The 8th Circuit covers Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. It has eleven seats, none of which is vacant. Ten judges are male and one is female. One is African American.
The states in the 8th Circuit receive an average grade of D- regarding reproductive rights. The laws in Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota impose burdensome obstacles to reproductive freedom. While over the years courts have struck down some of these onerous restrictions as unconstitutional, the vast majority remain on the books. It will be up to the judges who sit on the 8th Circuit Court to uphold or deny a woman's reproductive rights as they deliberate on the constitutionality of these restrictive laws.
NCJW thanks the NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation for the use of data contained in the "2005 Report Card on Women’s Reproductive Rights" included in Who Decides? The Status of Women's Reproductive Rights in the United States, 14th edition, 2005 In this publication, NARAL Pro-Choice America assigned each state and the District of Columbia a letter grade based on the nature of reproductive rights laws in 19 categories. These grades were averaged to offer a general overview of the status of reproductive rights in each circuit.
James B. Loken, Chief Judge,
appointed 10/17/90 by President George Bush
Roger L. Wollman,
appointed 7/22/85 by President Ronald Reagan
Morris S. Arnold,
appointed 5/26/92 by President George Bush
Diana E. Murphy,
appointed 10/11/94 by President William Clinton
Kermit E. Bye,
appointed 3/9/00 by President William Clinton
William Jay Riley,
appointed 8/16/01 by President George W. Bush
Michael J. Melloy,
appointed 2/26/02 by President George W. Bush
Lavenski R. Smith,
appointed by President George W. Bush
appointed 9/4/03 by President George W. Bush
appointed 6/5/04 by President George W. Bush
William Duane Benton,
appointed 7/2/04 by President George W. Bush