The high profile chief judge of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Richard A. Posner, has most recently been in the news because of his mediation of the Justice Department’s antitrust suit against Microsoft and his now-controversial “avalanche” of judicial errors statement in overturning Miriam Santos’ extortion conviction this week. With all the attention, however, little notice has been given to the fact that Judge Posner will be stepping down as chief judge when his 7-year term expires later this year. Judge Posner will be replaced by colleague Judge Joel M. Flaum who, having been born in 1936, just met the requirement that the next chief judge must be under the age of 65 when he assumes the office.
According to Circuit Executive Collins T. Fitzpatrick, Judge Posner is expected to vacate the top judicial post a month before his term officially ends on Sept. 29 so that Judge Flaum can assume his new job during the summer — when court case loads tend to be lightest.