University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, B.A., 1960
University of Alabama School of Law, LL.B., 1961
Judge Higginbotham was born in McCalla, Alabama and served in the United States Air Force JAG Corps and practiced law in Dallas before being appointed to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas by President Gerald Ford in 1975. When appointed, he was the youngest sitting federal judge. In 1982, President Ronald Reagan appointed him to the Fifth Circuit.
For many years, Judge Higginbotham was a faculty member at the Federal Judicial Center and, as an appointee of Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, the chairman of the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules. He served as president of the American Inns of Court Foundation, and in 1996 the Dallas chapter of that organization renamed itself after him. He has been a leading proponent and former chairman of The Center for American and International Law, a Dallas-based organization which aims to train foreign and domestic lawyers and police officers, a Fellow of the American Bar Association, chairman of its Appellate Judges Conference, member of the Board of Editors of the ABA Journal, and advisor to the National Center for State Courts on its study of habeas corpus. He is also a lifetime member of the American Law Institute and a member of the Board of Overseers, Institute of Civil Justice, RAND Corporation.
Judge Higginbotham has published a number of articles in law reviews and newspapers. He is also a frequent speaker on various legal topics, particularly the death penalty and the decline of jury trials.
Judge Higginbotham is teaching Constitutional Law II in Spring 2012.