U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Photo Credit: ALM

The ranks of senior judges at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has grown with the transition of Circuit Judge Reena Raggi from active to senior, the judge’s chambers confirmed Thursday.

The move had been known for some time. In his state of the circuit report issued in June, Chief Judge Robert Katzmann noted Raggi intended to assume senior status on Aug. 31. Katzmann could not be reached for comment.

While Raggi, like most other senior judges, is expected to continue to serve in the circuit, including through the next term, Katzmann’s note identifies one of the issues facing the appellate bench in Manhattan. With Raggi’s move, the appellate court now has three vacancies, with only one nominee currently put forward by the White House to fill the void.

The other two seats opened up when Circuit Judges Gerard Lynch and Ricard Wesley both assumed senior status in 2016. Since then, only U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan of the Southern District of New York has been nominated by President Donald Trump. First nominated to the federal bench in Manhattan by President George W. Bush in 2007, Sullivan has yet to have his April nomination be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Raggi’s addition to the senior ranks at the appellate level squarely puts judges serving at that level in the majority, with 12 of the 22 taking senior status.

Raggi has spent more than three decades serving at the federal level. The Harvard Law School graduate and former interim U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of New York was nominated to the federal bench in Brooklyn by President Ronald Reagan, at the recommendation of former U.S. Sen. Alfonse D’Amato, in 1986. Her confirmation in 1987 made her the first woman to serve on the bench in the Eastern District.

During her time on the federal bench in Brooklyn, she oversaw a number of high-profile cases, including the federal civil rights prosecution of New York City police officers accused of assaulting Abner Louima in 1997.

In 2002, Bush nominated her to a vacancy on the circuit court. She was confirmed by the Senate in September of that year.

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