Block on Trump's Asylum Ban Upheld by Supreme Court
Word on the street is, this August, Judge R. Guy Cole, Jr. will succeed current-Chief Judge Alice Batchelder.
Why? The Sixth Circuit Appellate Blog doesn't provide a reason, but we suspect that it has something to do with the ageist rules of succession for chief judges of circuit courts, set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 45.
How is the chief chosen? Here are the prerequisites:
If no one fits the bill, there is a complicated alternative line of succession:
The ageism doesn't stop at the selection process. The seat rotates upon the expiration of the current seat-holder's term, which ends either:
Why is the chief changing in August? Happy Birthday, Judge Batchelder! She turns 70 on July 15, per Wikipedia.
The age limits are a bit ridiculous, aren't they? For a bit of context, note that five of the nine judges on the Supreme Court would be too old to serve as chief, and four would have "aged out" out of the seat.
Does anyone think Ginsburg, Breyer, Kennedy, Scalia, and Thomas (and Alito is getting close) are all incapable of serving as a chief judge?
One might also look at the proposals in seventeen states to raise the mandatory retirement age for judges, and the more than two dozen states that have no limit, to see that age limits are passé. Eighty is the new sixty, and sixty-five is barely middle-aged.
Besides, these are grown men and women. If the thought is that older judges should be spared the administrative hassles of being chief, isn't that best left to the judges themselves? They can decline the job, can't they?
Batchelder's year-early replacement, Judge Cole, is an alumni of Yale Law School and Tufts University. After graduating, he alternated between private practice and the Department of Justice before taking the bench on the U.S. Bankruptcy Court from 1987 to 1993.
He returned to private practice for about two years before his appointment, by President Bill Clinton, to the Sixth Circuit in 1995. He was confirmed unanimously by a Republican-controlled Senate.
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