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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Senior Judges and Biden appointments

Donald Trump's in disputable success as President was in filling judicial vacancies (leaving to one side the political disputes over how he had those vacancies, how he filled them, and with whom). He appointed more than 300 judges, including more than 1/4 of the judges on the courts of appeals. And there are not many vacancies for President Biden.

But under the Rule of 80, active judges can take senior status when they are 65 or older and their age + years of service is 80. As the Judicial Nominations Blog reports, more than 80 Carter, Clinton, and Obama appointees are eligible to take senior status, creating a vacancy for Biden to fill.  Judge Victoria Roberts of the E.D. Mich. submitted a letter today announcing her intention to take senior status in February. She may the first of many, especially in the two years that Biden will have a Senate majority.

On that note, check out Marin Levy, The Promise of Senior Judges (Nw. U. L. Rev.), which considers the role of senior judges, including mechanisms for incentivizing judges to take senior status.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on January 20, 2021 at 04:36 PM in Howard Wasserman, Judicial Process, Law and Politics | Permalink


Now Katzmann (CA2) is on the bandwagon.

Après Donald, le senior status déluge?

(Sorry for the incomplete translation, but we all know reyul murikans don't speak no furriner languages. Now pass me some of that freedom toast!)

Posted by: hardreaders | Jan 21, 2021 7:58:52 PM

It's fitting, maybe, given that Judge Roberts presided over one of the travel ban cases.

Even if right-sizing (some might call it ... packing) SCOTUS is off the table for at least the near term, I wonder if Ds might try it for the lower courts in the interim. That seems like it would have lower stakes. Also, no offense, but relative to SCOTUS, I doubt the general public spends much time thinking about the district and circuit courts or would care a great deal if they added some more judges. I recall there was a kerfuffle with Obama and CADC back in 2013, but that didn't actually involve adding more seats.

Posted by: hardreaders | Jan 20, 2021 11:33:41 PM

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