In 2002, U.S. District Judge Filemon Vela Sr. passed the torch of justice to U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen.

In 2002, U.S. District Judge Filemon Vela Sr. passed the torch of justice to U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen.

Now, Hanen is ready to do the same.

“Well, you know, people forget that I’ve been in Brownsville for 16 years,” Hanen said. “I’m 64 and I’m nearing retirement age. So my wife and I are trying to figure out where we want to be at the end of our careers.”

The couple wants to be closer to their daughter, who lives in Houston, Hanen explained.

However, the judge isn’t immediately retiring. He will begin serving in the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, in the near future.

If nominated, Fernando Rodriguez Jr., a Harlingen native, will take a spot on the bench in the Brownsville Division.

President Donald Trump nominated Rodriguez, his first Latino nominee for a spot as a U.S. District Judge, last September.

But Hanen still will have a presence here.

“I’m actually going to end up keeping some Brownsville cases,” Hanen said. “I’m just not going to take a regular docket down there.”

There’s no scheduled last day on the bench for Hanen.

“We’re blessed to be able to do it this way, and it makes for a smooth transition as opposed to someone quitting and having a vacancy for a long time,” Hanen said. “It will be a much smoother handoff than a lot of other communities.”

To accomplish this, Hanen will be eased out, with U.S. District Judge Rolando Olvera taking more cases as Rodriguez is eased in, if confirmed, Hanen explained.

A more complete version of this story is available on www.myBrownsvilleHerald.com