U.S. District Judge William Duffey Jr. to Take Senior Status

Written by R. Robin McDonald - Daily Report Online | Jan 3, 2018 | News | Print PDF

U.S. District Judge William Duffey Jr. will take senior status July 1, but a committee reporting to Georgia’s U.S. senators is already searching for his replacement.

After 14 years on the federal bench in Atlanta, U.S. District Judge William Duffey Jr. will take senior status later this year, according to the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts.

Duffey, who was appointed to the post by President George W. Bush in 2004, will take senior status on July 1, the 14th anniversary of his judicial commission.

A six-man committee appointed by Georgia’s two U.S. senators is already seeking candidates for Duffey’s post. The committee has posted a link to the applicant questionnaire on the State Bar of Georgia’s website.

Applications must be returned to the committee via email by noon Feb. 5. The committee members who will review applications, interview candidates and make recommendations to Republican Sens. David Perdue and Johnny Isakson are Statesboro attorney Jimmy Franklin; Robert Ingram, a partner at Marietta’s Moore, Ingram, Johnson & Steele; University of Georgia law professor Ron Carlson; Joshua Belinfante, a partner at The Robbins Firm in Atlanta; retired King & Spalding partner Dwight Davis; and retired Houston County attorney Mike Long.

Duffey served from 2001 until his judicial appointment as the Northern District of Georgia’s U.S. attorney—a post for which he was nominated just five days before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Duffey began his legal career as an attorney with the U.S. Air Force’s Judge Advocate General Corps. Duffey also served from 1994 to 1995 as deputy independent counsel and associate independent counsel in the Office of Independent Counsel during the Whitewater investigations of then-President Bill Clinton and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Duffey was hired by former Independent Counsel Robert B. Fiske in 1994 and also worked for Kenneth W. Starr, who replaced Fiske later that year.

When Fiske hired Duffey, he was already a partner at King & Spalding in Atlanta, where he was a member of the firm’s special matters and government investigations group. After leaving the Whitewater investigative team in 1995, Duffey returned to King & Spalding, where he counted among his mentors former U.S. Attorney General Griffin Bell and Frank C. Jones, two pillars at the firm.

After the 2000 election, Bell actively encouraged Duffey—who had chaired George W. Bush’s 2000 campaign finance committee in Georgia—to seek the U.S. attorney post. Bell told the Daily Report at the time that he had recommended Duffey to Jones, who chaired the committee vetting and recommending candidates to the Bush administration for federal judgeships and U.S. attorney slots in Georgia.

When Duffey was nominated to the federal bench, he told the Daily Report that his stint as U.S. attorney in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks had convinced him that “where I believe I am called to be is in the public sector.”

Duffey’s father was a career military officer in the U.S. Navy, and Duffey attributed his desire for public service, in part, to growing up in an environment where family members were “dedicated to things that improved the country.”

Duffey graduated from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1973 and from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1977.