Last fall, I wrote about two examples of judicial misconduct, one involving a state court judge charged with fraudulently obtaining prescription drugs, the other a federal judge under investigation for sending a racist e-mail about President Obama from his official e-mail account. Now, the Billings Gazette now reports that the federal judge is retiring–or in judicial terms, “taking senior status.” Senior judges may continue to work and hear cases as much as they want; in fact, the continued involvement of senior judges is critical because the case load is so high. The investigation continues, despite the retirement.
The article provides a good description of the process of nominating a new federal judge and the factors that go into it.
Update: The federal judge initially announced that he would take senior status, but the Billings Gazette reported in April 2013 that he would retire fully on May 3, following a March 15 order in the judicial conduct investigation, which is confidential pending an appeal.