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It’s official. The nameplate beside Judge David Sentelle’s door buzzer now reads “ Chief Judge David Sentelle.” A few weeks ago, Judge Douglas Ginsburg announced he would step down as chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on Feb. 11, just one day before Sentelle’s 65th birthday. Federal rules prohibit a judge of 65 or older from heading the court, but if he’s named chief the day before his 65th birthday, he can serve out a full seven-year term. And so it was that Ginsburg cut his term short by a few months, allowing Sentelle to take over the court’s administrative duties. (Here’s our story on the new chief from this week’s paper.) The D.C. Circuit, as we’ve reported, avoids ostentatious torch-passing ceremonies that command the attendance of current and former Supreme Court justices. “We keep it low-key,” said Annette Huskey, the judge’s secretary. But that’s not to say there wasn’t a celebration in the new chief’s chambers. On a table in Huskey’s office today was a half-eaten birthday/new-chief cake.
Joe Palazzolo can be contacted at [email protected]. This story originally appeared on The Blog of Legal Times.

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