Seventh Circuit News: Judge Tinder Retires from Federal Bench

Indianapolis, Indiana – Earlier this month, Judge John Tinder officially retired from the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, stepping down after more than 30 years of federal service.

Judge Tinder, a jurist who once described himself as a person with “too many hobbies” but “not enough time,” officially retired from the bench in early October. The announcement of his retirement inadvertently came not through the usual channels, but rather via a letter that he wrote in response to an unsolicited application that he received from someone seeking employment as a law clerk. In his reply, Judge Tinder wrote, “Thank you for applying for a clerkship with me. Your credentials are outstanding. However, I recently decided that I will be leaving the court in 2015 so I will not be hiring any additional clerks….” That letter was leaked to, which broke the news of Judge Tinder’s impending retirement.

A lifelong resident of Indiana, Judge Tinder received both his undergraduate degree and law degree from the Indiana University – Bloomington. Prior to his appointment to a federal judgeship, he served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana and, later, as the United States Attorney for the Southern District. In addition, he had engaged in the private practice of law in Indianapolis, had served as the Chief Trial Deputy for the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office and had been a public defender for the Criminal Division of the Superior Court of Marion County. Judge Tinder also taught as an adjunct professor at the Indiana University School of Law.

Judge Tinder was nominated as a District Court Judge for the Southern District of Indiana by President Ronald Reagan and was appointed in September 1987. After twenty years of service as a trial judge, Judge Tinder was nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit by President George W. Bush in 2007. He was confirmed by a vote of 93-0.

Described by former law clerks as “an extremely nice and easy-going person” with “a great sense of humor,” Judge Tinder has shared some possible post-retirement activities: public interest advocacy, arbitration, and extended travel.

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