United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
(1st Cir.)
LocationJohn Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse
Appeals from
EstablishedJune 16, 1891
Circuit JusticeKetanji Brown Jackson
Chief JudgeDavid J. Barron

The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (in case citations, 1st Cir.) is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the district courts in the following districts:

The court is based at the John Joseph Moakley Federal Courthouse in Boston, Massachusetts. Most sittings are held in Boston, where the court usually sits for one week most months of the year; in one of July or August, it takes a summer break and does not sit. The First Circuit also sits for one week each March and November at the Jose V. Toledo Federal Building and United States Courthouse in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, and occasionally sits at other locations within the circuit.[1]

With six active judges and four active senior judges, the First Circuit has the fewest judges of any of the thirteen United States courts of appeals. It covers most of New England, as well as Puerto Rico. Since retiring from the United States Supreme Court, Associate Justice David Souter has occasionally sat on the First Circuit by designation.

Current composition of the court


As of May 23, 2024:

# Title Judge Duty station Born Term of service Appointed by
Active Chief Senior
32 Chief Judge David J. Barron Boston, MA 1967 2014–present 2022–present Obama
31 Circuit Judge William J. Kayatta Jr. Portland, ME 1953 2013–present Obama
33 Circuit Judge Gustavo Gelpí San Juan, PR 1965 2021–present Biden
34 Circuit Judge Lara Montecalvo Providence, RI 1974 2022–present Biden
35 Circuit Judge Julie Rikelman Boston, MA 1972 2023–present Biden
36 Circuit Judge Seth Aframe Concord, NH 1974 2024–present Biden
18 Senior Circuit Judge Levin H. Campbell inactive 1927 1972–1992 1983–1990 1992–present Nixon
22 Senior Circuit Judge Bruce M. Selya Providence, RI 1934 1986–2006 2006–present Reagan
27 Senior Circuit Judge Sandra Lynch Boston, MA 1946 1995–2022 2008–2015 2022–present Clinton
28 Senior Circuit Judge Kermit Lipez Portland, ME 1941 1998–2011 2011–present Clinton
29 Senior Circuit Judge Jeffrey R. Howard Concord, NH 1955 2002–2022 2015–2022 2022–present G.W. Bush
30 Senior Circuit Judge O. Rogeriee Thompson Providence, RI 1951 2010–2022 2022–present Obama

Vacancies and pending nominations

Seat Prior judge's duty station Seat last held by Vacancy reason Date of vacancy Nominee Date of nomination
3 Portland, ME William J. Kayatta Jr. Senior status TBD[2] Julia M. Lipez June 4, 2024

List of former judges

# Judge State Born–died Active service Chief Judge Senior status Appointed by Reason for
1 LeBaron B. Colt RI 1846–1924 1891–1913[Note 1] Arthur / Operation of law resignation
2 William LeBaron Putnam ME 1835–1918 1892–1917 B. Harrison retirement
3 Francis Cabot Lowell MA 1855–1911 1905–1911 T. Roosevelt death
4 William Schofield MA 1857–1912 1911–1912 Taft death
5 Frederic Dodge MA 1847–1927 1912–1918 Taft resignation
6 George Hutchins Bingham NH 1864–1949 1913–1939 1939–1949 Wilson death
7 Charles Fletcher Johnson ME 1859–1930 1917–1929 1929–1930 Wilson death
8 George W. Anderson MA 1861–1938 1918–1931 1931–1938 Wilson death
9 Scott Wilson ME 1870–1942 1929–1940 1940–1942 Hoover death
10 James Madison Morton Jr. MA 1869–1940 1932–1939 1939–1940 Hoover death
11 Calvert Magruder MA 1893–1968 1939–1959 1948–1959 1959–1968 F. Roosevelt death
12 John Christopher Mahoney RI 1882–1952 1940–1950 1950–1952 F. Roosevelt death
13 Peter Woodbury NH 1899–1970 1941–1964 1959–1964 1964–1970 F. Roosevelt death
14 John Patrick Hartigan RI 1887–1968 1950–1965 1965–1968 Truman death
15 Bailey Aldrich MA 1907–2002 1959–1972 1965–1972 1972–2002 Eisenhower death
16 Edward McEntee RI 1906–1981 1965–1976 1976–1981 L. Johnson death
17 Frank M. Coffin ME 1919–2009 1965–1989 1972–1983 1989–2009 L. Johnson death
19 Hugh H. Bownes NH 1920–2003 1977–1990 1990–2003 Carter death
20 Stephen Breyer MA 1938–present 1980–1994 1990–1994 Carter elevation to Supreme Court
21 Juan R. Torruella PR 1933–2020 1984–2020 1994–2001 Reagan death
23 Conrad K. Cyr ME 1931–2016 1989–1997 1997–2016 G.H.W. Bush death
24 David Souter NH 1939–present 1990 G.H.W. Bush elevation to Supreme Court
25 Michael Boudin MA 1939–present 1992–2013 2001–2008 2013–2021 G.H.W. Bush retirement
26 Norman H. Stahl NH 1931–2023 1992–2001 2001–2023 G.H.W. Bush death
  1. ^ Colt was appointed as a circuit judge for the First Circuit in 1884 by Chester A. Arthur. The Judiciary Act of 1891 reassigned his seat to what is now the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

Chief judges

Chief Judge
Magruder 1948–1959
Woodbury 1959–1964
Aldrich 1965–1972
Coffin 1972–1983
Campbell 1983–1990
Breyer 1990–1994
Torruella 1994–2001
Boudin 2001–2008
Lynch 2008–2015
Howard 2015–2022
Barron 2022–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.[3]

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.[4]

Succession of seats


The court has six seats for active judges, 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.

Notable decisions


See also



  1. ^ "Court Calendar". United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Retrieved October 26, 2012. In January through June, and October through December, the Court usually sits for one week starting on the first Monday of the month. In either July or August, the court sits for one week. In September, the Court starts on the Wednesday after Labor Day and sits for the 3 days in that week and the 5 days in the following week. In November and March the court sits two weeks, with one week in Boston and one week in Puerto Rico. Court sittings are held in the morning, typically between 9:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.
  2. ^ "Future Judicial Vacancies | United States Courts". www.uscourts.gov.
  3. ^ 28 U.S.C. § 45
  4. ^ 62 Stat. 871, 72 Stat. 497, 96 Stat. 51
  • Dargo, George (1993). A History of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit: Volume I, 1891–1960.