The court announcement, issued late yesterday, notes that Walker’s 7-year term as Chief Judge for the Northern District of California began September 1, 2004, which means he is leaving the post 8 months early. After stepping down as Chief Judge, Walker will remain on the court until sometime in February of next year. He then plans to return to the private sector, where he was a partner in a large firm before spending 21 years on the federal bench. Walker will be succeeded as Chief Judge by current District Judge James Ware.
PJI president Brad Dacus commented, “This is a significant development in the Prop. 8 case, which is likely to be eventually sent back down to the District Court after the Ninth Circuit and Supreme Court consider it. Chief Judge Walker’s retirement cannot come soon enough for millions of California voters, who he called irrational for their support of traditional marriage. We call on President Obama to nominate a replacement for Chief Judge Walker who will respect the people of California and refuse to legislate from the bench.”