The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent

Democratic-Appointed Judges Begin to Take Senior Status

The letters to the President began on January 20, 2021.


Prior to the inauguration, I wrote about the prospects of Democratic-appointed federal judges taking senior status. Now, barely a week after the inauguration, the first batch of senior status notifications have trickled in.

Ninety minutes after the inauguration, Judge Victoria Roberts (EDMI) wrote to President Biden that she will take senior status on February 24. According to my calculations, Judge Roberts became eligible for senior status in 2016 when she turned 65 and accumulated 18 years of service. That date was probably too late for President Obama to replace her. But now, the Clinton appointee can be replaced by President Biden.

On January 21, Judge William Alsup (NDCA) wrote to President Biden. He said "I feel it is time for me to 'go senior.'" And he assumed senior status immediately. Why is now the right time? According to my calculations, Judge Alsup became eligible for senior status in 2012 when he turned 67, and accumulated 13 years of service. Judge Alsup hung on for the entirety of the second Obama administration, and all of the Trump administration. (I was very critical of Judge Alsup's DACA ruling back in 2018).

I'm sure there are others. I'm keeping track for a forthcoming paper.