The Federal Circuit Bar Association today gave its support to Judge Kathleen O'Malley, the federal trial judge in Ohio whom President Barack Obama nominated yesterday to fill a vacancy on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
O'Malley, who has served on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio since 1994, has experience presiding over patent trials. She has also sat by designation on the Federal Circuit, which handles all patent appeals. The court, based in Washington, does not currently have a former trial court judge among its members.
“The Circuit community, both trial and appellate, has come to know and appreciate the excellent judgment of Judge O’Malley,” association president Scott McCaleb, a Wiley Rein partner in Washington, said in a statement today. “Her commitment to the rule of law and to the justice system are unsurpassed.”
The association said it has long supported the nomination of a U.S. district judge to the Federal Circuit. “Not only does Judge O’Malley bring to the Circuit a wealth of experience presiding over patent jury trials, she also brings a substantive expertise that will benefit the Federal Circuit community and an appreciation for the appellate process, having previously sat with the Federal Circuit by designation,” McCaleb said.
The association said it will continue to advocate for the nomination of “experienced and qualified trial judges and litigators with subject matter expertise within the Federal Circuit’s jurisdiction.” Chief Judge Paul Michel last year spoke about the benefits a trial judge would bring to the bench.
Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner litigation partner Scott Herbst, who works from the firm’s Palo Alto, Calif., office, said today that the appeals court would “benefit greatly” from having a judge with trial court experience. O’Malley would bring the “perspective of understanding what a trial judge goes through to get it right.”
O'Malley, whose husband is George Pappas, a Covington & Burling partner in Washington, was not immediately reached for comment this afternoon.