On May 31, Judge Deanell Tacha will end her 25-year tenure on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, including seven years as its chief judge.
Tacha, 65, is embarking on a new career as dean of Pepperdine University School of Law in California, replacing another former appeals judge: Kenneth Starr, who left last year to become president of Baylor University. ...
Before leaving the bench, Tacha agreed to give her parting thoughts about the judiciary, the U.S. Supreme Court, the news media and her new job in an interview with The National Law Journal's Supreme Court correspondent Tony Mauro. ...
Q: Why did you decide to leave? What excites you about this new challenge, which comes at a time when you could be retiring? With Judge Henry also leaving for academia recently, there seems to be a trend. [Former 10th Circuit Judge Robert Henry is now president of Oklahoma City University.]
Tacha: First, let me say I have loved being a judge. I am not leaving because I was dissatisfied. I came to the bench from academic life and have missed, to some extent, the interaction with students, faculty, alumni and universities in general. I have remained very active in the work of several academic institutions, but the appropriate constraints under which judges operate were sometimes confining to me! Let's just say that my personality includes a side that very much yearns to be involved with people, causes, and active involvement in a variety of interests.
Returning to legal education affords me the opportunity to be involved in the future of the legal profession. I have a great interest in who the lawyers and judges of the future are, how they are trained, what they will bring to the nation and the society, and how they will model for the larger society the rule of law at work.
I certainly can't speak to any trend, but Judge Henry and I both have always maintained strong ties to academia. The same is true for my former 10th Circuit colleague, Michael McConnell, who is now at Stanford.