History of the court
This court was created by the Evarts Act on June 16, 1891, which moved the circuit judges and appellate jurisdiction from the Circuit Courts of the Fifth Circuit to this court. At the time of its creation, the Fifth Circuit covered Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas.
On June 25, 1948, the Panama Canal Zone was added to the Fifth Circuit by 62 Stat. 870.
On October 1, 1981, under 96–452, the Fifth Circuit was split: Alabama, Georgia, and Florida were moved to the new Eleventh Circuit.
On March 31, 1982, the Fifth Circuit lost jurisdiction over the Panama Canal Zone, which was transferred to Panamanian control.
The Fifth Circuit Four
During the late 1950s, Chief Judge Elbert Tuttle and three of his colleagues (John Minor Wisdom, John Brown, and Richard Rives) became known as the "Fifth Circuit Four", or simply "The Four", for decisions crucial in advancing the civil rights of African Americans. In this, they were usually opposed by their fellow Fifth Circuit Judge, Benjamin F. Cameron of Mississippi, until his death in 1964.
Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans on August 29, 2005, devastating the city and slightly damaging the John Minor Wisdom Courthouse. All deadlines concerning filings were extended. The court temporarily relocated its administrative operations to Houston, but has since returned to normal operations in New Orleans.