Chief Judge William Wilkins, who has presided over the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the past four years, sent President George W. Bush a letter last week announcing his plans to step down in June. Though Wilkins will still hear cases as a senior judge, his quasi-retirement creates a fourth official vacancy on the 15-member bench -- a vacancy rate that's particularly striking for a Republican administration, given the 4th Circuit's reputation as one of the nation's most stalwart conservative courts.
The President's 'Lost Opportunity' for the 4th Circuit
December 6, 2006