The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in downtown Atlanta. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Trump gets to fill yet another vacancy on powerful Atlanta court

President Donald Trump has yet another seat to fill on the federal appeals court in Atlanta, giving him the chance to appoint almost half of the court’s judges during his first term in office.

Judge Stanley Marcus became the latest member of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to tell Trump he will take senior status with a reduced caseload. Marcus said he will become a senior judge when his successor is sworn into office or on March 2, whichever comes first.

The 73-year-old jurist first served on the U.S. District Court bench in Miami from 1985 to 1997, when he was elevated to the 11th Circuit in Atlanta.

Although Marcus was appointed by a Democrat, President Bill Clinton, he has often sided with the 11th Circuit’s conservative wing.

The 11th Circuit was already considered one of the more conservative federal appeals courts in the nation even before Trump became president. It will now remain so for years to come if Trump can fill five of the court’s 12 seats.

The 11th Circuit is allotted five judges from Florida, four from Georgia and three from Alabama.

Trump previously filled two Georgia seats with former Georgia Supreme Court Justice Britt Grant and former Georgia Court of Appeals Judge Elizabeth Branch. Trump filled an Alabama seat with former state Solicitor General Kevin Newsom.

Last month, Judge Gerald Tjoflat told Trump that he, too, will take senior status. Trump has yet to nominate Tjoflat’s successor.

Trump’s nominees to succeed Marcus and Tjoflat must be from Florida, because Marcus’ chambers are in Miami and Tjoflat’s are in Jacksonville.

Judge Stanley Marcus, as seen during oral arguments. (Sketched by AJC artist Walter Cumming)
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The 11th Circuit court often hears appeals of great importance, such as cases involving the death penalty, voting rights, immigration, discrimination in the workplace and convictions obtained by federal prosecutors.

Marcus said he will continue to stay busy as a senior judge.

“I am deeply grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to serve on two extraordinary courts,” Marcus said in a statement released Thursday.

His judicial colleagues over the past 34 years, he said, “are a superb group of legal scholars and jurists of the highest caliber and it is a great honor to have served with them.”

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