Davis, the youngest of three Maryland-based judges on the court, is eligible for senior status upon turning 65 because he has served as an Article III judge since becoming a U.S. District Judge in 1995. He is the first of six Obama appointees to that court to take the step, which creates a new Maryland vacancy to be filled by the president.
Davis will continue to hear cases and earn his annual salary but will only have to carry one-fourth of the caseload his full-time colleagues carry.
The Fourth Circuit has had a full complement of 15 judges since Obama’s last appointment in 2012, West Virginia’s Stephanie D. Thacker.
Judge Davis was born in Baltimore, Md., in 1949. He was initially appointed to the U.S. District Court there by President Clinton in 1995 and then to the Fourth Circuit by President Obama in 2009.
He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Maryland School of Law. He started his legal career as a law clerk to U.S. District Judge Frank Kaufman in Maryland and then to Fourth Circuit Judge Francis D. Murnaghan, Jr., whose seat he would later occupy. Davis was an appellate attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice; an assistant U.S. attorney in Maryland; and a Baltimore city and state court judge.