BOISE - U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge will leave active service and take senior status on July 3, 2015, the courts announced today; that means the longtime judge will continue to hear cases, but his position will open and a new district judge will be appointed for Idaho.
Lodge’s successor must be nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. That process could take a year or more.
Lodge has notified the president and Idaho’s congressional delegation of his intention to take senior status. He is the longest serving active district judge in the history of the Idaho district; between his state and federal judicial career, he has served on the bench for more than 50 years.
“It has been and continues to be an incredible privilege to serve on the same court with Judge Ed Lodge,” said Chief District Judge B. Lynn Winmill. “His judicial legacy is simply unmatched in Idaho’s history. His experience, his judicial temperament, his wisdom, and his thoughtfulness make him the standard by which all other judges must be measured. Fortunately, Judge Lodge’s decision to take senior status means that the District of Idaho will, for many years, continue to be blessed by his unmatched ability and skill as a jurist.”
Lodge has handled many high-profile cases, from the federal death penalty trial for North Idaho multiple murderer Joseph Duncan to the Coeur d’Alene Tribe’s successful case winning ownership of the southern portion of Lake Coeur d’Alene.
Senior status allows a judge to continue to serve, while reducing his or her caseload over time. Lodge will continue to maintain chambers and staff in Boise.
Idaho hasn’t had a new federal district judge appointed since 1995, when Winmill was named to the court. He succeeded the late U.S. District Judge Harold Ryan, who took senior status in 1992. Said Elizabeth “Libby” Smith, clerk of the court for the district, “This is pretty big news for Idaho.”
Even prior to Lodge’s announcement, Idaho’s congressional delegation had been seeking an additional U.S. District Court judge for the state, contending both its population and caseload more than justify the addition. Idaho is one of just three states – the others are North Dakota and Vermont – with just two federal district judgeships. It’s been 60 years since the second judgeship was added.