Elections have consequences for the federal bench

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OBAMA REPLACEMENT COMING: For Judge Susan Webber Carter.
  • OBAMA REPLACEMENT COMING: For Judge Susan Webber Carter.

OBAMA REPLACEMENT COMING: For Judge Susan Webber Carter.
  • OBAMA REPLACEMENT COMING: For Judge Susan Webber Carter.
President Barack Obama's re-election, as many have noted, has profound importance when it comes to federal judicial appointments. Most expect him to have further opportunities to fill vacancies on the U.S. Supreme Court.

But that power hits much closer to home, with appointments to federal district and circuit court of appeals seats.

Example: Federal Judge Susan Webber Carter has announced she'll take senior status, or federal judicial retirement, in August. Under senior status, a judge may or may not choose to continue to accept cases, but draw full pay. Carter was a Republican appointee. Her successor will be the nominee of Obama, guided by U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor.

There's been talk among lawyers that another Republican appointee, Western District Judge Jimm Larry Hendren, 72, may also take senior status. He hasn't filed for it, however. Given his Republican homeland (Bentonville) and the election outcome, he might stay around.

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