As President Joe Biden was being sworn in, one federal judge was breathing a sigh of relief knowing she could retire with a viable replacement. On Wednesday, Jan. 20, U.S. District Judge Victoria Robert submitted her letter of resignation just 90 minutes after Biden was sworn in on Inauguration Day.
"It has been my honor to serve," Roberts wrote to the newly-elected president on Inauguration Day. "With respect, I congratulate you on your election as the 46th President of the United States, and Kamala Harris on her election as Vice President."
However, she is not the only one. According to Huff Post, since Biden's inauguration, a substantial number of federal judges—both Democratic and Republican with lifetime appointments—have submitted letters announcing their intent to resign or partially retire.
While it comes as no surprise that ten federal judges appointed by former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, what is different is that five federal judges appointed by former President George W. Bush are embracing the idea of a Democratic president filing their positions. The publication notes that there is no specific requirement or etiquette regarding federal judges' retirement, Carl Tobias, a University of Richmond law professor with expertise on judicial nominations, noted the unique timing of these judges' departures.
"I think this is less of a custom than for a Supreme Court nominee, where justices really do try to time their departures so the opposite party doesn't get to replace them," said Tobias.
He also highlighted how he believes Trump's behavior and blatant disregard for the will of law likely contributed to federal judges' latest decisions.
"Still, I think Trump skews perspective here," he continued. "I think that Trump was so nasty to federal judges and so counter to the rule of law that he repelled many federal judges. I think for strong Democrats in particular, I could see judges saying, 'No, I'm not going to let him replace me.'"