Court Battles

Federal judge changes his mind about stepping down, eliminating vacancy for Biden to fill

A federal judge who announced in August that he would step down from active service has informed the White House he changed his mind, eliminating a vacancy on the bench President Biden could fill.

Robert King, 81, who serves with the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., told Biden he would not be taking senior status after all in a letter obtained by Reuters.

“After careful consideration, I have decided to continue for the foreseeable future in regular active service,” King said in the letter.

King also apologized to the president for the “inconvenience.” Per Reuters, he did not give a reason for reversing his prior decision.

King, who was born in West Virginia, was first nominated to the 15-member circuit court in 1998 by former President Clinton. When he announced that he would be stepping down from active service and taking senior status, it gave Biden an opportunity to nominate a replacement to fill his seat.

Biden has already nominated one judge to the court, Toby Heytens, whom the U.S. Senate confirmed this month. 

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals hears appeals cases from Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

The Hill has reached out to King for comment.

Tags appointments Bill Clinton Court vacancies Joe Biden judges richmond Robert King Toby Heytens Virginia

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