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Williams retires from 4th Circuit

Karen J. Williams, the chief judge of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, has retired because of illness, according to The Times and Democrat in Orangeburg, S.C.

The paper reports that Williams, 57, notified the White House of her retirement yesterday. The article says nothing about the nature of her illness, and a 4th Circuit spokesman would only say that she retired for medical reasons.

Williams’ name no longer appears as a judge on the 4th Circuit’s Web site, where Judge William B. Traxler Jr., also of South Carolina, already is listed as the chief judge.

Williams’ chambers were in Orangeburg. President George H.W. Bush appointed her to the 4th Circuit in 1992 on the recommendation of the late Sen. Strom Thurmond. She became chief judge of the circuit in 2007.

Williams’ departure will leave the court with only two-thirds of its authorized strength of 15 judges.

President Obama has nominated U.S. District Judge Andre M. Davis from Baltimore for one of the vacancies and Virginia Sens. Jim Webb and Mark Warner have recommended Virginia Supreme Court Justice Barbara Milano Keenan for another.

By Alan Cooper

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