Oops, this Trump-appointed judge actually is not retiring
(Reuters) - For a few moments on Wednesday, court observers were abuzz over the apparent and unusual retirement of a Trump-era appointee to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims after less than a year on the bench.
Stephen Schwartz, however, is not retiring.
That declaration comes from his Washington, D.C.-based chambers and from the administrative office of the U.S. courts, which said its website that posts future judicial vacancies mistakenly showed Schwartz would leave the bench on Nov. 1.
A spokesman for the administrative office told Reuters that Schwartz "recently sent a notification" saying he was electing a certain retirement plan effective on Nov. 1.
"The notification was mistakenly entered as a notification of retirement. It is not. The future vacancy list on (UScourts.gov) is being corrected," the administrative office said. "We apologize for this mistake."
The judiciary's future vacancies site, updated daily, often is the first notice to the public about a new court vacancy. Later on Wednesday morning, the website did not show Schwartz's retirement.
Schwartz, who has served on the bench since December 2020, did not return messages seeking comment, but a representative from his chambers told Reuters that Schwartz is not stepping down.
Born in 1983, Schwartz formerly was a partner at the conservative-leaning litigation boutique firm now called Schaerr Jaffe. One of his former colleagues at the firm, Kyle Duncan, was confirmed in 2018 to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Schwartz was an associate at Kirkland & Ellis from 2009 to 2015.
As a private practitioner, Schwartz was on a team that defended Louisiana abortion restrictions in 2016 and he defended a Virginia school board policy that said students must use bathrooms based on their biological sex.
"Like many judicial nominees, I have represented a wide variety of clients in cases involving a wide variety of issues," Schwartz said in a written response in 2017 to questions from judiciary committee members.
"While some of them have been associated with political controversy, I have also been involved in a large amount of general commercial litigation with little, if any, political salience."
The Federal Claims court, which has 16 judicial seats, hears a range of money-damages lawsuits against the U.S. government. Judges' dockets are filled with disputes over government contracts, eminent domain matters and federal workplace compensation matters.
Trump appointed 10 judges to the court. President Joe Biden has nominated two judges so far to the Federal Claims court. Federal Claims judges are appointed to 15-year terms.