|United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri|
|Appeals to||Eighth Circuit|
|Established||March 3, 1857|
|Chief Judge||Mary Elizabeth Phillips|
|Officers of the court|
|U.S. Attorney||Timothy A. Garrison|
|U.S. Marshal||Mark S. James|
The United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri (in case citations, W.D. Mo.) is the federal judicial district encompassing 66 counties in the western half of the State of Missouri. The Court is based in the Charles Evans Whittaker Courthouse in Kansas City.
The current United States Attorney is Timothy A. Garrison.
Missouri was admitted as a state on August 10, 1821, and the United States Congress established the United States District Court for the District of Missouri on March 16, 1822. The District was assigned to the Eighth Circuit on March 3, 1837. Congress subdivided it into Eastern and Western Districts on March 3, 1857. and has since made only small adjustments to the boundaries of that subdivision. The division was prompted by a substantial increase in the number of admiralty cases arising from traffic on the Mississippi River, which had followed an act of Congress passed in 1845 and upheld by the United States Supreme Court in 1851, extending federal admiralty jurisdiction to inland waterways. These disputes involved "contracts of affreightment, collisions, mariners' wages, and other causes of admiralty jurisdiction", and litigants of matters arising in St. Louis found it inconvenient to travel to Jefferson City for their cases to be tried.
The district is divided into five divisions: Western (Kansas City), Central (Jefferson City), Southern (Springfield), Southwestern (Joplin), and St. Joseph (St. Joseph). There are divisional clerk's Offices in Jefferson City and Springfield in addition to the primary office in Kansas City. New cases and pleadings in the District Court may be filed in the clerk's offices in Kansas City, Jefferson City, and Springfield; Bankruptcy Court filings, however, only are accepted in the Kansas City clerk's office. The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit across Missouri in St. Louis has jurisdiction over decisions appealed from the Western District of Missouri (except for patent claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit).
The five court divisions each cover the following counties:
The St. Joseph Division covers Andrew, Atchison, Buchanan, Caldwell, Clinton, Daviess, DeKalb, Gentry, Grundy, Harrison, Holt, Livingston, Mercer, Nodaway, Platte, Putnam, Sullivan, and Worth counties.
As of January 3, 2019[update]:
|#||Title||Judge||Duty station||Born||Term of service||Appointed by|
|35||Chief Judge||Mary Elizabeth Phillips||Kansas City||1969||2012–present||2019–present||—||Obama|
|32||District Judge||Rodney W. Sippel[Note 1]||None[Note 2]||1956||1997–present||—||—||Clinton|
|34||District Judge||David Gregory Kays||Kansas City||1962||2008–present||2014–2019||—||G.W. Bush|
|36||District Judge||Brian C. Wimes[Note 1]||Kansas City||1966||2012–present||—||—||Obama|
|37||District Judge||M. Douglas Harpool||Springfield||1956||2014–present||—||—||Obama|
|38||District Judge||Stephen R. Bough||Kansas City||1970||2014–present||—||—||Obama|
|39||District Judge||Roseann A. Ketchmark||Kansas City||1963||2015–present||—||—||Obama|
|21||Senior Judge||Howard F. Sachs||Kansas City||1925||1979–1992||1990–1992||1992–present||Carter|
|27||Senior Judge||Dean Whipple||Kansas City||1938||1987–2007||2000–2007||2007–present||Reagan|
|28||Senior Judge||Fernando J. Gaitan Jr.||Kansas City||1948||1991–2014||2007–2014||2014–present||G.H.W. Bush|
|29||Senior Judge||Ortrie D. Smith||Kansas City||1946||1995–2011||—||2011–present||Clinton|
|30||Senior Judge||Gary A. Fenner||Kansas City||1947||1996–2015||—||2015–present||Clinton|
|31||Senior Judge||Nanette Kay Laughrey[Note 1]||Jefferson City||1946||1996–2011||—||2011–present||Clinton|
- Jointly appointed to the Eastern and Western Districts of Missouri
- Judge Sippel maintains chambers only in the Eastern District.
|#||Judge||State||Born–died||Active service||Chief Judge||Senior status||Appointed by||Reason for|
|1||Robert William Wells||MO||1795–1864||1857–1864[Note 1]||—||—||Operation of law||death|
|3||John Finis Philips||MO||1834–1919||1888–1910||—||—||Cleveland||retirement|
|4||Arba Seymour Van Valkenburgh||MO||1862–1944||1910–1925||—||—||Taft||elevation to 8th Cir.|
|5||Albert L. Reeves||MO||1873–1971||1923–1954||1948–1954||1954–1971||Harding||death|
|6||Merrill E. Otis||MO||1884–1944||1925–1944[Note 2]||—||—||Coolidge||death|
|7||John Caskie Collet||MO||1898–1955||1937–1947[Note 3]||—||—||F. Roosevelt||elevation to 8th Cir.|
|8||Richard M. Duncan||MO||1889–1974||1943–1965[Note 3]||1954–1959||1965–1974||F. Roosevelt||death|
|9||Albert Alphonso Ridge||MO||1898–1967||1945–1961||1959–1961||—||F. Roosevelt||elevation to 8th Cir.|
|13||Roy Winfield Harper||MO||1905–1994||1947[Note 4]
|11||Charles Evans Whittaker||MO||1901–1973||1954–1956||—||—||Eisenhower||elevation to 8th Cir.|
|12||Randle Jasper Smith||MO||1908–1962||1956–1962||1961–1962||—||Eisenhower||death|
|13||Floyd Robert Gibson||MO||1910–2001||1961–1965||1962–1965||—||Kennedy||elevation to 8th Cir.|
|14||William Henry Becker||MO||1909–1992||1961–1977||1965–1977||1977–1992||Kennedy||death|
|15||John Watkins Oliver||MO||1914–1990||1962–1980||1977–1980||1980–1990||Kennedy||death|
|16||William Robert Collinson||MO||1912–1995||1965–1980[Note 3]||—||1980–1995||L. Johnson||death|
|17||Elmo Bolton Hunter||MO||1915–2003||1965–1980||1980||1980–2003||L. Johnson||death|
|18||Harris Kenneth Wangelin||MO||1913–1987||1970–1983[Note 3]||—||1983–1987||Nixon||death|
|19||Russell Gentry Clark||MO||1925–2003||1977–1991||1980–1985||1991–2000||Carter||retirement|
|20||Scott Olin Wright||MO||1923–2016||1979–1991||1985–1990||1991–2016||Carter||death|
|22||Joseph Edward Stevens, Jr.||MO||1928–1998||1981–1995[Note 3]||1992–1995||1995–1998||Reagan||death|
|23||D. Brook Bartlett||MO||1937–2000||1981–2000||1995–2000||—||Reagan||death|
|24||John R. Gibson||MO||1925–2014||1981–1982||—||—||Reagan||elevation to 8th Cir.|
|25||Ross Thompson Roberts||MO||1938���1987||1982–1987||—||—||Reagan||death|
|26||Stephen N. Limbaugh, Sr.||MO||1927–present||1983–1996[Note 3]||—||1996–2008||Reagan||retirement|
|33||Richard Everett Dorr||MO||1943–2013||2002–2013||—||—||G.W. Bush||death|
- Reassigned from the District of Missouri
- Recess appointment; formally nominated on December 8, 1925, confirmed by the United States Senate on December 14, 1925, and received commission the same day
- Jointly appointed to the Eastern and Western Districts of Missouri
- Recess appointment; not confirmed by the Senate
- Received a second recess appointment and was again again rejected by the Senate
- Received a third recess appointment; formally nominated on January 13, 1949, confirmed by the Senate on January 31, 1949, and received commission on February 2, 1949
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
United States Attorneys
Recent, former U.S. attorneys for the district
- Mary Elizabeth Phillips
- Todd Graves
- Bradley Schlozman
- Tammy Dickinson
- Timothy A. Garrison (incumbent)
- Courts of Missouri
- List of current United States District Judges
- List of United States federal courthouses in Missouri
- U.S. District Courts of Missouri, Legislative history, Federal Judicial Center.
- 3 Stat. 653.
- Dickens, Asbury (1852). Synoptical Index to the Laws and Treaties of the United States of America. Boston: Little, Brown and company. p. 393.
- 5 Stat. 176.
- 11 Stat. 197.
- Broadhead, James O. (March 5, 1887). "Address of Col. J. O. Broadhead". In Bar Association of St. Louis (ed.). Proceedings of the Saint Louis bar on the retirement of Hon. Samuel Treat. St. Louis: Nixon-Jones printing co. pp. 10–17.
- "Robert William Wells". Biographical Directory of Federal Judges. Federal Judicial Center. Archived from the original on May 13, 2009. Retrieved April 16, 2009.