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Vt. Federal Judge Takes 'Senior Status'

Judge William Sessions, who has served 18 years in the U.S. District Court of Vermont, is leaving full-time work at the court this year, according to a release from Sen. Patrick Leahy’s office thanking Sessions for his service.

Sessions is taking “senior status,” a near-retirement option available to federal judges who are over 65 and have served 15 years or more.  According to a U.S. Courts webpage, senior judges take on a vastly reduced workload, but no reduction in pay. Senior judges handle about 15 percent of the federal courts’ workload annually.

According to Leahy’s release, Vermont’s Congressional delegation will now work with the Vermont Bar Association to search for a replacement, though the appointment of federal judges is ultimately the President’s decision. Once appointed, any nominee must be confirmed by Congress.

“Judicial selection commissions are not required and take some extra effort, but I believe they work well in finding qualified candidates who are grounded by their experience in the community,” Leahy said in the release. “I believe that our commission structure also sets a good example for other states, and I look forward to continuing this important practice to ensure Vermont has a full complement of highly qualified judges on the federal bench.”