Another judicial vacancy to open up on 11th Circuit

A third vacancy will be opening up this summer on the busy federal appeals court in Atlanta.

The upcoming opening gives President Barack Obama yet another opportunity to shape the influential 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which decides cases from Georgia, Alabama and Florida.

The president will get the new vacancy on Aug. 1 when Chief Judge Joel Dubina takes senior status, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts said Friday. With that status, Dubina will remain on the court as a senior judge and be able to take a reduced caseload.

Dubina, appointed by President George H.W. Bush, has sat on the 11th Circuit since 1990. Because Dubina is from Alabama, his successor will be from Alabama, too.

Judge Ed Carnes will succeed Dubina as the court’s chief judge.

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The 11th Circuit is allotted 12 judges. It already has two vacancies, which by tradition must be filled by Georgians.

Last month, Obama renominated Atlanta attorney Jill Pryor to fill one of the vacancies, which has been open since August 2010.

A year ago, Obama tried to get Pryor on the 11th Circuit, but, without explaining why, Georgia’s two Republican senators, Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss, blocked Pryor from getting a confirmation hearing. The committee has yet to schedule a hearing for Pryor since her renomination.

Obama has not submitted a nominee to fill the second vacancy, which has been open since last July.

So far, Obama has put two judges on the 11th Circuit: Beverly Martin, once a U.S. District judge in Atlanta, and Adalberto Jordan, who served as a U.S. District judge in Miami.

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