There was already a judicial emergency in the federal courts in eastern North Carolina, but things just got a little more dire.
Judge James C. Fox submitted his letter of resignation Monday to the Federal Bar. He was one of three senior judges helping to manage the heavy caseload of a judicial vacancy in the U.S. District Court.
I have enjoyed the humbling honor of serving for over thirty-five years as a federal district judge for the Eastern District of North Carolina. I cannot imagine a finer, more rewarding career. I have been supported by the brightest and most dedicated office staff, law clerks, Clerk’s Office personnel, United States Probation Officers, Deputy United States Marshals and Court Security Officers. It has been an honor to serve alongside my esteemed colleagues on the Federal bench, and to work with hundreds of the most brilliant and zealous lawyers in the country.
My first priority always has been my family, but closely on its heels follows my commitment to duty, excellence and fairness in the administration of justice in the Eastern District of North Carolina. I cannot stress strongly enough what pleasure and professional satisfaction I have enjoyed.
The 88-year judge will retire March 31. You can read his full letter here.
The open seat on the court that Fox was helping out with is the the longest unfilled federal vacancy in the nation. Former President Barack Obama nominated two different women to fill the vacancy and N.C. Sen. Richard Burr blocked both nominations.
It’s now up to President Donald Trump to nominate an individual to fill the vacancy.