There are no vacancies in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, but looking forward, Chief Judge Paul Michel offered his views this week on what he’d want to see in a nominee.
Michel is not involved in judge-picking but is offering suggestions on what he would look for in a nominee to the Federal Circuit: a district judge with experience in patent litigation; a trial lawyer with a background in patent law and complex civil litigation; or a chief corporate lawyer who has worked in private practice in the patent arena.
“These are the things hopefully the judge pickers of the world are thinking about,” Michel said yesterday during a panel discussion sponsored by the Federal Circuit Bar Association and The George Washington University Law School.
In a follow-up interview, Michel, appointed to the court in 1988, calls the Federal Circuit “highly diverse” with a bench made up of professors, Justice Department lawyers, and former private practitioners. But he notes there are no former district judges on the Federal Circuit.
In the last nine years, three judges have been appointed to the Federal Circuit: Timothy Dyk (2000); Sharon Prost (2001); and Kimberly Moore (2006). Dyk was a Jones Day partner, specializing in First Amendment law and appeals, before joining the court. Prost was serving as chief counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee. And Moore was a professor at George Mason University Law School, where she taught intellectual property.
Michel is expecting at least one judge to take senior status by the end of the year, opening up a vacancy on the 12-judge court. In the next two years or so, eight judges on the bench will be eligible to retire.