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Clifton to step down as active federal appeals court judge

Federal judge Richard R. Clifton will step down from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals at the end of the year.

Clifton, 65, of Honolulu will assume senior status on Dec. 31, after more than 14 years on the court.

“I look forward to continuing to serve while providing my court another judge and opening the door for another resident of Hawaii to have that opportunity,” Clifton wrote in a letter to President Barack Obama. He called serving as a federal judge an “extraordinary honor and opportunity.”

Clifton is only the second judge from Hawaii to serve on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, following the late Senior Circuit Judge Herbert Y. C. Choy, who died in 2004.

Clifton was nominated by President George W. Bush and began hearing cases in 2002.

Born in Framingham, Massachusetts, Clifton moved to Honolulu in 1975 to be a law clerk for Choy, then joined the Cades Schutte Fleming & Wright law firm.

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