Republican Presidents have appointed a greater percentage of judges to the Eighth Circuit (ten of eleven active judges, or 91%) than any other Court of Appeals in the United States as of 2018.[original research?]
Chief judges have administrative responsibilities with respect to their circuits, and preside over any panel on which they serve unless the circuit justice (i.e., the
Supreme Court justice responsible for the circuit) is also on the panel. Unlike the Supreme Court, where one justice is specifically nominated to be chief, the office of chief judge rotates among the circuit 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
The court has had thirteen seats for active judges. Two of these seats were reassigned to the
United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, leaving a eleven-seat court. The seats are numbered in the order in which they were filled. Judges who retire into
senior status remain on the bench but leave their seat vacant. That seat is filled by the next circuit judge appointed by the
^Carland did not have a permanent seat on this court. Instead, he was appointed to the ill-fated
United States Commerce Court in 1911 by
William Howard Taft. Aside from their duties on the Commerce Court, the judges of the Commerce Court also acted as at-large appellate judges, able to be assigned by the
Chief Justice of the United States to whichever circuit most needed help. Carland was assigned to the Eighth Circuit upon his commission.