Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater

2018 American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the Fifth Circuit

Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater has been recognized with the prestigious 2018 American Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the Fifth Circuit. He will be presented with the award by Chief Judge Carl E. Stewart and BG Malinda E. Dunn U.S. Army (Ret.) at the Fifth Circuit Annual Judicial Conference in Austin, Texas, in May.

Fitzwater is a U.S. District Judge and former chief judge for the Northern District of Texas. He was nominated to the federal bench by President Ronald Reagan in 1986, at the age of 32, making him the youngest federal judge in the United States at that time. He served by appointment of the Chief Justice of the United States as Chair of the Advisory Committee on Evidence Rules of the Judicial Conference of the United States from 2010 to 2014, and from 2000 to 2007 as a member of the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure.

Fitzwater is a Master of the Bench member of the Patrick E. Higginbotham American Inn of Court, and was previously a member of the William “Mac” Taylor, Jr., American Inn of Court. He has been a member of the District Judges Association of the Fifth Circuit since 1986, serving in several officer positions. He is a Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation.

Before his appointment to the federal bench, he served from 1982 to 1986 as judge of the 298th Judicial District Court of Dallas County, TX. He practiced law with Vinson & Elkins in Houston, and with Rain Harrell Emery Young & Doke in Dallas.

A 1976 graduate of Baylor Law School, Fitzwater was an associate editor of the Baylor Law Review and a member of the academic honor society and National Order of Barristers. He was a member of the champion moot court and mock trial competition teams. In 2007, he received the Price Daniel Distinguished Public Service Award from the Baylor University Alumni Association.