Curtis Collier, senior federal judge at Chattanooga, is taking senior status.
Judge Collier, a native of Arkansas, is a former prosecutor with the U.S. Attorney's Office.
He has been on the bench for 19 years and had moved up to senior judge when then-Chief Judge Al Edgar took senior status.
Those mentioned as interested in seeking the appointment from President Obama for the post include Federal Magistrate Susan Lee, attorneys Lee Davis and Leah Gerbitz as well as Travis McDonough, chief of staff to Mayor Andy Berke.
Mayor Berke had been mentioned as a possible candidate, but his office said he plans to remain as mayor.