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It was barely a few months' time before a nominee was put forward to fill Senior Judge Andre Davis' seat. At the time, we were shocked; considering the number of vacancies nationwide, some of which were many years old, a vacancy being filled this quickly was basically a modern miracle.

Pamela Harris was the nominee. And only a few months later, she is now confirmed. Welcome to the Fourth Circuit, Judge Harris!

Want to spend more time practicing, and less time advertising? Leave the marketing to the experts.

Seriously, when was the last time you saw a circuit split happen in a matter of hours? The law nerd inside of me is quivering right now, I tell you!

The D.C. Circuit read a statute, 36B, which provides tax credits (subsidies, in essence) to qualifying low-income individuals who purchase plans though an "Exchange established by the State." To them, that text is pretty clear -- state exchanges are eligible for subsidies, while the federal Heathcare.gov exchange is not. It came to the decision "reluctantly," of course, as it notes that if its holding stands, Obamacare will collapse absent legislative intervention. We have more on the D.C. Circuit opinion, and the end of the world as we know it, in our D.C. Circuit coverage.

But wait, there's more: the Fourth Circuit (and a dissenting D.C. Circuit judge) came to a contrary conclusion. How?

Happy Wednesday. We're still waiting on Bostic.

But that's not all that's happening in the Fourth Circuit. There's been a rule change regarding the number of briefs one must file with the court. (Oooh!) And the North Carolina "Choose Life" license plate dispute is headed to the Supreme Court -- they hope. (Aaahhh!) But Family Dollar, the losers in a class action certification dispute, won't be, after the Supreme Court quietly denied certiorari before heading on summer vacation. (Gasp!)

Read on for the roundup ...

Judge Andre Davis took senior status barely two months ago, yet there's already a nominee for his seat, the only vacancy in the Fourth Circuit. Compare that expediency with the nine years it took to fill the seat last time.

Who's the nominee? Meet Georgetown Law visiting professor and former O'Melveny & Myers appellate attorney Pamela Harris. Her nomination for the Maryland-assigned seat was announced late Thursday by the White House and drew immediate praise from local politicians.

Others may not be quite so happy.

Conflicts and recusals. We've given the High Court's justices a hard time over botched recusals, excessive recusals, and even for un-recusals, but what about judges in the lower courts?

Federal judges are required to recuse themselves if they have a conflict of interest, often due to stock ownership in a company that is a party to the case, and they're even granted a tax break if they sell the stock to remove the conflict. Courts have adopted conflict screening systems to make sure mandated recusals actually happen.

Yet sometimes, a case or a stock slips through the cracks. How? And just as important, how many?

Hiring freeze? Budget crunch?

Hah! It seems that budget deal that ended the shutdown, and alleviated the effects of sequestration on the courts, has freed up some funds for a few staff positions at the Fourth Circuit. The Court of Appeals is looking for two librarians familiar with digital and electronic resources, and for an experienced attorney to lead the Office of Staff Counsel.

Sound intriguing? Read on for the official job descriptions, and click the links for the full vacancy announcements, including duties and required qualifications:

As predicted late last year, Judge Andre Davis, after only a few years on the Fourth Circuit, took senior status as of February 28, 2014. He was eligible for the semi-retired status due to his prior service on the district court bench for nearly two decades.

His move to senior status opens up an extra seat on the bench, which due to tradition, must be filled with a Maryland appointee. Meanwhile, as a senior judge, he'll still hear cases. Think of this arrangement in baseball terms -- he's a pinch hitter when the docket is full. (For more on the Rule of 80 and what senior status really means, see our post from last year.)

Get any emails about last-minute court hearings in unfamiliar cases? They're fake (almost certainly), and the attachments carry a pair of nasty viruses.

Plus, an update to Java, the annoying app that loves to bug you with update reminders, broke the Fourth Circuit's website on Wednesday.

While fellow FindLaw-er Gabriella Khorasanee may play favorites with the Second Circuit, for me, nothing beats the Fourth.

Why? (Not quite) obscene park ranger gropings. Lots of important Second Amendment issues, including concealed carry of guns. The South trying to rise again and failing -- twice. And, of course, the greatest law school in the history of all law schools, which recently came in second to some other Virginia law school in Above the Law's Insider rankings (take that, Stanford!), is located in the heart of the Fourth Circuit.

Looking for a microcosm of the biggest issues in American law? This year, the Fourth Circuit docket was stuffed with gun regulations, free speech, and stuff that we don't like to talk about in polite company.

It looks like a spot is about to open up on the Fourth Circuit, the first vacancy since Judge Thacker was confirmed for the court's final vacancy last year.

Judge Andre Davis, an appointee of President Obama in 2009, will take senior status in February 2014, reports the Maryland Appellate Blog. He is the youngest of three Maryland-based Fourth Circuit judges, and has only been on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals for a few years, but is eligible for senior status at the age of 65, after serving nearly two decades on the federal bench.

Judge Davis has been a federal judge since 1995, when he was appointed to the U.S. District Court by President Clinton. The Maryland Appellate Blog notes that he was first nominated for the Fourth Circuit in 2000, but was not confirmed during his first go-round.