United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
(7th Cir.)
LocationEverett McKinley Dirksen U.S. Courthouse
Appeals from
EstablishedJune 16, 1891
Circuit JusticeAmy Coney Barrett
Chief JudgeDiane S. Sykes

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (in case citations, 7th Cir.) is the U.S. federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the courts in the following districts:

The court is based at the Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago and is composed of eleven appellate judges. It is one of 13 United States courts of appeals.

The court offers a relatively unique internet presence that includes wiki and RSS feeds of opinions and oral arguments.[1] It is also notable for having one of the most prominent law and economics scholars, Judge Frank Easterbrook, on its court.[2] Richard Posner, another prominent law and economics scholar, also served on this court until his retirement in 2017.[3] Three judges from the Seventh Circuit, Sherman Minton, John Paul Stevens, and Amy Coney Barrett, have been appointed as Associate Justices of the Supreme Court.

The Dirksen Federal Building, seat of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Current composition of the court

As of April 30, 2024:

# Title Judge Duty station Born Term of service Appointed by
Active Chief Senior
53 Chief Judge Diane S. Sykes Milwaukee, WI 1957 2004–present 2020–present G.W. Bush
45 Circuit Judge Frank Easterbrook Chicago, IL 1948 1985–present 2006–2013 Reagan
49 Circuit Judge Ilana Rovner Chicago, IL 1938 1992–present G.H.W. Bush
57 Circuit Judge Michael B. Brennan Milwaukee, WI 1963 2018–present Trump
58 Circuit Judge Michael Y. Scudder Chicago, IL 1971 2018–present Trump
59 Circuit Judge Amy St. Eve Chicago, IL 1965 2018–present Trump
60 Circuit Judge Thomas Kirsch Hammond, IN 1974 2020–present Trump
61 Circuit Judge Candace Jackson-Akiwumi Chicago, IL 1979 2021–present Biden
62 Circuit Judge John Z. Lee Chicago, IL 1968 2022–present Biden
63 Circuit Judge Doris Pryor Indianapolis, IN 1977 2022–present Biden
64 Circuit Judge Joshua P. Kolar Hammond, IN 1976 2024–present Biden
38 Senior Circuit Judge William J. Bauer inactive 1926 1974–1994 1986–1993 1994–present Ford
44 Senior Circuit Judge Joel Flaum Chicago, IL 1936 1983–2020 2000–2006 2020–present Reagan
46 Senior Circuit Judge Kenneth Francis Ripple South Bend, IN 1943 1985–2008 2008–present Reagan
47 Senior Circuit Judge Daniel Anthony Manion inactive 1942 1986–2007 2007–present Reagan
55 Senior Circuit Judge David Hamilton Bloomington, IN 1957 2009–2022 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
5 Chicago, IL Ilana Rovner Senior status TBD[4][5] Nancy L. Maldonado February 27, 2024

List of former judges

# Judge State Born–died Active service Chief Judge Senior status Appointed by Reason for
1 Walter Q. Gresham IN 1832–1895 1891–1893 Arthur / Operation of law[6] resignation
2 William Allen Woods IN 1837–1901 1892–1901 B. Harrison death
3 James Graham Jenkins WI 1834–1921 1893–1905 Cleveland retirement
4 John William Showalter IL 1844–1898 1895–1898 Cleveland death
5 Peter S. Grosscup IL 1852–1921 1899–1911 McKinley resignation
6 Francis Elisha Baker IN 1860–1924 1902–1924 T. Roosevelt death
7 William Henry Seaman WI 1842–1915 1905–1915 T. Roosevelt death
8 Christian Cecil Kohlsaat IL 1844–1918 1905–1918 T. Roosevelt death
9 Julian Mack IL 1866–1943 1911–1929 [7] reassigned to the 6th Circuit
10 Samuel Alschuler[8] IL 1859–1939 1915–1936 1936–1939 Wilson death
11 Evan Alfred Evans WI 1876–1948 1916–1948 Wilson death
12 George True Page IL 1859–1941 1919–1930 1930–1941 Wilson death
13 Albert Barnes Anderson IN 1857–1938 1925–1929 1929–1938 Coolidge death
14 William Morris Sparks IN 1872–1950 1929–1948 1948 1948–1950 Hoover death
15 Louis Fitzhenry IL 1870–1935 1933–1935 F. Roosevelt death
16 James Earl Major IL 1887–1972 1937–1956 1948–1954 1956–1972 F. Roosevelt death
17 Walter Emanuel Treanor IN 1883–1941 1937–1941 F. Roosevelt death
18 Otto Kerner Sr.[8] IL 1884–1952 1938–1952 F. Roosevelt death
19 Sherman Minton IN 1890–1965 1941–1949 F. Roosevelt elevation to Supreme Court
20 F. Ryan Duffy WI 1888–1979 1949–1966 1954–1959 1966–1979 Truman death
21 Philip J. Finnegan IL 1886–1959 1949–1959 Truman death
22 Walter C. Lindley IL 1880–1958 1949–1958 Truman death
23 Hardress Nathaniel Swaim[8] IN 1880–1957 1949–1957 Truman death
24 Elmer Jacob Schnackenberg[8] IL 1889–1968 1953–1968 Eisenhower death
25 John Simpson Hastings IN 1898–1977 1957–1969 1959–1968 1969–1977 Eisenhower death
26 William Lynn Parkinson IN 1902–1959 1957–1959 Eisenhower death
27 Winfred George Knoch IL 1895–1983 1958–1967 1967–1983 Eisenhower death
28 Latham Castle IL 1900–1986 1959–1970 1968–1970 1970–1986 Eisenhower death
29 Roger Kiley IL 1900–1974 1961–1974 1974 Kennedy death
30 Luther Merritt Swygert IN 1905–1988 1961–1981 1970–1975 1981–1988 Kennedy death
31 Thomas E. Fairchild WI 1912–2007 1966–1981 1975–1981 1981–2007 L. Johnson death
32 Walter J. Cummings Jr. IL 1916–1999 1966–1999 1981–1986 L. Johnson death
33 Otto Kerner Jr. IL 1908–1976 1968–1974 L. Johnson resignation
34 Wilbur Frank Pell Jr. IN 1915–2000 1970–1984 1984–2000 Nixon death
35 John Paul Stevens IL 1920–2019 1970–1975 Nixon elevation to Supreme Court
36 Robert Arthur Sprecher IL 1917–1982 1971–1982 Nixon death
37 Philip Willis Tone IL 1923–2001 1974–1980 Nixon resignation
39 Harlington Wood Jr. IL 1920–2008 1976–1992 1992–2008 Ford death
40 Richard Dickson Cudahy WI 1926–2015 1979–1994 1994–2015 Carter death
41 Jesse E. Eschbach IN 1920–2005 1981–1985 1985–2005 Reagan death
42 Richard Posner IL 1939–present 1981–2017 1993–2000 Reagan retirement
43 John Louis Coffey WI 1922–2012 1982–2004 2004–2012 Reagan death
48 Michael Stephen Kanne IN 1938–2022 1987–2022 Reagan death
50 Diane Wood IL 1950–present 1995–2022 2013–2020 2022–2024 Clinton retirement
51 Terence T. Evans WI 1940–2011 1995–2010 2010–2011 Clinton death
52 Ann Claire Williams IL 1949–present 1999–2017 2017–2018 Clinton retirement
54 John Daniel Tinder IN 1950–present 2007–2015 2015 G.W. Bush retirement
56 Amy Coney Barrett IN 1972–present 2017–2020 Trump elevation to Supreme Court

Chief judges

Chief Judge
Sparks 1948
Major 1948–1954
Duffy 1954–1959
Hastings 1959–1968
Castle 1968–1970
Swygert 1970–1975
Fairchild 1975–1981
Cummings, Jr. 1981–1986
Bauer 1986–1993
Posner 1993–2000
Flaum 2000–2006
Easterbrook 2006–2013
D. Wood 2013–2020
Sykes 2020–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.[9]

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.[10]

Succession of seats

The court has eleven 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.

See also


  1. ^ Seventh Circuit Opinions. The Seventh Circuit is now joined by the Courts of Appeals for the First, Second, Fourth, Ninth, DC, and Federal Circuits in having RSS feeds of their opinions.
  2. ^ Lewis, Neil A. (May 11, 2009). "Potential Justice Offers a Counterpoint in Chicago". New York Times. Retrieved May 26, 2010.
  3. ^ O'Connell, Jason Meisner, Patrick M. "Richard Posner announces sudden retirement from federal appeals court in Chicago". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2018-03-01.((cite news)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ "Ilana Rovner Letter to President Biden" (PDF). U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. January 12, 2024.
  5. ^ "Futute Judicial Vacancies".
  6. ^ Gresham was appointed as a circuit judge for the Seventh Circuit in 1884 by Chester A. Arthur. The Judiciary Act of 1891 reassigned his seat to what is now the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
  7. ^ Mack did not have a permanent seat on this court. Instead, he was appointed to the ill-fated United States Commerce Court in 1910 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. Mack was assigned to the Seventh Circuit upon his commission.
  8. ^ a b c d Recess appointment, later confirmed by the United States Senate.
  9. ^ 28 U.S.C. § 45
  10. ^ 62 Stat. 871, 72 Stat. 497, 96 Stat. 51