District Court Judges

District Court Judges in the United States

Contents:

District Court Jurisdiction

The district courts have original jurisdiction over most cases that are heard in the federal courts (except those few cases that fall within the original jurisdiction of the United States Supreme Court and those cases that are heard by the U.S. Court of International Trade or by one of the special courts). Thus, these district courts are the principal trial courts in the federal court system.

Two little-known multi-judge panels played a key role in ongoing efforts to combat terrorism in the United States and abroad. Both are shrouded in secrecy.

  • The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, created by Congress in 1978. This tribunal is composed of 11 federal district court judges, appointed to seven-year terms by the Chief Justice of the United States. The court, which meets in secret, has the power to issue secret search warrants–court orders that allow the FBI, the CIA, and other federal law enforcement agencies to conduct covert surveillance of persons suspected of being spies or members of terrorist organizations.
  • The Alien Terrorist Removal Court, created by Congress in 1996. It is made up of five district court judges, appointed by the Chief Justice to five-year terms. This court has the power to decide whether those persons identified as “alien terrorists” by the Attorney General of the United States should be expelled from this country.

The district courts hear a wide range of both Criminal cases and Civil cases. A criminal case, in the federal courts, is one in which a defendant is tried for committing some action that Congress has declared by law to be a federal crime. A federal civil case involves some noncriminal matter, such as a dispute over the terms of a contract or a claim of patent infringement. The United States is always a party to a federal criminal case, as the prosecutor. Most civil cases involve private parties; but here, too, the United States may be a litigant, as either plaintiff or defendant.

The district courts try criminal cases ranging from bank robbery and mail fraud to counterfeiting and tax evasion. They hear civil cases arising under bankruptcy, postal, tax, public lands, civil rights, and other laws of the United States. The district courts are the only federal courts that regularly use grand juries to indict defendants and petit juries to try defendants.

Most of the decisions made in the 94 federal district courts are final. However, some cases are appealed to the court of appeals in that judicial circuit or, in a few instances, directly to the Supreme Court.

U.S. District Court Judges Salaries

Note: for information about other judges salaries, click here.

Period 1789-1891

District Judge salaries varied by State in 1789-1891. (See salaries of U.S. District Court Judges by State in 1789-1891 below)

  • Year: 1789 : The Minimum salary was $800 ; the Maximum salary was $1,800
  • Year: 1812 : The Minimum salary was $800 ; the Maximum salary was $3,000
  • Year: 1816 : The Minimum salary was $800 ; the Maximum salary was $3,100
  • Year: 1817 : The Minimum salary was $800 ; the Maximum salary was $3,000
  • Year: 1830 : The Minimum salary was $1,200 ; the Maximum salary was $3,500
  • Year: 1844 : The Minimum salary was $1,200 ; the Maximum salary was $3,800
  • Year: 1847 : The Minimum salary was $1,200 ; the Maximum salary was $3,500
  • Year: 1852 : The Minimum salary was $1,200 ; the Maximum salary was $5,000
  • Year: 1854 : The Minimum salary was $1,200 ; the Maximum salary was $3,500
  • Year: 1860 : The Minimum salary was $1,200 ; the Maximum salary was $6,000
  • Year: 1862 : The Minimum salary was $1,200 ; the Maximum salary was $3,500
  • Year: 1866 : The Minimum salary was $1,200 ; the Maximum salary was $4,500
  • Year: 1867 : The Minimum salary was $3,500 ; the Maximum salary was $5,000

Salaries of U.S. District Court Judges by State, 1789-1891

Salaries in Alabama

  • Effective April 21, 1820 the Annual Salary was: $1,500
  • Effective May 29, 1830 the Annual Salary was: $2,500
  • Effective June 17, 1844 the Annual Salary was: $2,500 (Note: $800 in additional compensation for five years for the adjustment of land claims; superseded by 1847 statute)
  • Effective March 3, 1847 the Annual Salary was: $2,500 (Note: $200 in additional compensation for one year for the adjustment of land claims)
  • Effective March 2, 1867 the Annual Salary was: $3,500

Salaries in Arkansas

  • Effective June 15, 1836 the Annual Salary was: $2,000
  • Effective June 17, 1844 the Annual Salary was: $2,000 (Note: $800 in additional compensation for five years for the adjustment of land claims; superseded by 1847 statute)
  • Effective March 3, 1847 the Annual Salary was: $2,000 (Note: $200 in additional compensation for one year for the adjustment of land claims)

Salaries in California

  • Effective September 28, 1850 the Annual Salary was: $3,500 (Note: Northern District)
  • Effective September 28, 1850 the Annual Salary was: $2,800 (Note: Southern District)
  • Effective August 31, 1852 the Annual Salary was: $5,000 (Note: To the judge of the Northern District for holding court in both districts).
  • Effective February 26, 1854 the Annual Salary was: $3,500 (Note: Northern District)
  • Effective June 14, 1860 the Annual Salary was: $6,000 (Note: Northern District (this salary, which included additional compensation for the handling of land claims, was to last no more than two years)
  • Effective June 14, 1860 the Annual Salary was: $3,500 (Note: Southern District (this salary, which included additional compensation for the handling of land claims, was to last no more than two years)
  • Effective June 14, 1862 the Annual Salary was: $3,500 (Note: Northern District)
  • Effective March 2, 1867 the Annual Salary was: $5,000 (Note: As a single district)
  • Effective August 5, 1886 the Annual Salary was: $5,000 (Note: Northern District)
  • Effective August 5, 1886 the Annual Salary was: $4,000 (Note: Southern District)

Salaries in Colorado

  • Effective June 22, 1876 the Annual Salary was: $3,500

Salaries in Connecticut

  • Effective September 23, 1789 the Annual Salary was: $1,000
  • Effective May 29, 1830 the Annual Salary was: $1,500

Salaries in Delaware

  • Effective September 23, 1789 the Annual Salary was: $800
  • Effective January 1, 1795 the Annual Salary was: $1,000
  • Effective March 3, 1801 the Annual Salary was: $1,200

Salaries in Florida

  • Effective March 3, 1845 the Annual Salary was: $2,000

Salaries in Georgia

  • Effective September 23, 1789 the Annual Salary was: $1,500

Salaries in Idaho

  • Effective July 3, 1890 the Annual Salary was: $3,500

Salaries in Illinois

  • Effective March 3, 1819 the Annual Salary was: $1,000
  • Effective March 3, 1845 the Annual Salary was: $1,500
  • Effective February 13, 1855 the Annual Salary was: $2,500
  • Effective March 3, 1857 the Annual Salary was: $3,500 (Note: Northern District)
  • Effective March 3, 1857 the Annual Salary was: $2,500 (Note: Southern District)
  • Effective March 2, 1867 the Annual Salary was: $4,000 (Note: Northern District)
  • Effective March 2, 1867 the Annual Salary was: $3,500 (Note: Southern District)

Salaries in Indiana

  • Effective March 3, 1817 the Annual Salary was: $1,000

Salaries in Iowa

  • Effective December 28, 1845 the Annual Salary was: $1,500

Salaries in Kansas

  • Effective January 29, 1861 the Annual Salary was: $1,500

Salaries in Kentucky

  • Effective February 13, 1801 the Annual Salary was: $1,500

Salaries in Louisiana

  • Effective April 8, 1812 the Annual Salary was: $3,000
  • Effective June 17, 1844 the Annual Salary was: $3,000 (Note: $800 in additional compensation for five years for the adjustment of land claims; superseded by 1847 statute)
  • Effective March 3, 1847 the Annual Salary was: $3,000 (Note: $200 in additional compensation for one year for the adjustment of land claims)
  • Effective March 3, 1849 the Annual Salary was: $3,000 (Note: Eastern District)
  • Effective March 3, 1849 the Annual Salary was: $2,000 (Note: Western District)
  • Effective July 26, 1866 the Annual Salary was: $4,500 (Note: As a single district)
  • Effective March 3, 1881 the Annual Salary was: $3,500 (Note: Western District)
  • Effective March 3, 1881 the Annual Salary was: $4,500 (Note: Eastern District)

Salaries in Maine

  • Effective May 29, 1830 the Annual Salary was: $1,800

Salaries in Maryland

  • Effective March 3, 1801 the Annual Salary was: $1,600
  • Effective May 29, 1830 the Annual Salary was: $2,000
  • Effective March 2, 1867 the Annual Salary was: $4,000

Salaries in Massachusetts

  • Effective September 23, 1789 the Annual Salary was: $1,200

Salaries in Michigan

  • Effective July 1, 1836 the Annual Salary was: $1,500
  • Effective March 3, 1857 the Annual Salary was: $3,000

Salaries in Minnesota

  • Effective May 11, 1858 the Annual Salary was: $1,500

Salaries in Mississippi

  • Effective April 3, 1818 the Annual Salary was: $2,000

Salaries in Missouri

  • Effective March 16, 1822 the Annual Salary was: $1,200
  • Effective May 26, 1824 the Annual Salary was: $1,200 (Note: $800 per year in additional compensation to hear land claims for an unspecified period of time)
  • Effective June 17, 1844 the Annual Salary was: $1,200 (Note: $800 in additional compensation for five years for the adjustment of land claims; superseded by 1847 statute)
  • Effective March 3, 1847 the Annual Salary was: $1,500 (Note: $200 in additional compensation for one year for the adjustment of land claims)
  • Effective March 3, 1857 the Annual Salary was: $3,000 (Note: Eastern District)
  • Effective March 3, 1857 the Annual Salary was: $1,500 (Note: Western District)

Salaries in Montana

  • Effective November 8, 1889 the Annual Salary was: $3,500

Salaries in Nebraska

  • Effective March 25, 1867 the Annual Salary was: $3,500

Salaries in Nevada

  • Effective February 27, 1865 the Annual Salary was: $3,500

Salaries in New Hampshire

  • Effective September 23, 1789 the Annual Salary was: $1,000
  • Effective March 2, 1867 the Annual Salary was: $3,500

Salaries in New Jersey

  • Effective September 23, 1789 the Annual Salary was: $1,000
  • Effective March 3, 1801 the Annual Salary was: $1,200
  • Effective May 29, 1830 the Annual Salary was: $1,500
  • Effective March 2, 1867 the Annual Salary was: $4,000

Salaries in New York

  • Effective April 27, 1816 the Annual Salary was: $3,100 (Note: Southern District: $1,500 in additional compensation for the judge in the southern district to hold court in N.D.NY)
  • Effective March 3, 1817 the Annual Salary was: $2,600 (Note: Southern District: $1,000 in additional compensation for one year to hold court in N.D.NY)
  • Effective March 3, 1818 the Annual Salary was: $1,600
  • Effective May 29, 1830 the Annual Salary was: $3,500 (Note: Southern District)
  • Effective May 29, 1830 the Annual Salary was: $2,000 (Note: Northern District)
  • Effective July 4, 1864 the Annual Salary was: $3,500
  • Effective March 5, 1872 the Annual Salary was: $4,000 (Note: $10/day to any visiting district judge for holding sessions of the district or circuit court in S.D.NY)
  • Effective February 7, 1873 the Annual Salary was: $4,000 (Note: $300, per term, in additional compensation to the judge of the Eastern District for sitting in the circuit court in S.D.NY)

Salaries in North Carolina

  • Effective June 4, 1790 the Annual Salary was: $1,500

Salaries in North Dakota

  • Effective November 2, 1889 the Annual Salary was: $3,500

Salaries in Ohio

  • Effective February 19, 1803 the Annual Salary was: $1,000
  • Effective March 2, 1867 the Annual Salary was: $4,000 (Note: Southern District)
  • Effective March 2, 1867 the Annual Salary was: $3,500 (Note: Northern District)

Salaries in Oregon

  • Effective March 3, 1859 the Annual Salary was: $2,500
  • Effective June 22, 1860 the Annual Salary was: $3,000

Salaries in Pennsylvania

  • Effective September 23, 1789 the Annual Salary was: $1,600
  • Effective May 29, 1830 the Annual Salary was: $2,500 (Note: Eastern District)
  • Effective May 29, 1830 the Annual Salary was: $1,800 (Note: Western District)

Salaries in Rhode Island

  • Effective June 23, 1790 the Annual Salary was: $800

Salaries in South Carolina

  • Effective September 23, 1789 the Annual Salary was: $1,800

Salaries in South Dakota

  • Effective November 2, 1889 the Annual Salary was: $3,500

Salaries in Tennessee

  • Effective January 31, 1797 the Annual Salary was: $800

Salaries in Texas

  • Effective December 29, 1845 the Annual Salary was: $2,000

Salaries in Vermont

  • Effective March 3, 1791 the Annual Salary was: $800
  • Effective May 29, 1830 the Annual Salary was: $1,200

Salaries in Virginia

  • Effective February 4, 1819 the Annual Salary was: $1,800 (Note: Eastern District)
  • Effective February 4, 1819 the Annual Salary was: $1,600 (Note: Western District)
  • Effective May 20, 1826 the Annual Salary was: $1,600 (Note: $8/day in additional compensation to the judge of the W.D.VA to hear a case in the W.D.PA in which that judge had been counsel prior to his appointment to the bench)

Salaries in Washington

  • Effective November 11, 1889 the Annual Salary was: $3,500

Salaries in West Virginia

  • Effective June 11, 1864 the Annual Salary was: $1,600

Salaries in Wisconsin

  • Effective August 6, 1846 the Annual Salary was: $1,500
  • Effective March 3, 1857 the Annual Salary was: $2,500

Salaries in Wyoming

  • Effective July 10, 1890 the Annual Salary was: $3,500

Uniform Salaries of U.S. District Court Judges from 1891

In 1891 salaries for district court judges were made uniform, as follow:

  • Effective February 24, 1891 , the annual salary was: $5,000
  • Effective March 1, 1903 , the annual salary was: $6,000
  • Effective March 1, 1919 , the annual salary was: $7,500
  • Effective January 1, 1927 , the annual salary was: $10,000
  • Effective August 1, 1946 , the annual salary was: $15,000
  • Effective March 1, 1955 , the annual salary was: $22,500
  • Effective July 1, 1964 , the annual salary was: $30,000
  • Effective March 1, 1969 , the annual salary was: $40,000
  • Effective October 1, 1975 , the annual salary was: $42,000
  • Effective October 1, 1976 , the annual salary was: $44,000
  • Effective March 1, 1977 , the annual salary was: $54,500
  • Effective October 1, 1979 , the annual salary was: $61,500
  • Effective October 1, 1980 , the annual salary was: $67,100
  • Effective October 1, 1981 , the annual salary was: $70,300
  • Effective October 1, 1982 , the annual salary was: $73,100
  • Effective January 1, 1984 , the annual salary was: $76,000
  • Effective January 1, 1985 , the annual salary was: $78,700
  • Effective January 1, 1987 , the annual salary was: $81,100
  • Effective March 1, 1987 , the annual salary was: $89,500
  • Effective February 1, 1990 , the annual salary was: $96,600
  • Effective January 1, 1991 , the annual salary was: $125,100
  • Effective January 1, 1992 , the annual salary was: $129,500
  • Effective January 1, 1993 , the annual salary was: $133,600
  • Effective January 1, 1998 , the annual salary was: $136,700
  • Effective January 1, 2000 , the annual salary was: $141,300
  • Effective January 1, 2001 , the annual salary was: $145,100
  • Effective January 1, 2002 , the annual salary was: $150,000
  • Effective January 1, 2003 , the annual salary was: $154,700
  • Effective January 1, 2004 , the annual salary was: $158,100
  • Effective January 1, 2005 , the annual salary was: $162,100
  • Effective January 1, 2006 , the annual salary was: $165,200
  • Effective January 1, 2008 , the annual salary was: $169,300
  • Effective January 1, 2009 , the annual salary was: $174,000
  • Effective January 1, 2014 , the annual salary was: $199,100
  • Effective January 1, 2015 , the annual salary was: $201,100
  • Effective January 1, 2016 , the annual salary was: $203,100

Resources

Further Reading

District Court Judges: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about District Court Judges. This part provides references, in relation to District Court Judges, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about District Court Judges by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about District Court Judges and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about District Court Judges or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to District Court Judges and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting District Court Judges. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about District Court Judges should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to District Court Judges when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

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