United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
Seal of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (in case citations, 6th Cir.) is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the district courts in the following districts:

The court is composed of sixteen judges and is based at the Potter Stewart U.S. Courthouse in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is one of thirteen United States courts of appeals.


Current composition of the court

The judges on the court are:

# Title Judge Duty station Born Term of service Appointed by
Active Chief Senior
53 Chief Judge Alice M. Batchelder Medina, OH 1944 1991–present 2009–present G.H.W. Bush
40 Circuit Judge Boyce F. Martin, Jr. Louisville, KY 1935 1979–present 1996–2003 Carter
49 Circuit Judge Danny Julian Boggs Louisville, KY 1944 1986–present 2003–2009 Reagan
55 Circuit Judge Karen Nelson Moore Cleveland, OH 1948 1995–present Clinton
56 Circuit Judge R. Guy Cole, Jr. Columbus, OH 1951 1995–present Clinton
57 Circuit Judge Eric L. Clay Detroit, MI 1948 1997–present Clinton
59 Circuit Judge Julia Smith Gibbons Memphis, TN 1950 2002–present G.W. Bush
60 Circuit Judge John M. Rogers Lexington, KY 1948 2002–present G.W. Bush
61 Circuit Judge Jeffrey Sutton Columbus, OH 1960 2003–present G.W. Bush
62 Circuit Judge Deborah L. Cook Akron, OH 1952 2003–present G.W. Bush
63 Circuit Judge David McKeague Lansing, MI 1946 2005–present G.W. Bush
64 Circuit Judge Richard Allen Griffin Traverse City, MI 1952 2005–present G.W. Bush
66 Circuit Judge Raymond M. Kethledge Ann Arbor, MI 1966 2008–present G.W. Bush
67 Circuit Judge Helene N. White Detroit, MI 1954 2008–present G.W. Bush
68 Circuit Judge Jane Branstetter Stranch Nashville, TN 1953 2010–present Obama
69 Circuit Judge Bernice B. Donald Memphis, TN 1951 2011–present Obama
36 Senior Circuit Judge Damon J. Keith Detroit, MI 1922 1977–1995 (none) 1995–present Carter
37 Senior Circuit Judge Gilbert Stroud Merritt, Jr. Nashville, TN 1936 1977–2001 1989–1996 2001–present Carter
39 Senior Circuit Judge Cornelia Groefsema Kennedy Detroit, MI 1923 1979–1999 (none) 1999–present Carter
46 Senior Circuit Judge Ralph B. Guy, Jr. Ann Arbor, MI 1929 1985–1994 (none) 1994–present Reagan
50 Senior Circuit Judge Alan Eugene Norris Columbus, OH 1935 1986–2001 (none) 2001–present Reagan
51 Senior Circuit Judge Richard Fred Suhrheinrich Lansing, MI 1936 1990–2001 (none) 2001–present G.H.W. Bush
52 Senior Circuit Judge Eugene Edward Siler, Jr. London, KY 1936 1991–2001 (none) 2001–present G.H.W. Bush
54 Senior Circuit Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey Nashville, TN 1942 1993–2008 (none) 2009–present Clinton
58 Senior Circuit Judge Ronald Lee Gilman Memphis, TN 1942 1997–2010 (none) 2010–present Clinton

Vacancies and pending nominations

Seat Seat Last Held By Vacancy Reason Date of Vacancy Nominee Date of Nomination

List of former judges

# Judge State Born/Died Active service Term as Chief Judge Senior status Appointed by Reason for
1 Jackson, Howell EdmundsHowell Edmunds Jackson TN 1832–1895 1891–1893 (none) (none) [1] elevation to the Supreme Court
2 Taft, William HowardWilliam Howard Taft OH 1857–1930 1892–1900 (none) (none) Harrison, B.B. Harrison resignation
3 Lurton, Horace HarmonHorace Harmon Lurton TN 1844–1914 1893–1909 (none) (none) Cleveland, Cleveland elevation to the Supreme Court
4 Day, William R.William R. Day OH 1849–1923 1899–1903 (none) (none) McKinley, McKinley elevation to the Supreme Court
5 Severens, Henry FranklinHenry Franklin Severens MI 1835–1923 1900–1911 (none) (none) McKinley, McKinley resignation
6 Richards, John KelveyJohn Kelvey Richards OH 1856–1909 1903–1909 (none) (none) Roosevelt, T.T. Roosevelt death
7 Warrington, John WesleyJohn Wesley Warrington OH 1844–1921 1909–1919 (none) 1919–1921 Taft, Taft death
8 Knappen, Loyal EdwinLoyal Edwin Knappen MI 1854–1930 1910–1924 (none) 1924–1930 Taft, Taft death
9 Denison, Arthur CarterArthur Carter Denison MI 1861–1942 1911–1931 (none) (none) Taft, Taft resignation
10 Donahue, Maurice H.Maurice H. Donahue OH 1864–1928 1919–1928 (none) (none) Wilson, Wilson death
11 Moorman, Charles HarwoodCharles Harwood Moorman KY 1876–1938 1925–1938 (none) (none) Coolidge, Coolidge death
12 Hicks, XenophonXenophon Hicks TN 1872–1952 1928–1952 1948–1952 1952–1952 Coolidge, Coolidge death
13 Hickenlooper, SmithSmith Hickenlooper OH 1880–1933 1928–1933 (none) (none) Coolidge, Coolidge death
Mack, Julian WilliamJulian William Mack 1866–1943 1929–1930 (none) (none) [2] reassignment to 2nd Circuit
14 Simons, Charles CasperCharles Casper Simons MI 1876–1964 1932–1959 1952–1958 1959–1964 Hoover, Hoover death
15 Allen, Florence EllinwoodFlorence Ellinwood Allen OH 1884–1966 1934–1959 1958–1959 1959–1966 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
16 Hamilton, ElwoodElwood Hamilton KY 1883–1945 1938–1945 (none) (none) Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
17 Arant, Herschel WhitfieldHerschel Whitfield Arant OH 1887–1941 1939–1941 (none) (none) Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
18 Martin, Sr., John DonelsonJohn Donelson Martin, Sr. TN 1883–1962 1940–1962 1959–1959 (none) Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
19 McAllister, Thomas FrancisThomas Francis McAllister MI 1896–1976 1941–1963 1959–1961 1963–1976 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
20 Miller, Jr., ShackelfordShackelford Miller, Jr. KY 1892–1965 1945–1965 1961–1962 1965–1965 Truman, Truman death
21 Stewart, PotterPotter Stewart OH 1915–1985 1954–1958 (none) (none) Eisenhower, Eisenhower elevation to the Supreme Court
22 Cecil, Lester LeFevreLester LeFevre Cecil OH 1893–1983 1959–1965 1962–1963 1965–1982 Eisenhower, Eisenhower death
23 Weick, Paul CharlesPaul Charles Weick OH 1899–1997 1959–1981 1963–1969 1981–1997 Eisenhower, Eisenhower death
24 O'Sullivan, Clifford PatrickClifford Patrick O'Sullivan MI 1897–1975 1960–1969 (none) 1969–1975 Eisenhower, Eisenhower death
25 Phillips, HarryHarry Phillips TN 1909–1985 1963–1979 1969–1979 1979–1985 Kennedy, Kennedy death
26 Edwards, Jr., George CliftonGeorge Clifton Edwards, Jr. MI 1914–1995 1963–1985 1979–1983 1985–1995 Kennedy, Kennedy death
27 Celebrezze, Anthony J.Anthony J. Celebrezze OH 1910–1998 1965–1980 (none) 1980–1998 Johnson, L.L. Johnson death
28 Peck II, John WeldJohn Weld Peck II OH 1913–1993 1966–1978 (none) 1978–1993 Johnson, L.L. Johnson death
29 McCree, Wade H.Wade H. McCree MI 1920–1987 1966–1977 (none) (none) Johnson, L.L. Johnson resignation
30 Combs, Bert T.Bert T. Combs KY 1911–1991 1967–1970 (none) (none) Johnson, L.L. Johnson resignation
31 Brooks, Henry LuesingHenry Luesing Brooks KY 1905–1971 1969–1971 (none) (none) Nixon, Nixon death
32 Miller, William ErnestWilliam Ernest Miller TN 1908–1976 1970–1976 (none) (none) Nixon, Nixon death
33 Kent, W. WallaceW. Wallace Kent MI 1916–1973 1970–1973 (none) (none) Nixon, Nixon death
34 Lively, PiercePierce Lively KY 1921-present 1972–1989 1983–1988 1989–2007 Nixon retirement
35 Engel, Jr., Albert J.Albert J. Engel, Jr. MI 1924-present 1973–1989 1988–1989 1989–2002 Nixon retirement
38 Brown, BaileyBailey Brown TN 1917–2004 1979–1982 (none) 1982–1997 Carter, Carter retirement
41 Jones, Nathaniel R.Nathaniel R. Jones OH 1926–present 1979–1995 (none) 1995–2002 Carter, Carter retirement
42 Contie, Jr., Leroy JohnLeroy John Contie, Jr. OH 1920–2001 1982–1986 (none) 1986–2001 Reagan, Reagan death
43 Krupansky, Robert B.Robert B. Krupansky OH 1921–2004 1982–1991 (none) 1991–2004 Reagan, Reagan death
44 Wellford, Harry W.Harry W. Wellford TN 1924-present 1982–1991 (none) 1991–2001 Reagan retirement
45 Milburn, Herbert TheodoreHerbert Theodore Milburn TN 1931-present 1984–1996 (none) 1996–1996 Reagan retirement
47 Nelson, David AldrichDavid Aldrich Nelson OH 1932–2010 1985–1999 (none) 1999–2010 Reagan, Reagan death
48 Ryan, James LeoJames Leo Ryan MI 1932-present 1985–2000 (none) 2000–2010 Reagan retirement
65 Neilson, Susan BiekeSusan Bieke Neilson MI 1956–2006 2005–2006 (none) (none) Bush, G.W.G.W. Bush death

Chief judges

Chief Judge
Hicks 1948–1952
Simons 1952–1958
Allen 1958–1959
Martin 1959–1959
McAllister 1959–1961
S. Miller 1961–1962
Cecil 1962–1963
Weick 1963–1969
Phillips 1969–1979
Edwards 1979–1983
Lively 1983–1988
Engel 1988–1989
Merritt 1989–1996
Martin 1996–2003
Boggs 2003–2009
Batchelder 2009–present

Chief judges have administrative responsibilities with respect to their circuits, and preside over any panel on which they serve unless the circuit justice (i.e., 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. 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 chief after turning 70 years old. The current rules have been in operation since October 1, 1982.

Succession of seats

The court has sixteen seats for active judges, numbered in the order in which they were filled. Judges who retire into senior status remain on the bench but leave their seat vacant. That seat is filled by the next circuit judge appointed by the president.

Seat 1
Established on December 10, 1869 by the Judiciary Act of 1869 as a circuit judgeship for the Sixth Circuit
Reassigned to the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit by the Judiciary Act of 1891
Jackson TN 1891–1893
Lurton TN 1893–1909
Knappen MI 1910–1924
Moorman KY 1925–1938
Hamilton KY 1938–1945
S. Miller KY 1945–1965
Combs KY 1967–1970
Kent MI 1970–1973
Engel MI 1973–1989
Suhrheinrich MI 1990–2001
McKeague MI 2005–present
Seat 2
Established on June 16, 1891 by the Judiciary Act of 1891
Taft OH 1892–1900
Severens MI 1900–1911
Denison MI 1911–1931
Simons MI 1932–1959
O'Sullivan MI 1960–1969
W. Miller TN 1970–1976
Merritt TN 1977–2001
Gibbons TN 2002–present
Seat 3
Established on January 25, 1899 by 30 Stat. 803
Day OH 1899–1903
Richards OH 1903–1909
Warrington OH 1909–1919
Donahue OH 1919–1928
Hickenlooper OH 1928–1933
Allen OH 1934–1959
Weick OH 1959–1981
Krupansky OH 1982–1991
Moore OH 1995–present
Seat 4
Established on May 8, 1928 by 45 Stat. 492
Hicks TN 1928–1952
Stewart OH 1954–1958
Cecil OH 1959–1965
Celebrezze   1965–1980
Contie OH 1982–1986
Norris OH 1986–2001
Cook OH 2003–present
Seat 5
Established on May 31, 1938 by 52 Stat. 584
Arant OH 1939–1941
McAllister MI 1941–1963
Edwards MI 1963–1985
Ryan MI 1985–2000
Kethledge MI 2008–present
Seat 6
Established on May 24, 1940 by 54 Stat. 219
J. Martin TN 1940–1962
Phillips TN 1963–1979
Brown TN 1979–1982
Wellford TN 1982–1991
Siler KY 1991–2001
Rogers KY 2002–present
Seat 7
Established on March 18, 1966 by 80 Stat. 75
Peck OH 1966–1978
Jones OH 1979–1995
Cole OH 1995–present
Seat 8
Established on March 18, 1966 by 80 Stat. 75
McCree MI 1966–1977
Keith MI 1977–1995
Griffin MI 2005–present
Seat 9
Established on June 18, 1968 by 82 Stat. 184
Brooks KY 1969–1971
Lively KY 1972–1989
Batchelder OH 1991–present
Seat 10
Established on October 20, 1978 by 92 Stat. 1629
Kennedy MI 1979–1999
Neilson MI 2005–2006
White MI 2008–present
Seat 11
Established on October 20, 1978 by 92 Stat. 1629
B. Martin KY 1979–present
Seat 12
Established on July 10, 1984 by 98 Stat. 333
Milburn TN 1984–1996
Gilman TN 1997–2010
Donald TN 2011–present
Seat 13
Established on July 10, 1984 by 98 Stat. 333
Guy MI 1985–1994
Clay MI 1997–present
Seat 14
Established on July 10, 1984 by 98 Stat. 333
Nelson OH 1985–1999
Sutton OH 2003–present
Seat 15
Established on July 10, 1984 by 98 Stat. 333
Boggs KY 1986–present
Seat 16
Established on December 1, 1990 by 104 Stat. 5089
Daughtrey TN 1993–2008
Stranch TN 2010–present

See also

  • Federal judicial appointment history#Sixth Circuit


  1. ^ Jackson was appointed to as a circuit judge for the Sixth Circuit in 1886 by Grover Cleveland. The Judiciary Act of 1891 reassigned his seat to what is now the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
  2. ^ Mack 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. Mack was assigned to the Seventh Circuit immediately prior to his assignment to the Sixth Circuit.


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