United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit: Wikis

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United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
US-CourtOfAppeals-FederalCircuit-Seal.svg
Established 1982
Jurisdiction United States (specific subject matter)
Location Washington, D.C.
Composition method Presidential nomination with Senate confirmation
Authorized by 28 U.S.C. § 1295
Decisions are appealed to Supreme Court of the United States
Judge term length Life tenure
Number of positions 12
Website http://www.cafc.uscourts.gov/
Chief Judge
Currently Paul Redmond Michel
Since 2004
Lead position ends 2011

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Federal Circuit, in case citations, Fed. Cir. or C.A.F.C.) is a United States court of appeals headquartered in Washington, D.C.. The court was created by Congress with passage of the Federal Courts Improvement Act of 1982, which merged the United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals and the appellate division of the United States Court of Claims, making the judges of the former courts into circuit judges.[1][2]

The court occupies the Howard T. Markey National Courts Building, the Tayloe House, the former Cosmos Club, and the Dolley Madison House in Washington, D.C. The court sits from time-to-time in locations other than Washington, and its judges can and do sit by designation on the bench of other courts of appeals and federal district courts.

Contents

Jurisdiction

The Federal Circuit is unique among the courts of appeals as it is the only court that has its jurisdiction based wholly upon subject matter rather than geographic location. The Federal Circuit is an appellate court with jurisdiction generally given in 28 U.S.C. § 1295. The court hears certain appeals from all of the United States District Courts, appeals from certain administrative agencies, and appeals arising under certain statutes. Among other things, the Federal Circuit has exclusive jurisdiction over appeals from:[3]

Although the Federal Circuit typically hears all appeals from any of the United States district courts where the original action included a complaint arising under the patent laws, the Supreme Court has decided that it does not if the patent claims arose solely as counterclaims by the defendant.[4] Though other appellate courts can now hear patent counter-claims in theory, this has not happened often.

The decisions of the Federal Circuit, particularly in regard to patent cases, are unique in that they are binding precedent throughout the U.S. within the bounds of the court's subject-matter jurisdiction. This is unlike the other courts of appeals as the authority of their decisions is restricted by geographic location and thus there may be differing judicial standards depending on location. Decisions of the Federal Circuit are only superseded by decisions of the Supreme Court or by applicable changes in the law. Also, review by the Supreme Court is discretionary, so Federal Circuit decisions are often the final word, especially since there are usually no circuit splits given the Federal Circuit's exclusive subject-matter jurisdiction. In its first decision, the Federal Circuit incorporated as binding precedent the decisions of its predecessor courts, the United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals and the appellate division of the United States Court of Claims.[5]

Because the Court is one of national jurisdiction, panels from the court may sit anywhere in the country. Typically, once or twice a year, the court will hold oral arguments in a city outside of its native Washington D.C. The panels may sit in Federal courthouses, state courthouses, or even at law schools.

Composition

The Federal Circuit has a total of 12 active circuit judges sitting at any given time, who are required to reside within 50 miles of the District of Columbia, as set by 28 U.S.C. § 44. Judges on senior status are not subject to this restriction. As with other federal judges, they are nominated by the President and must be confirmed by the Senate. Their terms last during the "good behavior" of the judges, which typically results in life tenure. When eligible, judges may elect to take senior status. This allows a senior judge to continue to serve on the court while handling fewer cases than an active service judge. Each judge in active service employs a judicial assistant and three law clerks, while each judge in senior status employs a judicial assistant and one law clerk.[6]

Current composition of the court

As of Judge Alvin Schall taking senior status on October 5, 2009, the judges on the court are:

# Title Judge Duty station Born Term of service Appointed by
Active Chief Senior
20 Chief Judge Paul Redmond Michel Washington, DC 1941 1988–present 2004–present Reagan
16 Circuit Judge Pauline Newman Washington, DC 1927 1984–present Reagan
19 Circuit Judge Haldane Robert Mayer Washington, DC 1941 1987–present 1997–2004 Reagan
22 Circuit Judge Alan David Lourie Washington, DC 1935 1990–present G.H.W. Bush
24 Circuit Judge Randall Ray Rader Washington, DC 1949 1990–present G.H.W. Bush
26 Circuit Judge William Curtis Bryson Washington, DC 1945 1994–present Clinton
27 Circuit Judge Arthur J. Gajarsa Washington, DC 1941 1997–present Clinton
28 Circuit Judge Richard Linn Washington, DC 1944 1999–present Clinton
29 Circuit Judge Timothy B. Dyk Washington, DC 1937 2000–present Clinton
30 Circuit Judge Sharon Prost Washington, DC 1951 2001–present G.W. Bush
31 Circuit Judge Kimberly Ann Moore Washington, DC 1968 2006–present G.W. Bush
Circuit Judge (vacant - seat 11) (n/a) (n/a) (n/a) (n/a) (n/a) (n/a)
13 Senior Circuit Judge Daniel Mortimer Friedman Washington, DC 1916 1982–1989 (none) 1989–present Carter[7]
18 Senior Circuit Judge Glenn Leroy Archer, Jr. Washington, DC 1929 1985–1997 1994–1997 1997–present Reagan
21 Senior Circuit Judge S. Jay Plager Washington, DC 1931 1989–2000 (none) 2000–present G.H.W. Bush
23 Senior Circuit Judge Raymond Charles Clevenger III Washington, DC 1937 1990–2006[8] (none) 2006–present G.H.W. Bush
25 Senior Circuit Judge Alvin Anthony Schall Washington, DC 1944 1992–2009 2009–present G.H.W. Bush

Vacancies and pending nominations

Judge Alvin Anthony Schall assumed senior status on October 5, 2009.[9] This created the first vacancy on the court since 2006. On March 10, 2010 President Barack Obama nominated District Court Judge Kathleen M. O'Malley as replacement for Schall.

Chief Judge Paul Redmond Michel has announced that he will retire on May 31, 2010.[10] This will create a second vacancy on the Federal Circuit. President Obama has not yet nominated a replacement for Michel.

List of former judges

# Judge State Born/Died Active service Term as Chief Judge Senior status Appointed by Reason for
termination
1 Laramore, Don NelsonDon Nelson Laramore IN 1906–1989 (none) (none) 1982–1989 Eisenhower, Eisenhower[7] death
2 Rich, Giles SutherlandGiles Sutherland Rich NY 1904–1999 1982–1999 (none) (none) Eisenhower, Eisenhower[11] death
3 Almond, Jr., James LindsayJames Lindsay Almond, Jr. VA 1898–1986 (none) (none) 1982–1986 Kennedy, Kennedy[11] death
4 Davis, Oscar HirshOscar Hirsh Davis DC 1914–1988 1982–1988 (none) (none) Kennedy, Kennedy[7] death
5 Cowen, Arnold WilsonArnold Wilson Cowen TX 1905–2007 (none) (none) 1982-2007 Johnson, L.L. Johnson[7] death
6 Nichols, Jr., PhilipPhilip Nichols, Jr. DC 1907–1990 1982–1983 (none) 1983–1990 Johnson, L.L. Johnson[7] death
7 Skelton, Byron GeorgeByron George Skelton TX 1905–2004 (none) (none) 1982–2004 Johnson, L.L. Johnson[7] death
8 Baldwin, Phillip BenjaminPhillip Benjamin Baldwin TX 1924–2002 1982–1986 (none) 1986–1991 Johnson, L.L. Johnson[11] retirement
9 Markey, Howard ThomasHoward Thomas Markey IL 1920–2006 1982–1991 1982–1990 (none) Nixon, Nixon[11] retirement
10 Bennett, Marion TinsleyMarion Tinsley Bennett MO 1914–2000 1982–1986 (none) 1986–2000 Nixon, Nixon[7] death
11 Kashiwa, ShiroShiro Kashiwa HI 1912–1998 1982–1986 (none) (none) Nixon, Nixon[7] retirement
12 Miller, Jack RichardJack Richard Miller IA 1916–1994 1982–1985 (none) 1985–1994 Nixon, Nixon[11] death
14 Smith, Edward SamuelEdward Samuel Smith MD 1919–2001 1982–1989 (none) 1989–2001 Carter, Carter[7] death
15 Nies, Helen WilsonHelen Wilson Nies DC 1925–1996 1982–1995 1990–1994 1995–1996 Carter, Carter[11] death
17 Bissell, Jean GallowayJean Galloway Bissell SC 1936–1990 1984–1990 (none) (none) Reagan, Reagan death

Chief judges

Chief Judges
Markey 1982–1990
Nies 1990–1994
Archer 1994–1997
Mayer 1997–2004
Michel 2004–present

In order to qualify for the office of Chief Judge, a judge must have been in active service on the court for at least one year, be under the age of 65, and have not previously served as Chief Judge. A vacancy in the office of Chief Judge is filled by the judge highest in seniority among the group of qualified judges. The Chief Judge serves for a term of seven years or until age 70, whichever occurs first. The age restrictions are waived if no members of the court would otherwise be qualified for the position. Unlike the Chief Justice of the United States, a Chief Judge returns to active service after the expiration of his or her term and does not create a vacancy on the bench by the fact of his or her promotion. See 28 U.S.C. § 45.

The above rules have applied since October 1, 1982. The office of Chief Judge was created in 1948 and until August 6, 1959 was filled by the longest-serving judge who had not elected to retire on what has since 1958 been known as senior status or declined to serve as Chief Judge. From then until 1982 it was filled by the senior such judge who had not turned 70.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, when the court was initially created, Congress had to resolve which chief judge of the predecessor courts would become the first chief judge. It was decided that the chief judge of the predecessor court who had the most seniority, as chief judge, would be the new chief judge.[12] This made Howard T. Markey, former chief judge of the Court of Customs and Patent Appeals, the first chief judge.

Succession of seats

The court has twelve seats for active judges, numbered in alphabetical order by their occupant at the time the court was formed, with the sole vacant seat being numbered last. Judges who retire into senior status remain on the bench but leave their seat vacant. That seat is filled by the next circuit judge appointed by the President.

Seat 1
Reassigned on April 2, 1982 from the United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals by 96 Stat. 25
Baldwin 1982–1986
Michel 1988–present
Seat 2
Reassigned on April 2, 1982 from the United States Court of Claims by 96 Stat. 25
Bennett 1982–1986
Mayer 1987–present
Seat 3
Reassigned on April 2, 1982 from the United States Court of Claims by 96 Stat. 25
Davis 1982–1988
Clevenger 1990–2006
Moore 2006–present
Seat 4
Reassigned on April 2, 1982 from the United States Court of Claims by 96 Stat. 25
Kashiwa 1982–1986
Plager 1989–2000
Prost 2001–present
Seat 5
Reassigned on April 2, 1982 from the United States Court of Claims by 96 Stat. 25
Friedman 1982–1989
Lourie 1990–present
Seat 6
Reassigned on April 2, 1982 from the United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals by 96 Stat. 25
Markey 1982–1990
Bryson 1994–present
Seat 7
Reassigned on April 2, 1982 from the United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals by 96 Stat. 25
Miller 1982–1985
Archer 1985–1997
Dyk 2000–present
Seat 8
Reassigned on April 2, 1982 from the United States Court of Claims by 96 Stat. 25
Nichols 1982–1983
Newman 1984–present
Seat 9
Reassigned on April 2, 1982 from the United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals by 96 Stat. 25
Nies 1982–1995
Gajarsa 1997–present
Seat 10
Reassigned on April 2, 1982 from the United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals by 96 Stat. 25
Rich 1982–1999
Linn 1999–present
Seat 11
Reassigned on April 2, 1982 from the United States Court of Claims by 96 Stat. 25
Smith 1982–1989
Schall 1992–2009
(vacant) 2009–present
Seat 12
Established on April 2, 1982 by 96 Stat. 25
Bissell 1984–1990
Rader 1990–present

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Federal Judicial Center page on the Federal Courts Improvement Act of 1982
  2. ^ P.L. 97-164 §165, 96 Stat. 50.
  3. ^ History of the Federal Circuit
  4. ^ Holmes Group, Inc. v. Vornado Air Circulation Systems, Inc., 2005. A bill to eliminate this situation, H.R. 2955, was proposed on June 16, 2005 in the 109th Congress, but never passed.
  5. ^ South Corp. v. United States, 690 F. 2d 1368 (Fed. Cir. 1982)
  6. ^ About the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i Reassigned from the United States Court of Claims pursuant to the Federal Courts Improvement Act of 1982, 96 Stat. 25.
  8. ^ "Federal Judiciary - Judicial Vacancies". Official website of the Alliance for Justice. http://www.afj.org/judicial/judicial_selection_resources/selection_database/judicialVacancies.asp. Retrieved March 16 2006. 
  9. ^ http://www.ipo.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=IPO_Daily_News_&template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=23306
  10. ^ http://legaltimes.typepad.com/blt/2009/11/federal-circuit-chief-judge-paul-michel-announces-retirement.html
  11. ^ a b c d e f Reassigned from the United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals pursuant to the Federal Courts Improvement Act of 1982, 96 Stat. 25.
  12. ^ P.L. 97-164, §166, 96 Stat. 50

References

Further reading

  • Bennett, Marion T. (1991). The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit: A History, 1982–1990. Washington, D.C.: United States Judicial Conference Committee on the Bicentennial of the Constitution of the United States. LCCN 91-601231. 
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit: A History: 1990–2002 / compiled by members of the Advisory Council to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in celebration of the court's twentieth anniversary.. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. 2004. LCCN 2004-050209. 

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