Northern District Chief Judge Vaughn Walker announced Wednesday he will step down as chief judge at the end of the year and that he will leave the court in February.

After two decades on the federal bench, Walker said he wants to return to the private sector. That means if the landmark same-sex marriage case tried before him earlier this year is remanded, it would go to a different judge. The case, in which Walker in a sweeping opinion following a lengthy trial found the state’s gay-marriage ban unconstitutional, is set to be argued in December at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

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