Robertson, appointed in 1994 to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, informed President George W. Bush this week he is taking senior status effective Dec. 31, a move that creates a third vacancy on the court. Judge Thomas Hogan assumed senior status earlier this year, and Judge Gladys Kessler opted for senior status in 2007.
Robertson will continue to “render substantial judicial assistance as a senior judge,” said Shelly Snook, administrative assistant to Chief Judge Royce Lamberth, in a statement today.
Robertson, 70, says senior status judges benefit the judiciary, which “gets a lot of work out of people who don’t have to do it anymore.” He says most judges opt for senior status when they are eligible. Eligibility is determined by the so-called “rule of 80”—a combination of age and years of service.
Robertson’s election to take senior status—he was eligible two years ago—opens up another spot on the bench for President-elect Barack Obama. Robertson, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton, calls his decision to leave now a “no brainer.” Sure, he hopes to have a little more free time. But the move isn’t full retirement. Not now, at least.