- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 7, 2014

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - A decision by a federal judge in Chattanooga to take senior status later this year means his seat will be open.

Curtis L. Collier sent a letter to President Barack Obama to say he will move into semi-retirement in October on his 65th birthday. Under senior status, judges work part-time, usually taking on about 20 percent of a normal caseload.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press (https://bit.ly/1j2wpMa) reports Collier’s decision opens a position that is prestigious and highly sought after.

Collier was appointed to the judgeship by President Bill Clinton in 1995. The newspaper reports he was the first and remains the only black U.S. District judge in eastern Tennessee.

The district encompasses areas from Winchester to Greeneville.

After four decades in public service in the U.S. Air Force, as a federal prosecutor and as a federal judge for nearly 20 years, Collier said he had a simple reason for the timing of his announcement.

“It’s time to give someone more young and vigorous an opportunity,” he said.

U.S. District Judge Harry S. “Sandy” Mattice says he has respected Collier since trying cases before him as a U.S. attorney before he was appointed to the bench in 2005.

“I’ve always considered him a model of what a federal judge should be,” Mattice said.

It wasn’t immediately clear when a new judge would be appointed.

___

Information from: Chattanooga Times Free Press, https://www.timesfreepress.com


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