I was quite surprised to hear on the radio this afternoon that Judge Michael Luttig of the Fourth Circuit is leaving the bench for a job with private industry. The Washington Post has this report, and the New York Times has this report.
Looking at what's left on the Fourth Circuit, Judge Boyle remains unconfirmed, Mr. Haynes remains unconfirmed to replace Judge Widener (who was born in 1923 and has been on the Court for 34 years), no one has been named to replace Claude Allen as the nominee to replace the late Judge Murnaghan, and now there will be a fourth vacancy. At the current rate, none of those vacancies will be filled during the term of President Bush.
Here's my two cents, unvarnished by any notion of politics: There are three district judges in Maryland - Quarles, Bennett (who does sort of look like the President), and Titus (who does sort of look like the Vice-President) - who have been confirmed by the Senate during the Bush administration - any of them could be confirmed to a seat on the Fourth Circuit. Judge Spencer from Richmond or Judge Smith from Norfolk - or maybe Judge Kelsey of the Virginia Court of Appeals - would be good choices to succeed Judge Luttig. Don't dilly-dally.