33°30′58.7″N 86°48′40.2″W / 33.516306°N 86.811167°W / 33.516306; -86.811167

United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama
(N.D. Ala.)
More locations
Appeals toEleventh Circuit
EstablishedMarch 10, 1824
Chief JudgeR. David Proctor
Officers of the court
U.S. AttorneyPrim F. Escalona (interim)
U.S. MarshalChester Martin Keely

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama (in case citations, N.D. Ala.) is a federal court in the Eleventh Circuit (except for patent claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit).

The District was established on March 10, 1824, with the division of the state into a Northern and Southern district. The circuit court itself was established on June 22, 1874.[1]

The United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Alabama represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. The interim United States attorney is Prim F. Escalona, who was appointed by United States Attorney General William Barr following the resignation of Jay Town on July 15, 2020.[2]

Organization of the court

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama is one of three federal judicial districts in Alabama.[3] Court for the District is held at Anniston, Birmingham, Decatur, Florence, Gadsden, Huntsville, and Tuscaloosa.

Eastern Division comprises the following counties: Calhoun, Clay, Cleburne, and Talladega.

Jasper Division comprises the following counties: Fayette, Lamar, Marion, Walker, and Winston.

Middle Division comprises the following counties: Cherokee, DeKalb, Etowah, Marshall, and St. Clair.

Northeastern Division comprises the following counties: Cullman, Jackson, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, and Morgan.

Northwestern Division comprises the following counties: Colbert, Franklin, and Lauderdale.

Southern Division comprises the following counties: Blount, Jefferson, and Shelby.

Western Division comprises the following counties: Bibb, Greene, Pickens, Sumter, and Tuscaloosa.

Current judges

As of January 1, 2024:

# Title Judge Duty station Born Term of service Appointed by
Active Chief Senior
34 Chief Judge R. David Proctor Birmingham 1960 2003–present 2024–present G.W. Bush
33 District Judge L. Scott Coogler Tuscaloosa 1959 2003–present 2020–2023 G.W. Bush
37 District Judge Madeline Haikala Birmingham 1964 2013–present Obama
38 District Judge Annemarie Carney Axon Birmingham 1973 2018–present Trump
39 District Judge Liles C. Burke Huntsville 1969 2018–present Trump
40 District Judge Corey L. Maze Anniston 1978 2019–present Trump
41 District Judge Anna M. Manasco Birmingham 1980 2020–present Trump
42 District Judge vacant
28 Senior Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn Birmingham 1950 1991–2015 2006–2013 2015–present G.H.W. Bush
29 Senior Judge Charles Lynwood Smith Jr. Huntsville 1943 1995–2013 2013–present Clinton
30 Senior Judge Inge Prytz Johnson inactive 1945 1998–2012 2012–present Clinton
32 Senior Judge Karon O. Bowdre Birmingham 1955 2001–2020 2013–2019 2020–present G.W. Bush
35 Senior Judge Virginia Emerson Hopkins inactive 1952 2004–2018 2018–present G.W. Bush

Vacancies and pending nominations

Seat Prior judge's duty station Seat last held by Vacancy reason Date of vacancy Nominee Date of nomination
9 Birmingham Abdul K. Kallon Resignation August 31, 2022

Former judges

# Judge State Born–died Active service Chief Judge Senior status Appointed by Reason for
1 Charles Tait AL 1768–1835 1824–1826[Note 1][Note 2] Monroe/Operation of law resignation
2 William Crawford AL 1784–1849 1826–1849[Note 2][Note 3] J.Q. Adams death
3 John Gayle AL 1792–1859 1849–1859[Note 4] Taylor death
4 William Giles Jones AL 1808–1883 1859–1861[Note 5][Note 4] Buchanan resignation
5 George Washington Lane AL 1806–1863 1861–1863[Note 4] Lincoln death
6 Richard Busteed AL 1822–1898 1863–1874[Note 6][Note 4] Lincoln resignation
7 John Bruce AL 1832–1901 1875–1901[Note 7][Note 8] Grant death
8 Thomas G. Jones AL 1844–1914 1901–1914[Note 9][Note 7] T. Roosevelt death
9 Oscar Richard Hundley AL 1855–1921 1907–1908[Note 10]
1908–1909[Note 11]
1909[Note 12]
T. Roosevelt
T. Roosevelt
not confirmed
not confirmed
10 William Irwin Grubb AL 1862–1935 1909–1935 Taft death
11 Henry De Lamar Clayton Jr. AL 1857–1929 1914–1929[Note 7] Wilson death
12 Charles Brents Kennamer AL 1874–1955 1931–1936[Note 7] Hoover reassignment to M.D. Ala.
13 David Jackson Davis AL 1878–1938 1935–1938[Note 13] F. Roosevelt death
14 Thomas Alexander Murphree AL 1883–1945 1938–1945 F. Roosevelt death
15 Clarence H. Mullins AL 1895–1957 1943–1953 1948–1953 1953–1957 F. Roosevelt death
16 Seybourn Harris Lynne AL 1907–2000 1946–1973 1953–1973 1973–2000 Truman death
17 Harlan Hobart Grooms AL 1900–1991 1953–1969 1969–1991 Eisenhower death
18 Clarence W. Allgood AL 1902–1991 1961–1973[Note 14] 1973–1991 Kennedy death
19 Frank Hampton McFadden AL 1925–2020 1969–1982 1973–1982 Nixon resignation
20 Sam C. Pointer Jr. AL 1934–2008 1970–1999 1982–1999 1999–2000 Nixon retirement
21 James Hughes Hancock AL 1931–2020 1973–1996 1996–2020 Nixon death
22 Junius Foy Guin Jr. AL 1924–2016 1973–1989 1989–2016 Nixon death
23 Elbert Bertram Haltom Jr. AL 1922–2003 1980–1991 1991–2003 Carter death
24 Robert Bruce Propst AL 1931–2019 1980–1996 1996–2019 Carter death
25 U. W. Clemon AL 1943–present 1980–2009 1999–2006 Carter retirement
26 William Acker AL 1927–2018 1982–1996 1996–2018 Reagan death
27 Edwin L. Nelson AL 1940–2003 1990–2003 G.H.W. Bush death
31 H. Dean Buttram Jr. AL 1950–present 1998–2002 Clinton resignation
36 Abdul K. Kallon AL 1969–present 2010–2022 Obama resignation
  1. ^ Reassigned from the District of Alabama.
  2. ^ a b Jointly appointed to the Northern and the Southern Districts of Alabama.
  3. ^ From 1839 to 1849, Judge Crawford was jointly appointed to the Middle District of Alabama.
  4. ^ a b c d Jointly appointed to the Middle, Northern, and Southern Districts of Alabama.
  5. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on January 23, 1860, confirmed by the United States Senate on January 30, 1860, and received commission the same day.
  6. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on January 5, 1864, confirmed by the Senate on January 20, 1864, and received commission the same day.
  7. ^ a b c d Jointly appointed to the Middle and Northern Districts of Alabama.
  8. ^ From 1875 to 1886, Judge Bruce was jointly appointed to the Southern District of Alabama.
  9. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on December 5, 1901, confirmed by the Senate on December 17, 1901, and received commission the same day.
  10. ^ Recess appointment; the Senate later rejected the appointment.
  11. ^ Received a second recess appointment and was again rejected by the Senate.
  12. ^ Received a third recess appointment but resigned prior to consideration.
  13. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on January 6, 1936, confirmed by the Senate on January 22, 1936, and received commission on January 28, 1936.
  14. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on January 15, 1962, confirmed by the Senate on February 5, 1962, and received commission on February 9, 1962.

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

Court decisions

Lucy v. Adams (1955) – A court ruling which affirmed the right of all citizens to be accepted at the University of Alabama. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ruling.

Armstrong v. Birmingham Board of Education (1963) – The court dismissed the plaintiff's complaint. On appeal, the Fifth Circuit reversed and ordered the desegregation of Birmingham public schools.[4]

United States v. Wallace (1963) – The court exercised its ruling in Lucy v. Adams and ordered that colored students be permitted to enroll at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. The court order led to the infamous Stand in the Schoolhouse Door incident with Governor George C. Wallace.[5]

Jackson v. Birmingham Board of Education (2002) – A reversal of the decision rendered by the district and Eleventh Circuit. The U.S. Supreme Court held that retaliation against a person on the basis of a sexual complaint is a form of sexual discrimination under Title IX.

Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (2003) – The U.S. Supreme Court reversed the decision of the district court, stating that employers cannot be sued under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act over race or gender discrimination if the claims are based on decisions over 180 days. The decision of the court led Congress to pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009.

United States v. Alabama (2011) – The court upheld most parts of Alabama HB 56, an anti-illegal immigration bill signed by Governor Robert J. Bentley. The Eleventh Circuit reversed, invalidating much of Alabama HB 56.[6]

U.S. attorneys

Name Term Started Term Ended Presidents served under
William Crawford 1820 1820 James Monroe
Frank Jones 1824 1826 James Monroe
John Q. Adams
Harry J. Thornton 1826 1829 John Q. Adams
Andrew Jackson
Joseph Scott 1829 1830 Andrew Jackson
Byrd Brandon 1830 1836 Andrew Jackson
John D. Phelan 1836 1836 Andrew Jackson
Edwin R. Wallace 1836 1839 Andrew Jackson
Martin Van Buren
Jermiah Clemens 1839 1840 Martin Van Buren
Joseph A. S. Acklin 1840 1850 Martin Van Buren
William H. Harrison
John Tyler
James K. Polk
Zachary Taylor
Millard Fillmore
Jefferson F. Jackson 1850 1853 Millard Fillmore
Franklin Pierce
George S. Walden 1853 1859 Franklin Pierce
James Buchanan
M. J. Turnley 1859 1860 James Buchanan
Charles E. Mayer 1876 1880 Ulysses S. Grant
Rutherford B. Hayes
William H. Smith 1880 1885 Rutherford B. Hayes
James A. Garfield
Chester A. Arthur
Grover Cleveland
George H. Craig 1885 1885 Grover Cleveland
William H. Denson 1885 1889 Grover Cleveland
Benjamin Harrison
Lewis E. Parsons Jr. 1889 1893 Benjamin Harrison
Grover Cleveland
Emmet O'Neal 1893 1897 Grover Cleveland
William McKinley
William Vaughn 1897 1902 William McKinley
Theodore Roosevelt
Thomas R. Roulhac 1902 1907 Theodore Roosevelt
Oliver D. Street 1907 1913 Theodore Roosevelt
William H. Taft
Woodrow Wilson
Robert N. Bell 1913 1919 Woodrow Wilson
Erle Pettris 1919 1922 Woodrow Wilson
Warren G. Harding
Charles B. Kennamer 1922 1931 Warren G. Harding
Calvin Coolidge
Herbert Hoover
Jim C. Smith 1931 1931 Herbert Hoover
John B. Isabell 1931 1933 Herbert Hoover
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Jim C. Smith 1933 1946 Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry S. Truman
John D. Hill 1946 1953 Harry S. Truman
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Frank Minis Johnson 1953 1955 Dwight D. Eisenhower
Atley A. Kitchings Jr. 1955 1956 Dwight D. Eisenhower
William L. Longshore[7] 1956 1961 Dwight D. Eisenhower
John F. Kennedy
Macon L. Weaver 1961 1969 John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard Nixon
Wayman G. Sherrer 1969 1977 Richard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Jimmy Carter
Jesse R. Brooks 1977 1981 Jimmy Carter
Ronald Reagan
Frank W. Donaldson 1981 1992 Ronald Reagan
George H. W. Bush
Jack W. Selden 1992 1993 George H. W. Bush
Bill Clinton
Claude Harris Jr. 1993 1994 Bill Clinton
Walter Braswell 1994 1995 Bill Clinton
Caryl P. Privett 1995 1997[8] Bill Clinton
Gordon D. Jones[9] 1997[9] 2001[9] Bill Clinton
Alice H. Martin[10] 2001[11][failed verification] 2009[11] George W. Bush
Barack Obama
Joyce Vance[12] 2009[13] 2017[13] Barack Obama
Robert O. Posey[14] 2017[14] 2017[14] Donald Trump
John E. Town[15][16] 2017[15] 2020[17] Donald Trump
Prim F. Escalona [2] 2020[2] Present Donald Trump
Joe Biden

See also


  1. ^ U.S. District Courts of Alabama, Legislative history, Federal Judicial Center
  2. ^ a b c Barr, William P. (July 16, 2020). "Attorney General William P. Barr Announces the Appointment of Prim F. Escalona as Interim U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama" (Press release). Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs. Retrieved July 22, 2020.
  3. ^ 28 U.S.C. § 81
  4. ^ "ARMSTRONG v. BOARD OF EDU | 220 F.Supp. 217 (1963) | supp2171398 | Leagle.com". Leagle.
  5. ^ "Q48498 - Q48509". digital.archives.alabama.gov.
  6. ^ "United States v. Alabama" (PDF).
  7. ^ Official Register of the United States (1958)
  8. ^ Bold Lions Survival Sense Hardcover – March 21, 2018
  9. ^ a b c "Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress - Retro Member details". bioguideretro.congress.gov.
  10. ^ Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Resource Directory (digitized 2013)
  11. ^ a b "LinkedIn Profile".
  12. ^ "'Well-nigh unshakable' Joyce White Vance '82 is one of Obama's first U.S. attorneys". December 23, 2009.
  13. ^ a b "LinkedIn Profile". (registration required)
  14. ^ a b c "U.S. Attorney Jay Town Names Robert Posey to Management Position". www.justice.gov. October 4, 2017.
  15. ^ a b "Jay E. Town Sworn in as U.S. Attorney for Northern District of Alabama". www.justice.gov. August 11, 2017.
  16. ^ "Mr. John Edward Town Profile | Huntsville, AL Lawyer | Martindale.com". www.martindale.com.
  17. ^ Burkhalter, Eddie (July 10, 2020). "U.S. Attorney Jay Town announces resignation". Alabama Political Reporter. Retrieved July 21, 2020.