853–1922 1911–1922 [4] death
8 Walter I. Smith IA 1862–1922 1911–1922 Taft death
9 Kimbrough Stone MO 1875–1958 1916–1947 1947–1958 Wilson death
10 Robert E. Lewis CO 1857–1941 1921–1929 Harding reassignment to 10th Cir.
11 William Squire Kenyon IA 1869–1933 1922–1933 Harding death
12 Wilbur F. Booth MN 1861–1944 1925–1932 1932–1944 Coolidge death
13 Arba Seymour Van Valkenburgh MO 1862–1944 1925–1933 1933–1944 Coolidge death
14 John Hazelton Cotteral OK 1864–1933 1928–1929 Coolidge reassignment to 10th Cir.
15 Archibald K. Gardner SD 1867–1962 1929–1960 1948–1959 1960–1962 Hoover death
16 John B. Sanborn Jr. MN 1883–1964 1932–1958 1959–1964 Hoover death
17 Joseph William Woodrough NE 1873–1977 1933–1961 1961–1977 F. Roosevelt death
18 Charles Breckenridge Faris MO 1864–1938 1935 1935–1938 F. Roosevelt death
19 Seth Thomas IA 1873–1962 1935[3]–1954 1954–1962 F. Roosevelt death
20 Harvey M. Johnsen NE 1895–1975 1940–1965 1959–1965 1965–1975 F. Roosevelt death
21 Walter Garrett Riddick AR 1883–1953 1941–1953 F. Roosevelt death
22 John Caskie Collet MO 1898–1955 1947–1955 Truman death
23 Charles Joseph Vogel ND 1898–1980 1954–1968 1965–1968 1968–1980 Eisenhower death
24 Martin Donald Van Oosterhout IA 1900–1979 1954–1971 1968–1970 1971–1979 Eisenhower death
25 Charles Evans Whittaker MO 1901–1973 1956–1957 Eisenhower elevation to Supreme Court
26 Marion Charles Matthes MO 1906–1980 1958–1973 1970–1973 1973–1980 Eisenhower death
27 Harry Blackmun MN 1908–1999 1959–1970 Eisenhower elevation to Supreme Court
28 Albert Alphonso Ridge MO 1898–1967 1961–1965 1965–1967 Kennedy death
29 Pat Mehaffy AR 1904–1981 1963–1974 1973–1974 1974–1981 Kennedy death
30 Floyd Robert Gibson MO 1910–2001 1965–1979 1974–1979 1979–2001 L. Johnson death
31 Donald P. Lay MN 1926–2007 1966–1992 1979–1992 1992–2007 L. Johnson death
32 Gerald Heaney MN 1918–2010 1966–1988 1988–2006 L. Johnson retirement
33 Myron H. Bright ND 1919–2016 1968–1985 1985–2016 L. Johnson death
34 Donald Roe Ross NE 1922–2013 1970–1987 1987–2013 Nixon death
35 Roy Laverne Stephenson IA 1917–1982 1971–1982 1982–1982 Nixon death
36 William H. Webster MO 1924–present 1973–1978 Nixon resignation
37 J. Smith Henley AR 1917–1997 1975–1982 1982–1997 Ford death
38 Theodore McMillian MO 1919–2006 1978–2003 2003–2006 Carter death
39 Richard S. Arnold AR 1936–2004 1980–2001 1992–1998 2001–2004 Carter death
40 John R. Gibson MO 1925–2014 1982–1994 1994–2014 Reagan death
41 George Gardner Fagg IA 1934–2015 1982–1999 1999–2015 Reagan death
44 Frank J. Magill ND 1927–2013 1986–1997 1997–2013 Reagan death
49 Diana E. Murphy MN 1934–2018 1994–2016 2016–2018 Clinton death
50 John David Kelly ND 1934–1998 1998 Clinton death
51 Kermit Edward Bye ND 1937–2021 2000–2015 2015–2016 Clinton retirement
52 William J. Riley NE 1947–2023 2001–2017 2010–2017 2017–2023 G.W. Bush death

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 II 1998–1999
Wollman 1999–2002
Hansen 2002–2003
Loken 2003–2010
Riley 2010–2017
L. Smith 2017–2024
Colloton 2024–present

Chief judges have administrative responsibilities with respect to their circuits, and preside over any panel on which they serve, unless the circuit justice (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, with seniority determined first by commission date, then by age. The chief judge serves for a term of seven years, or until age 70, whichever occurs first. If no judge qualifies to be chief, the youngest judge over the age of 65 who has served on the court for at least one year shall act as chief until another judge qualifies. If no judge has served on the court for more than a year, the most senior judge shall act as chief. Judges can forfeit or resign their chief judgeship or acting chief judgeship while retaining their active status as a circuit judge.[5]

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.[6]

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 initially filled. Judges who assume senior status enter a kind of retirement in which they remain on the bench but vacate their seats, thus allowing the U.S. President to appoint new judges to fill their seats.

See also


  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. ^ a b 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.
  5. ^ 28 U.S.C. § 45
  6. ^ 62 Stat. 871, 72 Stat. 497, 96 Stat. 51