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United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri

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The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri is a trial level
Trial court
A trial court or court of first instance is a court in which trials take place. Such courts are said to have original jurisdiction.- In the United States :...

 federal district court
United States district court
The United States district courts are the general trial courts of the United States federal court system. Both civil and criminal cases are filed in the district court, which is a court of law, equity, and admiralty. There is a United States bankruptcy court associated with each United States...

 based in St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

, with jurisdiction over fifty counties in the eastern half of Missouri
Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

. The court is one of ninety-four district-level courts which make up the first tier of the U.S. federal judicial system. Judges of this court preside over civil and criminal trials on federal matters that originate within the borders of its jurisdiction. It is organized into three divisions, with court held in St. Louis
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

, Hannibal
Hannibal, Missouri
Hannibal is a city in Marion and Ralls counties in the U.S. state of Missouri. Hannibal is located at the intersection of Interstate 72 and U.S. Routes 24, 36 and 61, approximately northwest of St. Louis. According to the 2010 U.S. Census the population was 17,606...

, and Cape Girardeau
Cape Girardeau, Missouri
Cape Girardeau is a city located in Cape Girardeau and Scott counties in Southeast Missouri in the United States. It is located approximately southeast of St. Louis and north of Memphis. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 37,941. A college town, it is the home of Southeast Missouri...

.

The court was formed when the District of Missouri was divided into East and West in 1857, and its boundaries have changed little since that division. In its history it has heard a number of important cases that made it to the United States Supreme Court, covering issues related to freedom of speech, abortion, property rights, and campaign finance. There are currently eight active judges, three judges in senior status
Senior status
Senior status is a form of semi-retirement for United States federal judges, and judges in some state court systems. After federal judges have reached a certain combination of age and years of service on the federal courts, they are allowed to assume senior status...

, one vacant seat, and seven magistrate judge
United States magistrate judge
In the United States federal courts, magistrate judges are appointed to assist United States district court judges in the performance of their duties...

s attached to the court.

Mandate and jurisdiction


As a United States district court
United States district court
The United States district courts are the general trial courts of the United States federal court system. Both civil and criminal cases are filed in the district court, which is a court of law, equity, and admiralty. There is a United States bankruptcy court associated with each United States...

, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri conducts civil trials and issues orders. The cases it hears concern either federal question jurisdiction
Federal question jurisdiction
Federal question jurisdiction is a term used in the United States law of civil procedure to refer to the situation in which a United States federal court has subject-matter jurisdiction to hear a civil case because the plaintiff has alleged a violation of the Constitution or law of the...

, where a federal law or treaty is applicable, or diversity jurisdiction
Diversity jurisdiction
In the law of the United States, diversity jurisdiction is a form of subject-matter jurisdiction in civil procedure in which a United States district court has the power to hear a civil case where the persons that are parties are "diverse" in citizenship, which generally indicates that they are...

, where parties are domiciled in different states. The court also holds criminal trials of persons charged with violations of federal law. Appeals from cases brought in the Eastern District of Missouri are heard by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the district courts in the following districts:* Eastern District of Arkansas* Western District of Arkansas...

 (except for patent
Patent
A patent is a form of intellectual property. It consists of a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for the public disclosure of an invention....

 claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act
Tucker Act
Through the Tucker Act , the United States government has waived its sovereign immunity with respect to certain lawsuits....

, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
-Vacancies and pending nominations:-List of former judges:-Chief judges:Notwithstanding the foregoing, when the court was initially created, Congress had to resolve which chief judge of the predecessor courts would become the first chief judge...

). These cases can then be appealed to the United States Supreme Court.

The Court is based in St. Louis
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

 but is organized into three divisions: Eastern, Northern, and Southeastern. The court for the Eastern division is held in downtown St. Louis, in the Thomas F. Eagleton United States Courthouse, where the St. Louis Clerk's Office is located. It covers the counties of Crawford
Crawford County, Missouri
-State:In the Missouri House of Representatives, most of Crawford County is included within the 150th Legislative District and is currently represented by State Representative Jason T. Smith . In 2008, Smith defeated Democratic challenger James D. Ellis 69.97-30.03 percent; the Crawford County...

, Dent
Dent County, Missouri
Dent County is a county located in South Central Missouri in the United States. As of the 2000 U.S. Census, the county's population was 14,927. A 2008 estimate, however, showed the population to be 15,119. The largest city and county seat is Salem...

, Franklin
Franklin County, Missouri
Franklin County is a county located in the U.S. state of Missouri on the south side of the Missouri River. Franklin County is part of the St. Louis Metro Area and contains many of the St. Louis exurbs. Census 2010 put the population at 101,492; making it the 10th most populous county in Missouri....

, Gasconade
Gasconade County, Missouri
Gasconade County is a county in the U.S. state of Missouri located on the south side of the Missouri River, which once served as the chief route of transportation in the state. Located in the area called the Missouri Rhineland, the county had a population of 15,342 as of the 2000 U.S. Census. A...

, Iron
Iron County, Missouri
Iron County is a county located in the Lead Belt region in Southeast Missouri in the United States. As of the 2000 U.S. Census, the county's population was 10,697. A 2008 estimate, however, showed the population to be 9,918. The largest city and county seat is Ironton...

, Jefferson
Jefferson County, Missouri
Jefferson County is a county located in East Central Missouri in the United States. The county was included as the mean center of U.S. population in 1980. It is the sixth most-populous county in Missouri. Census 2010 put the population at 218,733 Its county seat is Hillsboro. The county was...

, Lincoln
Lincoln County, Missouri
As of the census of 2000, there were 38,944 people, 13,851 households, and 10,554 families residing in the county. The population density was 62 people per square mile . There were 15,511 housing units at an average density of 25 per square mile...

, Maries, Phelps
Phelps County, Missouri
Phelps County is a county located in south-central Missouri in the United States.According to the U.S. Census Bureau, it includes the mean center of U.S. population in 2000. As of the 2000 U.S. Census, the county's population was 39,825. A 2008 estimate, however, showed the population to be 42,205....

, Saint Charles
Saint Charles County, Missouri
As of 2000, there were 283,883 people, 101,663 households, and 77,060 families residing in the county. The population density was 507 people per square mile . There were 105,514 housing units at an average density of 73 persons/km²...

, Saint Francois
Saint Francois County, Missouri
St. Francois County is a county located in the Lead Belt region in Missouri in the United States. As of the 2000 U.S. Census, the county's population was 55,641. The 2010 Census, showed the population to be 65,359. The largest city and county seat is Farmington. The county was officially organized...

, Sainte Genevieve
Sainte Genevieve County, Missouri
Sainte Genevieve County, often abbreviated Ste. Genevieve County , is a county located in East Central Missouri in the United States. As of the 2000 U.S. Census, the county's population was 17,842. A 2008 estimate, however, showed the population to be 17,720. The largest city and county seat is...

, Saint Louis, Warren
Warren County, Missouri
Warren County is a county located in the U.S. state of Missouri. Warren County is part of the St. Louis Metro Area and is located west of the city on the north side of the Missouri River. As of 2008, the population was estimated to be 31,214. Its county seat is Warrenton...

, Washington
Washington County, Missouri
Washington County is a county located in East Central Missouri in the United States. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the county's population was 25,195. The largest city and county seat is Potosi...

, and the independent City of St. Louis
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

.

The Northern division is based in Hannibal, Missouri
Hannibal, Missouri
Hannibal is a city in Marion and Ralls counties in the U.S. state of Missouri. Hannibal is located at the intersection of Interstate 72 and U.S. Routes 24, 36 and 61, approximately northwest of St. Louis. According to the 2010 U.S. Census the population was 17,606...

, but its office is unstaffed unless court is being held there. It covers the counties of Adair
Adair County, Missouri
Adair County is a county located in northeast Missouri. As of 2010, the population was 25,607. Its county seat is Kirksville. The county was organized in 1841 and is named in honor of Kentucky Governor John Adair....

, Audrain
Audrain County, Missouri
Audrain County is a county located in the U.S. state of Missouri. As of 2010, the population was 25,529. Its county seat is Mexico. The county was organized in 1836. Audrain County was named for Col. James Hunter Audrain. Col. Audrain was Colonel of militia in the War of 1812. In 1830 Col...

, Chariton
Chariton County, Missouri
Chariton County is a county located in the U.S. state of Missouri. As of 2000, the population was 8,438. Its county seat is Keytesville. The county was organized in 1820 from part of Howard County and was named from the Chariton River.-History:...

, Clark
Clark County, Missouri
Clark County is a county located in the U.S. state of Missouri. As of 2010, the population was 7,139. Its county seat is Kahoka. The county was organized in 1836 and named after William Clark, leader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and later a Governor of Missouri Territory.Clark County is part...

, Knox
Knox County, Missouri
As of the census of 2010, there are 4,131 people in the county, organized into 1,791 households and 1,217 families. The population density is 9 people per square mile . There are 2,317 housing units at an average density of 5 per square mile...

, Lewis, Linn
Linn County, Missouri
As of the census of 2000, there were 13,754 people, 5,697 households, and 3,760 families residing in the county. The population density was 22 people per square mile . There were 6,554 housing units at an average density of 11 per square mile...

, Macon
Macon County, Missouri
Macon County is a county located in the U.S. state of Missouri. As of 2010, the population was 15,566. Its county seat is Macon. The county was organized in 1837 and named for Nathaniel Macon, a North Carolina politician...

, Marion, Monroe, Montgomery
Montgomery County, Missouri
Montgomery County is a county located in the U.S. state of Missouri. It lies in East Central Missouri, approximately halfway between Columbia and St. Louis. As of 2000, the population was 12,136. It was named in honor of Richard Montgomery, an American Revolutionary War general killed in 1775...

, Pike
Pike County, Missouri
As of the census of 2010, there were 18,516 people, 6,451 households, and 4,476 families residing in the county. The population density was 27 people per square mile . There were 7,493 housing units at an average density of 11 per square mile...

, Ralls, Randolph, Schuyler, Shelby, and Scotland. The Southeastern division is based at Cape Girardeau
Cape Girardeau, Missouri
Cape Girardeau is a city located in Cape Girardeau and Scott counties in Southeast Missouri in the United States. It is located approximately southeast of St. Louis and north of Memphis. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 37,941. A college town, it is the home of Southeast Missouri...

. Its courthouse is named for Rush Limbaugh, Sr.
Rush Limbaugh, Sr.
Rush Hudson Limbaugh, Sr. was an American jurist, legislator, and ambassador. His legal career spanned just under eighty years and he argued cases before the Missouri Supreme Court, Internal Revenue Service Appellate Division, Interstate Commerce Commission, and National Labor Relations...

 That division's jurisdiction covers Bollinger
Bollinger County, Missouri
Bollinger County is a county located in Southeast Missouri in the United States. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the county's population was 12,363; despite a 2009 estimate that showed the population to be 11,841. The county seat is Marble Hill, which is the only city in Bollinger County...

, Butler
Butler County, Missouri
Butler County is a county located in the southeast Ozark Foothills Region in Southeast Missouri in the United States. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the county's population was 42,794. The largest city and county seat is Poplar Bluff. The county was officially organized from Wayne County on February...

, Cape Girardeau
Cape Girardeau County, Missouri
Cape Girardeau County is a county located in Southeast Missouri in the United States. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the county's population was 75,764. While the largest city in the county is Cape Girardeau, the county seat is actually Jackson, which was the first city named in honor of President...

, Carter
Carter County, Missouri
Carter County is a county located in the central western portion of the Ozark Foothills Region in Southeast Missouri in the United States. The county was officially organized on March 10, 1859, and is named after Zimri A. Carter, a pioneer settler who came to Missouri from South Carolina in 1812. ...

, Dunklin
Dunklin County, Missouri
Dunklin County is a county located in the Bootheel of Southeast Missouri in the United States. As of the 2000 U.S. Census, the county's population was 33,155. A 2008 estimate, however, showed the population to be 31,454. The largest city and county seat is Kennett...

, Madison
Madison County, Missouri
Madison County is a county located in the Lead Belt region in Southeast Missouri in the United States. As of the 2000 U.S. Census, the county's population was 11,800. A 2008 estimate, however, showed the population to be 12,276. Its county seat and largest city is Fredericktown...

, Mississippi
Mississippi County, Missouri
Mississippi County is a county located in the Bootheel of Southeast Missouri in the United States. As of the 2000 U.S. Census, the county's population was 13,427. A 2008 estimate, however, showed the population to be 13,504. The largest city and county seat is Charleston...

, New Madrid
New Madrid County, Missouri
New Madrid County is a county located in the Bootheel of southeast Missouri in the United States. As of the 2000 Census, the county's population was 19,760. A 2008 estimate, however, showed the population to be 17,589. The largest city and county seat is New Madrid...

, Pemiscot
Pemiscot County, Missouri
Pemiscot County is a county located in the Bootheel in Southeast Missouri in the United States. As of the 2000 U.S. Census, the county's population was 20,047. A 2008 estimate, however, showed the population to be 18,515. The largest city and county seat is Caruthersville...

, Perry
Perry County, Missouri
Perry County is a county located in Southeast Missouri in the United States. As of the 2000 U.S. Census, the county's population was 18,132. In 2008 the population was estimated to be 18,743. Its county seat is Perryville. The county was officially organized on November 16, 1820 from Ste...

, Reynolds
Reynolds County, Missouri
Reynolds County is a county located in the northwestern portion of the Ozark Foothills Region in Southeast Missouri in the United States. As of the 2000 U.S. Census, the county's population was 6,689. A 2008 estimate, however, showed the population to be 6,388. Its county seat is Centerville...

, Ripley
Ripley County, Missouri
Ripley County is a county located in the Ozarks of Southeast Missouri in the United States. As of the 2000 U.S. Census, the county's population was 13,509. A 2008 estimate, however, showed the population to be 13,485. The largest city and county seat is Doniphan...

, Scott
Scott County, Missouri
Scott County is a county located in Southeast Missouri in the United States. As of the 2000 U.S. Census, the population was 40,422; a 2008 estimate, however, showed the population to be 40,673. Its county seat is Benton...

, Shannon
Shannon County, Missouri
Shannon County is a county located in South Central Missouri in the United States, and the second-largest by area in Missouri. As of the 2000 U.S. Census, the county's population was 8,324. A 2008 estimate, however, showed the population to be 8,423. Its county seat is Eminence. The county was...

, Stoddard
Stoddard County, Missouri
Stoddard County is a county located in Southeast Missouri in the United States. As of the 2000 U.S. Census, the population was 29,705. A 2008 estimate, however, showed the population to be 29,537. The county seat is Bloomfield while the largest city in the county is Dexter...

, and Wayne
Wayne County, Missouri
Wayne County is a county located in the Ozark Foothills Region of Southeast Missouri in the United States. As of the 2000 U.S. Census, the population was 13,259. A 2008 estimate, however, showed the population to be 12,652. The county seat is Greenville...

 counties.

History




Origins


Missouri was admitted as a state on August 10, 1821, and the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 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
United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri
The United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri is the federal judicial district encompassing 66 counties in the western half of the State of Missouri...

 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
Admiralty law
Admiralty law is a distinct body of law which governs maritime questions and offenses. It is a body of both domestic law governing maritime activities, and private international law governing the relationships between private entities which operate vessels on the oceans...

 cases arising from traffic on the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

, 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.
When the District of Missouri was subdivided, Robert William Wells
Robert William Wells
Robert William Wells was a United States federal judge.Born in Winchester, Virginia, Wells read law to enter the bar in 1820. He was in private practice in Saint Charles, Missouri, from 1820 to 1821, and was a circuit attorney of the St. Charles Circuit from 1821 to 1822...

, who was the sole judge serving the District of Missouri at the time of the division, was reassigned to the Western District, allowing President Franklin Pierce
Franklin Pierce
Franklin Pierce was the 14th President of the United States and is the only President from New Hampshire. Pierce was a Democrat and a "doughface" who served in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate. Pierce took part in the Mexican-American War and became a brigadier general in the Army...

 to appoint Samuel Treat
Samuel Treat
Samuel H. Treat was a United States federal judge.Born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Treat's preparatory education was obtained at a public high school in his native town. At the age of 16 he completed his education at that school, and for one year thereafter he was employed as assistant teacher...

 as the first judge for the Eastern District of Missouri. The court was initially authorized to meet in St. Louis, which had previously been one of the two authorized meeting places of the District Court for the District of Missouri. It met for a time at the landmark courthouse shared with Missouri state courts, which was the tallest building in the state during that period. For the first thirty years of its existence, the court was primarily concerned with admiralty and maritime cases, including maritime insurance claims.

Civil War and aftermath


Within a few years of the court's establishment, the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 erupted, and Missouri was placed under martial law. Missouri was a border state with sharply divided loyalties among its citizenry, resulting in the imposition of stern controls from the Union government, including the imprisonment of large number of Missouri militiamen. When the District, by the hand of Judge Treat, issued a writ of habeas corpus
Habeas corpus
is a writ, or legal action, through which a prisoner can be released from unlawful detention. The remedy can be sought by the prisoner or by another person coming to his aid. Habeas corpus originated in the English legal system, but it is now available in many nations...

for the release of one of them, Captain Emmett McDonald, Union commanding general William S. Harney
William S. Harney
William Selby Harney was a cavalry officer in the U.S. Army during the Mexican-American War and the Indian Wars. He was born in what is today part of Nashville, Tennessee but at the time was known as Haysborough....

 refused, asserting that he had to answer to a "higher law". A substantial portion of the court's docket in this period came from tax cases:
The court, in this time, also tried numerous criminal cases arising from efforts to evade the tax laws through smuggling and fraud. Following the Civil War, and in response to the economic disruption it had caused, Congress enacted the Bankruptcy Act of 1867. Between its enactment and its subsequent repeal in 1878, the Act caused "countless controversies" arising in bankruptcy to be brought before the District Court. Despite the turmoil inflicted by the Civil War, Missouri experienced a population boom, becoming the fifth largest state in the U.S. by 1890, and having a busy court docket which reflected this population growth.

Further division and expansion


In 1887 a Congressional Act divided the Eastern District into the Northern and Eastern Divisions of the Eastern District. The courts of the Eastern Division continued to be held at the U.S. Custom House and Post Office in St. Louis
United States Customhouse and Post Office (St. Louis, Missouri)
The U.S. Custom House and Post Office is a court house in St. Louis, Missouri.It was designed by architects Alfred B. Mullett, William Appleton Potter, and James G. Hill, and was constructed between 1873 and 1884. Located at the intersection of Eighth and Olive Streets, it is one of three surviving...

, while the courts of the Northern Division were moved to the U.S. Post Office at Hannibal, Missouri
Hannibal, Missouri
Hannibal is a city in Marion and Ralls counties in the U.S. state of Missouri. Hannibal is located at the intersection of Interstate 72 and U.S. Routes 24, 36 and 61, approximately northwest of St. Louis. According to the 2010 U.S. Census the population was 17,606...

, where they met until 1960. These two courts, along with the four courts of the Western District, made six courts for the state, and at the time no other state had so many separate federal courts. The district has since been further divided into the Eastern, Northern, and Southeast divisions.

In 1888, Audrain County, Missouri
Audrain County, Missouri
Audrain County is a county located in the U.S. state of Missouri. As of 2010, the population was 25,529. Its county seat is Mexico. The county was organized in 1836. Audrain County was named for Col. James Hunter Audrain. Col. Audrain was Colonel of militia in the War of 1812. In 1830 Col...

 was moved from the Eastern to the Western District. In 1897, it was moved back to the Eastern district. In 1891, the United States circuit court
United States circuit court
The United States circuit courts were the original intermediate level courts of the United States federal court system. They were established by the Judiciary Act of 1789. They had trial court jurisdiction over civil suits of diversity jurisdiction and major federal crimes. They also had appellate...

s were eliminated in favor of the new United States courts of appeals
United States courts of appeals
The United States courts of appeals are the intermediate appellate courts of the United States federal court system...

. When the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the district courts in the following districts:* Eastern District of Arkansas* Western District of Arkansas...

 heard its first case, on October 12, 1891, the presiding judge Henry Clay Caldwell
Henry Clay Caldwell
Henry Clay Caldwell was a United States federal judge and Union Army officer.-Early years:Caldwell was born in what is now Marshall County, West Virginia, in 1835, in what was then Indian territory, and was largely self-educated, a circumstance credited with the cultivation of a homespun philosophy...

 was joined by two district court judges from within the jurisdiction of the Circuit. One of those was Amos Madden Thayer
Amos Madden Thayer
Amos Madden Thayer was a United States federal judge.Thayer was born in Mina, New York. He graduated from Hamilton College in 1862 and then joined the United States Army, serving as a major from 1862 to 1865. He read law in 1868 and went into private practice in the Montana Territory, then in St....

 of the Eastern District of Missouri. Thayer would later be appointed to the Eight Circuit in his own right.

The court was authorized to meet in Cape Girardeau beginning in 1905, and from 1910 to 1920 was additionally authorized to meet in Rolla, Missouri
Rolla, Missouri
Rolla is a city in Phelps County, Missouri, United States, midway between the larger cities of St. Louis and Springfield along I-44. The population in the 2010 United States Census was 19,559.It is the county seat of Phelps County...

. On September 14, 1922, an additional temporary judgeship was authorized for each district of Missouri, and on August 19, 1935, these temporary judgeships were made permanent. Additional judgeships were added to the Eastern District in 1936, 1942, 1970, 1978, and 1984, and two were added in 1990, bringing the Eastern District to its current total of nine judges.


The court continued to meet at the U.S. Custom House and Post Office until 1935, and then moved to the United States Court House and Custom House
United States Court House and Custom House
The United States Court House and Custom House is a courthouse in St. Louis, Missouri. It was designed by architectural partnership of Mauran, Russell & Crowell, and was completed in 1935. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri met at this building until 2001, and the...

 in St. Louis. In 2001 it moved to the Thomas F. Eagleton United States Courthouse, the largest courthouse in the United States. The 2000 census reported that the district had a population of nearly 2.8 million, ranking 38th in population among the 90 U.S. judicial districts.

Notable cases


During the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

, three important United States Supreme Court cases were decided which determined the constitutionality of New Deal
New Deal
The New Deal was a series of economic programs implemented in the United States between 1933 and 1936. They were passed by the U.S. Congress during the first term of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The programs were Roosevelt's responses to the Great Depression, and focused on what historians call...

 measures, one of which originated in the Eastern District of Missouri. The case, originally filed as Norman v. B & O Railroad, reached the Supreme Court along with two cases filed in the United States Court of Claims
United States Court of Claims
The Court of Claims was a federal court that heard claims against the United States government. It was established in 1855 as the Court of Claims, renamed in 1948 to the United States Court of Claims , and abolished in 1982....

, under the single heading of the Gold Clause Cases
Gold Clause Cases
The Gold Clause Cases were a series of actions brought before the Supreme Court of the United States, in which the court narrowly upheld restrictions on the ownership of gold implemented by the administration of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt in order to fight the Great Depression. The cases...

. The Supreme Court upheld the determination of the trial court judge, Charles Breckenridge Faris
Charles Breckenridge Faris
Charles Breckenridge Faris was a United States federal judge.Charles Breckenridge Faris attended St. Louis Law School. He attended the University of Missouri, where he received a B.L. and a B.Pd. in 1889, and a LL.D. in 1922. He was in private practice in Caruthersville, Missouri from 1891 to 1892...

, who found that Congress had the power to prohibit parties from contracting for payment in gold.

In 1976, the court heard the original proceedings in Planned Parenthood of Central Missouri v. Danforth
Planned Parenthood of Central Missouri v. Danforth
Planned Parenthood v. Danforth, 428 U.S. 52 was a case decided by the Supreme Court of the United States in which the constitutionality of several Missouri state regulations regarding abortion was challenged...

, a case that challenged several Missouri state regulations regarding abortion
Abortion
Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

. The case was eventually appealed to the United States Supreme Court, which reaffirmed the right to abortion and struck down certain restrictions as unconstitutional
Constitutionality
Constitutionality is the condition of acting in accordance with an applicable constitution. Acts that are not in accordance with the rules laid down in the constitution are deemed to be ultra vires.-See also:*ultra vires*Company law*Constitutional law...

.

Due to a school desegregation
Desegregation
Desegregation is the process of ending the separation of two groups usually referring to races. This is most commonly used in reference to the United States. Desegregation was long a focus of the American Civil Rights Movement, both before and after the United States Supreme Court's decision in...

 suit in 1972, the court required St. Louis to accept a busing plan in 1980. Judge William L. Hungate
William L. Hungate
William Leonard Hungate was a United States Representative from Missouri from November 3, 1964 to January 3, 1977, representing the Ninth Congressional District. Following his retirement from the U.S...

 declared that a mandatory plan would go into effect unless other arrangements were made to adhere to the terms of the suit. In 1983, an unprecedented voluntary busing plan was put into place, integrating
Racial integration
Racial integration, or simply integration includes desegregation . In addition to desegregation, integration includes goals such as leveling barriers to association, creating equal opportunity regardless of race, and the development of a culture that draws on diverse traditions, rather than merely...

 the schools without a mandated plan being required.

In Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier
Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier
Hazelwood School District et al. v. Kuhlmeier et al., was a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States, which held that public school curricular student newspapers that have not been established as forums for student expression are subject to a lower level of First Amendment protection...

, a case that started in Missouri's Eastern District went before the United States Supreme Court in 1988, it was held that public school curricular student newspapers are subject to a lower level of First Amendment
First Amendment to the United States Constitution
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering...

 protection. Another First Amendment case in public schools came up in 1998, when E.D. Mo. heard Beussink v. Woodland R-IV School District
Beussink v. Woodland R-IV School District
Beussink v. Woodland R-IV School district, 30 F. Supp. 2d 1175 is an important case in United States law regarding the First Amendment and its application in public schools...

. Judge Rodney W. Sippel
Rodney W. Sippel
Rodney W. Sippel is a United States federal judge.Sippel was born in Jefferson City, Missouri. He received a B.S. from University of Tulsa in 1978, and a J.D. from Washington University School of Law in 1981. He lived in St. Louis, Missouri and practiced law there, except for a period when he was...

 ruled that the school violated a student's rights by sanctioning him for material he posted on his website. This case has been widely cited in higher courts.

In the 2000s, two more notable cases originated in this District and were heard by the United States Supreme Court. Nixon v. Shrink Missouri Government PAC
Nixon v. Shrink Missouri Government PAC
Nixon v. Shrink Missouri Government PAC, 528 U.S. 377 , was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that their earlier decision in Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U. S...

upheld state limits on campaign contributions to state offices, and Sell v. United States
Sell v. United States
Sell v. United States, is a landmark decision in which the United States Supreme Court imposed stringent limits on the right of a lower court to order the forcible administration of antipsychotic medication to a criminal defendant who had been determined to be incompetent to stand trial for the...

imposed stringent limits on the right of a lower court to order the forcible administration
Involuntary treatment
Involuntary treatment refers to medical treatment undertaken without a person's consent. In almost all circumstances, involuntary treatment refers to psychiatric treatment administered despite an individual's objections...

 of antipsychotic medication
Antipsychotic
An antipsychotic is a tranquilizing psychiatric medication primarily used to manage psychosis , particularly in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. A first generation of antipsychotics, known as typical antipsychotics, was discovered in the 1950s...

 to an criminal defendant who had been determined to be incompetent to stand trial
Competence (law)
In American law, competence concerns the mental capacity of an individual to participate in legal proceedings. Defendants that do not possess sufficient "competence" are usually excluded from criminal prosecution, while witnesses found not to possess requisite competence cannot testify...

 for the sole purpose of making him competent and able to be tried. Several notable antitrust
Antitrust
The United States antitrust law is a body of laws that prohibits anti-competitive behavior and unfair business practices. Antitrust laws are intended to encourage competition in the marketplace. These competition laws make illegal certain practices deemed to hurt businesses or consumers or both,...

 cases originated in this district including Brown Shoe Co. v. United States (preventing a merger between two shoe wholesalers which would have reduced competition in the region), and United Shoe Machinery Corp. v. United States (prohibiting certain long-term leases of manufacturing equipment). Another important case brought in the district, Ruckelshaus v. Monsanto Co., involved the right of companies to maintain trade secret
Trade secret
A trade secret is a formula, practice, process, design, instrument, pattern, or compilation of information which is not generally known or reasonably ascertainable, by which a business can obtain an economic advantage over competitors or customers...

s under Missouri law in the face of federal regulations requiring disclosure of pesticide components.

Judges




37 judges have been appointed to the Eastern District of Missouri over the course of its existence. There are currently nine active judges and five judges in senior status
Senior status
Senior status is a form of semi-retirement for United States federal judges, and judges in some state court systems. After federal judges have reached a certain combination of age and years of service on the federal courts, they are allowed to assume senior status...

. The chief judge
Chief judge
Chief Judge is a title that can refer to the highest-ranking judge of a court that has more than one judge. The meaning and usage of the term vary from one court system to another...

 is Catherine D. Perry
Catherine D. Perry
Catherine D. Perry is a United States federal judge.Born in Hobart, Oklahoma, Perry received a B.A. from University of Oklahoma in 1977, and a J.D. from Washington University School of Law in 1980. After graduation she became an adjunct professor of law at Washington University School of Law, and...

, who assumed that office in 2009.
Currently active judges
Judge Appointed by Began active service
G.H.W. Bush 
G.H.W. Bush 
Clinton 
Clinton 
G.W. Bush 
G.W. Bush 
Obama 
Obama 

  • Judge Rodney W. Sippel is jointly appointed to both the Eastern and Western Districts of Missouri


In addition, judges Edward Louis Filippine
Edward Louis Filippine
Edward Louis Filippine is a United States federal judge.Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Filippine received an A.B. from Saint Louis University in 1951 and a J.D. from Saint Louis University School of Law in 1957. He was a U.S. Air Force from 1951 to 1953. He was in private practice in Clayton and St....

, Charles Alexander Shaw
Charles Alexander Shaw
Charles Alexander Shaw is a Senior District Judgte on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.Born in Jackson, Tennessee, Shaw received a B.A. from Harris Stowe State College in 1966, an M.B.A. from the University of Missouri in 1971, and a J.D. from the Columbus...

, Donald J. Stohr
Donald J. Stohr
Donald J. Stohr is a United States federal judge.Born in Sedalia, Missouri, Stohr received a B.S. from Saint Louis University in 1956 and a J.D. from Saint Louis University School of Law in 1958. He was in private practice in St. Louis, Missouri from 1958 to 1962. He was a First assistant county...

, E. Richard Webber
E. Richard Webber
Ernest Richard Webber, Jr. is a United States federal judge.Webber was born in Kahoka, Missouri. He received a B.S. from University of Missouri in 1964, and a J.D. from that university's law school in 1967...

, and Nanette K. Laughrey have assumed senior status
Senior status
Senior status is a form of semi-retirement for United States federal judges, and judges in some state court systems. After federal judges have reached a certain combination of age and years of service on the federal courts, they are allowed to assume senior status...

, but may still hear cases on the court. There are currently seven magistrate judges
United States magistrate judge
In the United States federal courts, magistrate judges are appointed to assist United States district court judges in the performance of their duties...

 on the court: Terry I. Adelman, David D. Noce, Frederick R. Buckles, Lewis M. Blanton, Mary Ann L. Medler, Thomas C. Mummert III, and Nanette Baker. Unlike the nine federal judges on the court, magistrate judges are not Article III judges
Article I and Article III tribunals
In the United States, the American legal system includes both state courts and United States federal courts. The federal tribunals may be an Article III tribunal or another adjudicative body classified as an Article I or an Article IV tribunal...

, but are hired by the district on the recommendation of the judges.

Previous chief judges have included, in order, George Moore
George Moore (judge)
George H. Moore was a Missouri attorney and United States federal judge.Moore received an LL.B from Missouri State University in 1901 and an LL.M. from that institution the following year. He was in private practice in St. Louis, Missouri from 1902-35, also working as a U.S...

 (1948–1959), Roy Winfield Harper
Roy Winfield Harper
"Roy" Winfield Harper was a Federal Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Missouri. He was born in Dunklin County, Gibson, Missouri, and died in Saint Louis County, Chesterfield, Missouri.-Biography:"Roy" Winfield Harper was the oldest child of Marvin...

 (1959–1971), James Hargrove Meredith
James Hargrove Meredith
James Hargrove Meredith was a United States federal judge.Born in Wedderburn, Oregon, Meredith received an A.B. from the University of Missouri in 1936 and an LL.B. from the University of Missouri School of Law in 1937. He was in private practice in Portageville, Missouri from 1937 to 1938...

 (1971–1979), Harris Kenneth Wangelin
Harris Kenneth Wangelin
Harris Kenneth Wangelin was a United States federal judge.Born in Des Moines, Iowa, Wangelin received an A.A. from Iberia Academy & Junior College in 1932 and a J.D. from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law in 1936. He was in private practice in Van Buren, Missouri from 1936 to 1937...

 (1979–1983), John Francis Nangle
John Francis Nangle
John Francis Nangle was a United States federal judge.Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Nangle received an A.A. from Harris Teachers College in 1941, a B.S. from the University of Missouri in 1943, and a J.D. from Washington University School of Law in 1948. He was in the United States Army Sergeant...

, (1983–1990), Edward Louis Filippine
Edward Louis Filippine
Edward Louis Filippine is a United States federal judge.Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Filippine received an A.B. from Saint Louis University in 1951 and a J.D. from Saint Louis University School of Law in 1957. He was a U.S. Air Force from 1951 to 1953. He was in private practice in Clayton and St....

, (1990–1995), and Jean Constance Hamilton
Jean Constance Hamilton
Jean Constance Hamilton is a United States federal judge.Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Hamilton received a B.A. from Wellesley College in 1968, then a J.D. from Washington University School of Law in 1971, and an LL.M. from Yale Law School in 1982. She was an attorney with the Civil Rights Division...

, (1995–2002). Hamilton, appointed by George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

 in 1990, was the first female judge appointed to the District. The first African American to serve was Clyde S. Cahill Jr.
Clyde S. Cahill Jr.
Clyde S. Cahill Jr. was a United States federal judge.Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Cahill was in the United States Air Force from 1942 to 1946, and then received a B.S. from Saint Louis University in 1949. He received a J.D. from Saint Louis University School of Law in 1951, and was thereafter in...

, who was appointed by Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

 in 1980. No Hispanic or Asian judges have served on this court. Over the history of the District, five of its judges have been elevated to the Eighth Circuit - Elmer Bragg Adams
Elmer Bragg Adams
Elmer Bragg Adams was a United States federal judge.Born in Pomfret, Vermont, Adams received a B.A. from Yale University in 1865 and graduated from Harvard Law School in 1868. He was a teacher for the American Union Commission who organized schools for white children in Georgia from 1865 to 1866,...

, John Caskie Collet
John Caskie Collet
John Caskie Collet was a United States federal judge in Missouri.Collet was born in Keytesville, Missouri. He was in the United States Army Air Corps from 1917 to 1918, and read law in 1920. He was a City attorney of Salisbury, Missouri from 1922 to 1924, and then a county prosecutor for Charlton...

, Charles Breckenridge Faris
Charles Breckenridge Faris
Charles Breckenridge Faris was a United States federal judge.Charles Breckenridge Faris attended St. Louis Law School. He attended the University of Missouri, where he received a B.L. and a B.Pd. in 1889, and a LL.D. in 1922. He was in private practice in Caruthersville, Missouri from 1891 to 1892...

, Amos Madden Thayer
Amos Madden Thayer
Amos Madden Thayer was a United States federal judge.Thayer was born in Mina, New York. He graduated from Hamilton College in 1862 and then joined the United States Army, serving as a major from 1862 to 1865. He read law in 1868 and went into private practice in the Montana Territory, then in St....

 and William Hedgcock Webster
William Hedgcock Webster
William Hedgcock Webster is an American attorney, jurist, and current Chairman of the Homeland Security Advisory Council. Previously Webster was the 3rd Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 1978 to 1987 and Director of Central Intelligence from 1987 to 1991...

. No judge from this district has served on the United States Supreme Court.

See also