MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A court official says veteran U.S. District Judge John Shabaz has serious health problems and his prospects for returning to the bench are uncertain.
Shabaz, 77, has been on medical leave for most of this year.
Collins T. Fitzpatrick, circuit executive of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, says Shabaz has "serious problems" and is trying to heal. He would not elaborate.
Shabaz announced his intention last year to go to senior status should his successor be confirmed before President Bush leaves office.
Bush named Waukesha County Judge J. Mac Davis to replace Shabaz in September but he is unlikely to win Senate confirmation.
Should Shabaz retire after January, President-elect Barack Obama will fill the opening.