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7th Circuit judge to retire in 2015

John Tinder, a longtime judge who is on the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, will retire by June of next year, he said in an interview Tuesday.

Tinder, 64, said he will stop taking new cases in February 2015. He will remain on the court until he wraps up all of his work, which should be by summer 2015, he said.

“I’ve really enjoyed it a great deal,” said Tinder, whose office is in Indianapolis. “It’s a wonderful intellectual challenge. Every day presents a whole range of new questions you could not have imagined.”

He said he is retiring – instead of taking the senior status that many federal judges eventually take – because it is time “to search out something different.” He has some “hazy notions” about what he will do next, but he said nothing is finalized.

“I’m not trying to create a special niche,” Tinder said. “I’m trying to do what any appellate judge would do.”

The news of Tinder’s retirement was spurred by an article on the legal website Above the Law, which posted a picture of a letter a clerkship applicant received from Tinder in February that explained why he is not taking on a new clerk.

Tinder said he had not advertised for an open clerk position, yet he still received several applications.

“I was doing an applicant a courtesy,” he said, “but it did result in that unexpected announcement.”

Tinder has had a long career working for the state and federal government. He was the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Indiana between 1984 and 1987. He was then appointed as a judge in that district and served there for 20 years.

He was nominated to be on the appellate court by then-President George W. Bush in 2007. The Senate approved the nomination 93-0 in December of that year.

The 7th Circuit has nine judge slots. There currently is one vacancy, left by former Judge Terence Evans, who took senior status in 2010. He died in 2011.

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