United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina
|United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina|
|Appeals to||Fourth Circuit|
|Established||June 4, 1872|
|Chief Judge||Terrence Boyle|
|Officers of the court|
|U.S. Attorney||Robert Higdon Jr.|
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina (in case citations, E.D.N.C.) is the United States District Court that serves the eastern 44 counties in North Carolina. Appeals from the Eastern District of North Carolina are taken to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (except for patent claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit).
Jurisdiction and offices
The District has three staffed offices and holds court in six cities: Elizabeth City, Fayetteville, Greenville, New Bern, Raleigh, and Wilmington. Its main office is in Raleigh. It is broken down into four divisions. The eastern division is headquartered in Greenville and handles cases from Beaufort, Carteret, Craven, Edgecombe, Greene, Halifax, Hyde, Jones, Lenoir, Martin, Pamlico, and Pitt counties.
The northern and western divisions are based in Raleigh. The western covers: Cumberland, Franklin, Granville, Harnett, Johnston, Nash, Vance, Wake, Warren, Wayne, and Wilson counties. Its cases are heard in Fayetteville, Greenville, and New Bern. The northern division presides over cases from: Bertie, Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hertford, Northampton, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell and Washington counties. Its cases are heard in Elizabeth City.
The United States District Court for the District of North Carolina was established on June 4, 1790, by 1 Stat. 126. On June 9, 1794 it was subdivided into three districts by 1 Stat. 395, but on March 3, 1797, the three districts were abolished and the single District restored by 1 Stat. 517, until April 29, 1802, when the state was again subdivided into three different districts by 2 Stat. 156.
In both instances, these districts, unlike those with geographic designations that existed in other states, were titled by the names of the cities in which the courts sat. After the first division, they were styled the District of Edenton, the District of New Bern, and the District of Wilmington; after the second division, they were styled the District of Albemarle, the District of Cape Fear, and the District of Pamptico. However, in both instances, only one judge was authorized to serve all three districts, causing them to effectively operate as a single district. The latter combination was occasionally referred to by the cumbersome title of the United States District Court for the Albemarle, Cape Fear & Pamptico Districts of North Carolina.
On June 4, 1872, North Carolina was re-divided into two Districts, Eastern and Western, by 17 Stat. 215. The presiding judge of the District of North Carolina, George Washington Brooks, was then reassigned to preside over only the Eastern District. The Middle District was created from portions of the Eastern and Western Districts on March 2, 1927, by 44 Stat. 1339.
As of March 23, 2019[update]:
|#||Title||Judge||Duty station||Born||Term of service||Appointed by|
|12||Chief Judge||Terrence Boyle||Elizabeth City||1945||1984–present||2018–present
|14||District Judge||Louise W. Flanagan||New Bern||1962||2003–present||2004–2011||—||G.W. Bush|
|15||District Judge||James C. Dever III||Raleigh||1962||2005–present||2011–2018||—||G.W. Bush|
|10||Senior Judge||William Earl Britt||Raleigh||1932||1980–1997||1983–1990||1997–present||Carter|
|13||Senior Judge||Malcolm Jones Howard||Greenville||1939||1988–2005||—||2005–present||Reagan|
Vacancies and pending nominations
|Seat||Seat Last Held By||Vacancy Reason||Date of Vacancy||Nominee||Date of Nomination|
|5||Malcolm Jones Howard||Senior status||December 31, 2005||–||–|
|#||Judge||State||Born–died||Active service||Chief Judge||Senior status||Appointed by||Reason for|
|1||George Washington Brooks||NC||1821–1882||1872–1882||—||—||Operation of law||death|
|2||Augustus Sherrill Seymour||NC||1836–1897||1882–1897||—||—||Arthur||death|
|3||Thomas Richard Purnell||NC||1847–1908||1897–1908||—||—||McKinley||death|
|4||Henry G. Connor||NC||1852–1924||1908–1924||—||—||Taft||death|
|5||Isaac Melson Meekins||NC||1875–1946||1925–1945||—||1945–1946||Coolidge||death|
|7||Algernon Lee Butler||NC||1905–1978||1959–1975||1961–1975||1975–1978||Eisenhower||death|
|8||John Davis Larkins Jr.||NC||1909–1990||1961–1979||1975–1979||1979–1990||Kennedy||death|
|9||Franklin Taylor Dupree Jr.||NC||1913–1995||1970–1983||1979–1983||1983–1995||Nixon||death|
|11||James Carroll Fox||NC||1928–2019||1982–2001||1990–1997||2001–2019||Reagan||death|
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
U.S. Attorneys for the Eastern District
- Richard C. Badger (1872–1878)
- J. W. Albertson (1878–1882)
- W. S. O. Robinson (1882–1885)
- Fabius H. Busbee (1885–1889)
- Charles A. Cooke (1889–1893)
- Charles B. Aycock (1893–1898)
- Claude M. Bernard (1898–1902)
- Harry Skinner (1902–1910)
- Herbert F. Seawell (1910–1913)
- Francis D. Winston (1913–1916)
- James O. Carr (1916–19)
- Thomas D. Warren (1919–20)
- E. F. Aydlett (1920–21)
- Irvin B. Tucker (1921–30)
- Walter H. Fisher (1930–34)
- James O. Carr (1934–45)
- Charles F. Rouse (1945–46)
- John H. Manning (1946–51)
- Charles P. Green (1951–53)
- Julian T. Gaskill (1953–61)
- Robert H. Cowen (1961–69)
- Warren H. Coolidge (1969–73)
- Thomas P. McNamara (1973–76)
- Carl L. Tilghman (1976–77)
- George M. Anderson (1977–1980)
- James L. Blackburn (1980–81)
- Sam Currin (1981–1987)
- J. Douglas McCullough (acting 1987-88)
- Margaret Currin (1988–1993; wife of Sam Currin)
- J. Douglas McCullough (acting 1993)
- Janice McKenzie Cole (1994–2001)
- Frank Whitney (2002–2005)
- George Holding (2005–2011)
- Thomas Walker (2011–2016)
- John Stuart Bruce (acting 2016)
- Robert Higdon Jr. (2017–)
- Courts of North Carolina
- List of current United States District Judges
- List of United States federal courthouses in North Carolina
- Asbury Dickens, A Synoptical Index to the Laws and Treaties of the United States of America (1852), p. 389.
- U.S. District Courts of North Carolina, Legislative history, Federal Judicial Center.
- "Eastern District of North Carolina - USAO - Department of Justice". www.justice.gov.