Facing allegations of soliciting prostitution, among other charges, Chief Judge Edward Nottingham of the District of Colorado has resigned from the federal bench. The resignation moots his judicial misconduct inquiry, at least according to the Judicial Council of the Tenth Circuit. To read the order dismissing same, click here (summarizing the judicial conduct complaints and investigation).
The situation strikingly seems to mirror the very recent fate of Eliot Spitzer: Both opted to resign. Soliciting prostitution, of course, would violate Canon 2A (failing to comply with the law), now Rule 1.1, and (almost surely) would create an appearance of impropriety. That said, we would have to agree that resigning from such awe-inspiring positions — Chief District Judge of Colorado and Governor of New York, respectively – (self-)imposed a significant sanction on both Nottingham and Spitzer. The question, then, is whether that sanction is too lenient, too draconian, or roughly proportionate for their crimes.