U.S. Circuit Judge Christopher Droney of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit plans to take senior status at the end of June, providing President Donald Trump with yet another appointment opportunity, the judge confirmed to the New York Law Journal Monday.
The Hartford-based appellate judge said the decision was driven by a desire to spend more time with his family, including grandchildren. He said while he’ll be taking senior status, he expected to remain an active member of the court and to continue to participate fully.
“It’s been a privilege for me to be on the court and to learn from so many of my amazing colleagues,” Droney said.
Droney’s move to senior status was first reported by the Hartford Courant.
Droney’s decision to take senior status will provide Trump with another opportunity to shape the federal appellate court in Manhattan. Droney is now the second appellate judge this year to announce the move to senior status, following the announcement by Circuit Judge Dennis Jacobs that he will transition to senior status at the end of May.
Former President Barack Obama nominated the Connecticut native Droney to the Second Circuit in May 2011. He previously served as the Connecticut U.S. attorney shortly after Bill Clinton took office as president, and was nominated by the same to the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut in 1997.
Droney served on the federal bench in Connecticut until his nomination to the Second Circuit. He is currently the second most junior judge on the circuit. Only Circuit Judge Richard Sullivan, a Trump nominee who joined the court in October 2018, has served on the Manhattan federal court more recently.
In a statement, Chief Judge Robert Katzmann praised Droney.
“Judge Droney is a splendid jurist and colleague; we look forward to his continuing service on the Court,” Katzmann said.
The position vacated by Droney will present Trump with his fourth pick for the Second Circuit. Two nominations for previous vacancies—U.S. District Judge Joseph Frank Bianco of the Eastern District of New York and Consovoy McCarthy Park name attorney Michael Park—await a vote by the full Senate, after being sent up from the Senate Judiciary Committee in March along strictly partisan lines.
Partisan lines are also likely to shift in the circuit itself, as a replacement of Droney by a Republican president will mean a majority of the active members of the appellate court were nominated Republicans. Currently, six of the seated active judges were nominated by Democrats, while only three—Circuit Judges Peter Hall, Debra Ann Livingston, and Sullivan—are the lone nominees during Republican administrations.
Should Trump get all four of his potential picks seated, it would bring the total under Republicans to seven. Any further departures would only increase the number.