Chief Judge Lavenski Smith, Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals

Chief Judge Lavenski Smith 

Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals

Lavenski R. “Vence” Smith was born in October 1958 in Hope, Arkansas. He earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Arkansas and received his Juris Doctor from the University of Arkansas School of Law. He worked in both private practice and public service. 

Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee appointed Smith to be an Associate Justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court, where he was also Commissioner on the Arkansas Public Service Commission. He served as an assistant professor at John Brown University. He was Executive Director at the Rutherford Institute, a nonprofit Christian public interest law firm. 

President George W. Bush nominated Smith to a seat on the bench of the Eight Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. He was confirmed by a voice vote in the Senate and received his commission in July 2002. He became chief judge in March 2017. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts named Smith to serve as the chair of the Judicial Conference’s executive committee, effective in October 2022. 

In the News…

It has been 30 years since the last comprehensive expansion of permanent federal judgeships, and the Judicial Conference is now asking Congress to add 68 new permanent federal district judge positions and convert seven temporary ones to permanent. They are also seeking two appeals court judgeships. 

“There’s a need to have additional judgeships… so the weighted average of cases that they’re hearing remains manageable and provides the best access to efficient justice for people all across the country,” Chief Circuit Judge Lavenski R. Smith, the chairman of the conference’s executive committee, said. 

In an accompanying press release, the conference noted that, in 17 of the 50 courts that make up the conference, on average, more than 500 cases were assigned per judge. 

“In eight of these courts, weighted filings exceeded 600 per judgeship, and were greater than 700 per judgeship in three,” the Judicial Conference stated. 

Contact this Leader…

Did you pray for Judge Smith today? You can let him know at:

The Honorable Lavenski R. Smith, Chief Judge
Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals 
Thomas F. Eagleton Courthouse 
111 South 10th Street 
St. Louis, MO 63102 


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