Archives of Maryland
Historical List
U.S. Courts of Appeals for Maryland, 1789-

The first federal appeals courts were established by the Judiciary Act of 1789. There were three U.S. Circuit Courts that primarily heard cases appealed from the U.S. District Courts. Each circuit was assigned initially to two Supreme Court justices, lowered to one in 1793, who traveled between the different districts on that circuit when the Supreme Court was not in session, presiding over cases with the local U.S. District Court judge, a practice known as "circuit riding." Maryland was part of the Middle Circuit, along with New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Virginia.

This system was briefly changed in 1801, when Congress reorganized the country into six circuits, each with three judges assigned to it. Maryland was in the Fourth Circuit, along with Virginia. This system was abolished in 1802, and the country reverted to the previous system.

Judges of the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, 1801-1802

Name State Dates Served
Philip Barton Key Maryland 1801-1802
Charles Magill Virginia 1801-1802
George K. Taylor Virginia 1801-1802

In response to the increasing number of cases being handled by the courts, an additional judge was added in 1870 to each circuit to assist that circuit's Supreme Court Justice, a system which lasted until 1891.

Judges of the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, 1870-1891

Name State Dates Served
Hugh Lennox Bond Maryland 1870-1891

The current system of U.S. Courts of Appeals was created in 1891, when Congress established nine circuits with three judges each. Maryland is included in the Fourth Circuit, along with Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Additional judges have been added, and since 1990 the Fourth Circuit has fifteen judgeships.

The most senior judge who is under 65 years of age is designated Chief Judge. The Chief Judge may serve no longer than seven years.

Chief Judges of the U.S Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals

Judges of the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, 1891-present

Name State Dates Served
Hugh Lennox Bond Maryland 1891-1893
Nathan Goff, Jr. West Virginia 1892-1913
Charles H. Simonton South Carolina 1893-1904
Jeter C. Pritchard North Carolina 1904-1921
Charles A. Woods South Carolina 1913-1925
Martin A. Knapp District of Columbia 1916-1923
Edmund Waddill, Jr. Virginia 1921-1931
John C. Rose Maryland 1922-1927
John J. Parker North Carolina 1925-1958
Elliott Northcott West Virginia 1927-1946
Morris A. Soper Maryland 1931-1963
Armistead M. Dobie Virginia 1939-1962
Simon E. Sobeloff Maryland 1956-1973
Clement F. Haynsworth, Jr. South Carolina 1957-1989
Herbert S. Boreman West Virginia 1959-1982
Albert V. Bryan Virginia 1961-1984
J. Spencer Bell North Carolina 1961-1967
Harrison L. Winter Maryland 1966-1990
James B. Craven, Jr. North Carolina 1966-1977
John D. Butzner, Jr. Virginia 1967-2006
Donald S. Russell South Carolina 1971-1998
John A. Field, Jr. West Virginia 1971-1995
H. Emory Widener, Jr. Virginia 1972-2007
K.K. Hall West Virginia 1976-1999
J. Dickson Phillips, Jr. North Carolina 1978-1994
Francis D. Murnaghan, Jr. Maryland 1979-2000
James M. Sprose West Virginia 1979-1995
Sam J. Ervin, III North Carolina 1980-1999
Robert F. Chapman South Carolina 1981-1991
J. Harvie Wilkinson, III Virginia 1984-present
Emory M. Sneeden South Carolina 1984-1986
William W. Wilkins South Carolina 1986-2008
Paul V. Niemeyer Maryland 1990-present
Clyde H. Hamilton South Carolina 1991-1999
J. Michael Luttig Virginia 1991-2006
Karen J. Williams South Carolina 1992-2009
M. Blane Michael West Virginia 1993-2011
Diana J. Gribbon Motz Maryland 1994-present
William B. Traxler, Jr. South Carolina 1998-present
Robert B. King West Virginia 1998-present
Roger L. Gregory Virginia 2000-present
Dennis W. Shedd South Carolina 2002-present
Allyson K. Duncan North Carolina 2003-present
G. Steven Agee Virginia 2008-present
Andre M. Davis Maryland 2009-2014
Barbara Milano Keenan Virginia 2010-present
James A. Wynn, Jr. North Carolina 2010-present
Albert Diaz North Carolina 2010-present
Henry F. Floyd South Carolina 2011-present
Stephanie D. Thacker West Virginia 2012-present
Pamela A. HarrisMaryland2014-present

Chief Judges of the U.S Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals

Name Dates Served
John H. Parker 1948-1958
Simon E. Sobeloff 1958-1964
Clement F. Haynsworth, Jr. 1964-1981
Harrison L. Winer 1981-1989
Sam J. Ervin, III 1989-1996
J. Harvie Wilkinson, III 1996-2003
William W. Wilkins 2003-2007
Karen J. Williams 2007-2009
William B. Traxler, Jr. 2009-present


Federal Judicial History, Federal Judicial Center.

Court Information, United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Maryland Manual Online.

Return to Maryland Government, Historical List

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