Vaughn Walker announced Wednesday that he is retiring from the federal bench. Walker is known as a Republican with a strong independent streak and his decision in August striking down California’s Proposition 8 banning same sex marriage cemented that reputation.
The landmark ruling outraged conservatives, who called it a perfect example of legislating from the bench.
The 67-year-old Walker has been chief judge of the Federal District Court in Northern California since 2004, he’ll step down from that job at the end of December and then leave the bench entirely in February.
Walker’s judicial career began with controversy. He was nominated to the federal bench by President Reagan, but didn’t win Senate confirmation until the first Bush Administration.
Walker plans to return to private practice, which he left to became a judge in 1990. He'll surely be able to make more money there -- federal judges often complain that they're underpaid. His retirement had been rumored even before the Prop. 8 ruling came out.
Read the news release [pdf] as issued by the court.