TAMPA — U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Kovachevich, who has served on the federal bench in Tampa for 35 years, plans to retire from regular judicial service in 2018.
In a letter sent Thursday to President Donald Trump, the judge said she plans to assume senior status in exactly one year. Senior judges are semi-retired jurists who can still handle a reduced number of cases.
Kovachevich, known among lawyers as Judge K, turned 81 years old Thursday. She told the Tampa Bay Times that she announced her plans a year in advance to give the president time to fill the vacancy. She will maintain a full docket until then.
She cited personal responsibilities as a reason for the change.
"I’m trying to be prudent and plan for the future in a realistic way," Kovachevich.
Judge K is the longest serving federal judge in the Middle District of Florida. She was appointed to the court in 1982 by President Ronald Reagan. She had previously been nominated by President Gerald Ford.