By VAL WALTON
The Birmingham News
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Alabama’s first black federal judge, U.S. District Judge U.W. Clemon, will retire from the bench Jan. 31 and return to practicing civil law.
Clemon cited stagnant judges’ pay and changes in the federal courts’ direction that don’t sit well with him as reasons for his decision to leave the bench rather than take senior status, a form of semi-retirement that allows federal judges to hear fewer cases but still earn a full salary.
“It’s time,” said Clemon, who as a lawyer handled landmark civil rights lawsuits before his appointment by President Carter to the bench in 1980. “I have now served 28½ years as a federal judge and I’m 65. There are some other things I’d like to do in life.”
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