28 U.S.C. § 45 : US Code - Section 45: Chief judges; precedence of judges

Search 28 U.S.C. § 45 : US Code - Section 45: Chief judges; precedence of judges

      (a)(1) The chief judge of the circuit shall be the circuit judge
    in regular active service who is senior in commission of those
    judges who - 
        (A) are sixty-four years of age or under;
        (B) have served for one year or more as a circuit judge; and
        (C) have not served previously as chief judge.

      (2)(A) In any case in which no circuit judge meets the
    qualifications of paragraph (1), the youngest circuit judge in
    regular active service who is sixty-five years of age or over and
    who has served as circuit judge for one year or more shall act as
    the chief judge.
      (B) In any case under subparagraph (A) in which there is no
    circuit judge in regular active service who has served as a circuit
    judge for one year or more, the circuit judge in regular active
    service who is senior in commission and who has not served
    previously as chief judge shall act as the chief judge.
      (3)(A) Except as provided in subparagraph (C), the chief judge of
    the circuit appointed under paragraph (1) shall serve for a term of
    seven years and shall serve after expiration of such term until
    another judge is eligible under paragraph (1) to serve as chief
    judge of the circuit.
      (B) Except as provided in subparagraph (C), a circuit judge
    acting as chief judge under subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph
    (2) shall serve until a judge has been appointed who meets the
    qualifications under paragraph (1).
      (C) No circuit judge may serve or act as chief judge of the
    circuit after attaining the age of seventy years unless no other
    circuit judge is qualified to serve as chief judge of the circuit
    under paragraph (1) or is qualified to act as chief judge under
    paragraph (2).
      (b) The chief judge shall have precedence and preside at any
    session of the court which he attends. Other circuit judges of the
    court in regular active service shall have precedence and preside
    according to the seniority of their commissions. Judges whose
    commissions bear the same date shall have precedence according to
    seniority in age. The circuit justice, however, shall have
    precedence over all the circuit judges and shall preside at any
    session which he attends.
      (c) If the chief judge desires to be relieved of his duties as
    chief judge while retaining his active status as circuit judge, he
    may so certify to the Chief Justice of the United States, and
    thereafter the chief judge of the circuit shall be such other
    circuit judge who is qualified to serve or act as chief judge under
    subsection (a).
      (d) If a chief judge is temporarily unable to perform his duties
    as such, they shall be performed by the circuit judge in active
    service, present in the circuit and able and qualified to act, who
    is next in precedence.