The Alabama Middle District has two types of judges.
United States District Court judges (known as Article III Judges, or District Judges) are nominated by the President and confirmed by the United States Senate, as stated in the Constitution. Article III of the Constitution also states that these judicial officers are appointed for a life term.
The second type of judge is a United States Magistrate Judge. A United States Magistrate Judge is a judicial officer of the district court, and upon the recommendation of a merit selection committee, is appointed by majority vote of the active district judges of the court to exercise jurisdiction over matters assigned by statute as well as those delegated by the district judges. Full-time magistrate judges serve for a renewable term of eight years and part-time magistrate judges for a renewable term of four years.
The Article III Judges for the United States District Court Middle District of Alabama are as follows:
- Chief Judge W. Keith Watkins
- Judge Emily C. Marks
- Senior Judge W. Harold Albritton, III
- Senior Judge Myron H. Thompson
The Magistrate Judges for the United States District Court Middle District of Alabama are as follows:
- Chief Magistrate Judge Wallace Capel, Jr.
- Magistrate Judge David A. Baker
- Magistrate Judge Gray M. Borden
- Magistrate Judge Charles S. Coody
- Magistrate Judge Susan Russ Walker
With rising caseloads and limits on judicial resources, the judiciary has managed its resources through interdistrict collaboration and assistance. One manner in which this occurs is the use of visiting judges. These judges are Article III judges, and via designation of the Chief Judge for the Alabama Middle District, they are appointed to hear cases in our court. These judges, who may serve in less burdened districts, assist in a variety of ways.
The Frank M. Johnson Jr. Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse at One Church Street in Montgomery, Alabama, has five district courtrooms. Each of these courtrooms features an arched niche containing a hand-painted medallion behind the judge’s bench.
Each medallion is unique and reflects one of the five constitutional purposes, and the Latin phrase on each is taken from the five entrances of the Johnson building.
Promote the general welfare. The Latin phrase pro bono public means, “for the public’s good.”
Provide for the common defense. The Latin phrase regnant populi means, “the people shall rule.”
Establish justice. The Latin phrase festina lente means, “make haste slowly.”
Ensure domestic tranquility. The Latin phrase favete linguis means, “hold your tongue.”
Secure the blessings of liberty. The Latin phrase macte virtute means, “well done.”
The Frank M. Johnson, Jr. U.S. Courthouse Complex is staffed daily and open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., except for legal holidays. The U.S.General Services Administration website has more information about the architecture and history of the FMJ complex.
The United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama also has two other courthouses. The Federal Building & U.S. Courthouse at 100 West Troy Street, Dothan, Alabama, and the G.W. Andrews Federal Building & U.S. Courthouse at 701 Avenue A in Opelika, Alabama, are open when court is in session.