Center for Women in Law

Convening leaders, generating ideas, leading change.

Carolyn Dineen King

Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit

Carolyn Dineen King is a Circuit Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Judge King is a native of Syracuse, New York. She graduated from Smith College summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa in 1959 and from Yale Law School in 1962. Following her graduation from law school, Judge King moved to Houston where she was engaged in the private practice of law, principally with Fulbright & Jaworski, until 1979, focusing primarily on corporate and federal securities law. She was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to the Fifth Circuit in 1979.

Judge King was the Chief Judge of the Fifth Circuit from January 1999 through January 2006. Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist appointed Judge King to be a member of the Executive Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States, which governs the federal court system, in 2000 and to chair that Committee from 2002 through 2005.

Judge King is a member of the Council, and of the Council’s Executive Committee, of The American Law Institute and was an adviser to the Restatement of the Law Third – Torts: Products Liability and to the Transnational Insolvency Project. She has been active in many human services, educational and health-related organizations in Houston and is currently serving as a member of the Board of Trustees of Baylor College of Medicine. Judge King is a recipient of the Smith College Medal, the American Bar Association’s Margaret Brent Award, and the federal judiciary’s highest award, the 2007 Edward J. Devitt Distinguished Service to Justice Award. She has been awarded honorary degrees from Syracuse University and the University of St. Thomas.

Judge King is married to fellow Circuit Judge Thomas M. Reavley. She has three sons and two granddaughters.