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Judge Anthony Scirica Takes Senior Status, Joins Penn Law Faculty

By Robyn Hagan Cain | Last updated on

Judge Anthony J. Scirica is trading his gavel for a gradebook after 25 years on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

The former chief judge -- who reigned over the Philadelphia-based appellate court from 2003-2010 -- is joining the law school faculty as a Senior Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania.

According to a press release from Penn, 1Ls will soon get the opportunity to learn Civ Pro from a real pro: Judge Scirica is expected to offer a first-year course on civil procedure, in addition to other teaching assignments. He has previously taught complex litigation as an adjunct professor at the law school.

Judge Scirica may be shaking up his routine, but he is by no means severing all ties with the Third Circuit. Scirica will take senior status and continue to hear cases; albeit a lighter load.

Federal law establishes an age and service requirement -- commonly called the "Rule of 80" -- to determine whether a judge may assume senior status. The U.S. Courts website explains, "Beginning at age 65, a judge may retire at his or her current salary or take senior status after performing 15 years of active service as an Article III judge (65+15 = 80). A sliding scale of increasing age and decreasing service results in eligibility for retirement compensation at age 70 with a minimum of 10 years of service (70+10=80)."

Senior judges like Scirica keep the cases flowing through the federal courts by essentially providing volunteer service. They typically handle about 15 percent of the federal courts' annual workload.

While Judge Scirica will still be around to hear cases, his status change will open up another seat on the bench. In January, President Obama re-nominated Judge Patty Shwartz to fill Judge Maryanne Trump Barry's seat. Care to wager a guess as to whom he'll nominate next? Tell us on our Facebook page or on Google+.

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