United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
(S.D.N.Y.)
USDCSDNY.png
LocationDaniel Patrick Moynihan U.S. Courthouse
More locations
Appeals toSecond Circuit
EstablishedApril 9, 1814
Judges28
Chief JudgeColleen McMahon
Officers of the court
U.S. AttorneyGeoffrey Berman
nysd.uscourts.gov

The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (in case citations, S.D.N.Y.) is a federal district court whose geographic jurisdiction encompasses the counties of New York (Manhattan), Bronx, Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Orange, Dutchess, and Sullivan in the state of New York. Appeals from the Southern District of New York are taken to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (except for patent claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit).

Because it covers Manhattan, the Southern District of New York has long been one of the most active and influential federal district courts in the United States.[1] The district has had several prominent judges on its bench, including Learned Hand, Michael Mukasey, and Sonia Sotomayor, and many of the U.S. Attorneys for the district have been prominent American legal and political figures, such as Elihu Root, Henry L. Stimson, Robert Morgenthau, Rudy Giuliani, James Comey, and Preet Bharara.[2]

Jurisdiction

The United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. The current United States Attorney is Geoffrey Berman since January 5, 2018. The court sits in the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse and Daniel Patrick Moynihan United States Courthouse, both in Manhattan, and in the Charles L. Brieant Federal Building and Courthouse in White Plains.

History

The United States District Court for the District of New York was one of the original 13 courts established by the Judiciary Act of 1789, 1 Stat. 73, on September 24, 1789. It first sat at the old Merchants Exchange on Broad Street in November 1789, the first federal court to do so.[3][4][5] The Act of April 9, 1814, 3 Stat. 120, divided the District of New York into Northern and Southern Districts.[4][5] The subdivision of the district was reportedly instigated by Matthias Burnett Tallmadge, out of antipathy for fellow district judge William P. Van Ness.[6] These Districts were later further subdivided with the creation of Eastern District on February 25, 1865 by 13 Stat. 438,[5] and the Western District on May 12, 1900, by 31 Stat. 175.[5]

For the first hundred years of its existence, the case load of the District was dominated first by admiralty cases, and then by a mix of admiralty and bankruptcy cases.[6] The primary responsibility for hearing bankruptcy cases has since been transferred to the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, with the District Court only reviewing cases already decided by a bankruptcy judge.

Since its creation, the Southern District of New York has had 149 judges, more than any other District. Twenty judges from the Southern District of New York have been elevated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second CircuitSamuel Blatchford, Charles Merrill Hough, Learned Hand, Julius Marshuetz Mayer, Augustus Noble Hand, Martin Thomas Manton, Robert P. Patterson, Harold Medina, Irving Kaufman, Wilfred Feinberg, Walter R. Mansfield, Murray Gurfein, Lawrence W. Pierce, Pierre N. Leval, John M. Walker Jr., Sonia Sotomayor, Denny Chin, Barrington Daniels Parker Jr., Gerard E. Lynch, and Richard J. Sullivan. Two judges, Samuel Blatchford and Sonia Sotomayor, were elevated from the Southern District of New York to serve as Circuit Judge for the Second Circuit and were later elevated to the Supreme Court of the United States. The longest serving judge, David Norton Edelstein, served as an active judge for 43 years to the day, and in senior status for an additional six years.

Judges of the court have gone on to other high governmental positions. Robert P. Patterson Sr. served as Under Secretary of War under President Franklin Roosevelt and the Secretary of War under President Harry S. Truman. Louis Freeh served as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation from September 1993 to June 2001. Michael Mukasey served as the 81st United States Attorney General under President George W. Bush.

Notable cases