A judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit raised eyebrows last week when she told news outlets she was considering taking senior status, and had urged the White House to nominate one of her former law clerks to replace her, if she were to do so.

While Judge Johnnie Rawlinson is not the first judge to make such a request, she may be one of the few to go about it in such a public manner—and ethics experts say the practice of conditioning retirement on the appointment of a particular person is inappropriate.

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