Judge Peter J. Messitte

The Maryland Daily Record reports today that U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte has notified President Bush that he will take senior status, which takes effect on September 1, 2008. Judge Messitte candidly admitted that the timing of his decision to take senior status – which means a reduced caseload – is connected to the fact that he would prefer someone other than President Bush to name his successor.

Judge Messitte sits in Maryland’s federal courthouse in Greenbelt. There are a lot of vacancies around the country with President Bush struggling to get his nominees past a Democratic Congress. But Judge Messitte’s change in status will create the only vacancy on Maryland’s 10-judge federal court. Who will succeed him will depend on whether it is President Obama or President McCain. (Note: it is a joy typing the word president without the next word being Bush or Clinton. Try it for yourself, it is really fun.)

The Daily Record also pointed out that there will be another change in 2010 when Chief Judge Benson E. Legg’s seven-year term as the chief judge will end. The chief judgeship of Maryland will then pass to the longest-serving judge under the age of 65, which is expected to be Judge Deborah K. Chasanow.