After more than a quarter-century on the bench, U.S. District Judge Dudley H. Bowen Jr. will take senior status next summer, opening a position for a new federal judge.
Although the senior status comes with Judge Bowen's 65th birthday, the judge said he has no intention of abandoning the federal courthouse.
"I don't plan to go anywhere," he said Thursday. Instead of retirement, the judge will preside over federal courts in the Southern District of Georgia.
His decision to take senior status opens the door for someone else to be appointed to the federal bench. It will be the first such opening in 12 years.
In a joint statement Thursday, U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson said they will begin accepting applications for the vacancy.
The president nominates federal judges to lifetime appointments that are confirmed by the Senate. Historically, the president has asked home senators from his own party - or the highest-ranking state politician of his party when a senator isn't available - to suggest nominees for judicial vacancies.
Judge Bowen was nominated by President Carter in July 1979.
The judge said he hopes the senators and the president will be able to work through the process and have a nomination ready when he takes senior status June 25.
The Southern District of Georgia lacks judges from a younger generation.
"I'm our youngest judge," Judge Bowen said.
Other judges in the Southern Circuit are Judge Anthony A. Alaimo, 85, who was appointed in December 1971 and assumed senior status in July 1991; Chief Judge William T. Moore Jr., 65, who was appointed in July 1994; and Judge Berry Avant Edenfield, 71, who was appointed in 1978.
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