According to a recent report, federal judges are weaponizing their retirement to put their own selections in their place.
According to Slate, it all began in 2018 when Judge Michael Kanne of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit announced his retirement. But when his former clerk wasn't appointed as the replacement, he withdrew the announcement. Under Joe Biden's administration that has now happened at least three other times.
The report explained there's a kind of appointment quid pro quo afoot with at least three federal judges trying to pick their replacements.
"The most recent incident involves Judge David Hurd of the Northern District of New York. After he had announced his retirement and the president publicly nominated his successor, Hurd wrote to the president that his retirement plans were scotched. Why?" Slate asked. "Because the judge objected that his successor’s office would be located in Albany, New York, rather than Utica."
Federal judges generally get whatever kind of retirement they want, but this appears to be going too far, wrote Richard M. Re.
Instead of bowing to the demands of judges, Re said that President Joe Biden should use it as an opportunity to push for change and hold judges to their retirement announcements by making them binding.
"Not only would it prevent Hurd’s shenanigans from spreading to the highest court in the land, but it could also allow the justices to commit to retire after a fixed term of service," Re explained. "In other words, the justices themselves could create Supreme Court term limits. And doing so might prove attractive, especially if it helps to stave off more intrusive reforms, like court-packing."