Chief Judge of 11th Circuit Tells President He Won’t Take Senior Status Till 2 Vacancies Filled

February 4th, 2013

Confirm them now!

The chief judge of the federal appeals court based in Atlanta said Monday that he may not take senior status on Aug. 1 if the president and the Senate have not filled two Georgia-based vacancies on the court.

But Dubina said taking senior status “is not a done deal until you tell the president,” an action he has not made yet because of the delay in filling the two Georgia-based seats on the Eleventh Circuit.

Dubina, who was appointed in 1990 and whose seat is based in Alabama, said he didn’t want to leave his colleagues “in the lurch” with only nine active judges.

He recalled early in his appellate career when the court had several vacancies and only nine judges—with about half the caseload of today. “Nine judges is extremely difficult,” he said, noting that the court suspended its rules requiring two Eleventh Circuit judges on each three-judge panel. Instead the court allowed only one Eleventh Circuit judge on a panel, joined by two visiting judges—a solution that risked the consistency of the court’s precedents, he said.

What do you think about this? A Chief Judge holding up his retirement on the President confirming judges? Really, it is the Senate’s failure to confirm these judges. I wonder if this will have any impact on the Senate filibusters?

I should note that Chief Judge Dubina, along with Judge Hull, authored the joint opinion in the 11th Circuit finding that the individual mandate was unconstitutional.

H/T How Appealing