Dubina to hand Eleventh Circuit chief post to Carnes this summer; still not committing on senior status
12:10 pm, January 17th, 2013
Chief Judge Joel Dubina of the U.S Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit will step down as chief on August 1, Dubina told the Daily Report this week.
Dubina, who maintains his primary chambers in Montgomery, Ala., has been chief judge since mid-2009. He said the next chief judge will be Edward Carnes, a Montgomery-based judge who is next in line by seniority.
Court rules allow chief judges to serve up to seven years. “It has been the highlight of my judicial career,” Dubina said of his time as chief. “But there comes a time when you need to turn the reins over to someone else, and I believe that time has come for me.”
Dubina said he was leaning towards taking senior status—a form of semi-retirement in which judges can work a lighter caseload—in August, as well, but he didn’t commit to doing so. “I have not sent a letter to the president yet about senior status, and I have not definitively made up my mind about that,” he said.
The judge became eligible for senior status in October, when he turned 65. But he has said he promised his colleagues he would stay on as chief through this year’s judicial conference, set for May in Savannah. Senior judges cannot be chief.
Taking senior status would create another vacancy on the court for the president to fill. The court already has two vacancies, and Dubina said the pace of filling those vacancies is a factor he is considering in deciding when to take senior status. President Barack Obama recently renominated Atlanta lawyer Jill Pryor for one of the court’s vacancies, created in 2010 by the retirement of Judge Stanley Birch Jr. Obama has yet to name a nominee for the other Georgia-based vacancy, that created when Judge J.L. Edmondson took senior status in July.