A second Georgia judge has announced plans to give up his seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, adding a new element to a nominations game in which Georgia’s U.S. senators have blocked President Barack Obama’s choice to fill the first seat.

Judge J.L. Edmondson last week informed the White House of his plans to take senior status on July 15. That’s one day after he celebrates his 65th birthday and, based on his 26 years of judicial service, becomes eligible to go into the federal judiciary’s version of semi-retirement.

Another Georgia judge, Stanley Birch, retired from the court in August 2010, but a replacement has yet to be confirmed.
Obama in February nominated Jill Pryor to replace Birch, but Senators Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss have refused to return the so-called “blue slips” that would permit her nomination to proceed before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

An intriguing possibility is that Edmondson’s decision could allow the White House and the senators to compromise on a package of two nominees to the Eleventh Circuit — namely, Pryor and Troutman Sanders partner Mark Cohen.

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