GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina was offered a federal judgeship in 2017, The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned.
The four-term Republican announced Wednesday that he will retire from Congress, just one day after Judge Dennis Shedd of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals assumed senior-status, a form of quasi-retirement under which judges leave active service while still participating in a handful of cases. The timing prompted speculation that Gowdy, a career prosecutor, would be tapped to succeed Shedd.
“He is not planning on becoming a judge,” a source close to the congressman told TheDCNF. “He was approached months ago and turned it down.” The source added that he will return to private practice.
A Trump administration official confirmed that White House Counsel Don McGahn gauged Gowdy’s interest in Shedd’s seat, but he declined to pursue the opportunity.
The 4th Circuit is the federal appeals court based in Richmond, Va. Shedd’s seat covers the portion of the 4th Circuit in South Carolina. As such, the congressman would not have to leave his home state if he accepted the appointment.
President Donald Trump also filled a vacancy on South Carolina’s federal trial court in Nov. 2017. As a lawyer with extensive trial experience, Gowdy would have been a strong candidate for that appointment as well.
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