By David Ingram and Mike Scarcella
President Barack Obama today named two nominees for federal appellate judgeships: a federal prosecutor for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit and a sitting federal trial judge for the Federal Circuit.
The nominee for the Federal Circuit, Judge Kathleen O’Malley, has served on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio since 1994. She teaches patent litigation at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, her alma mater, as a visiting jurist. According to the White House, O’Malley has presided over intellectual property cases and has sat, by designation, on the Federal Circuit.
If O’Malley is confirmed, she would fill what Chief Judge Paul Michel has called a “gap” on the Federal Circuit — the absence of a former district court judge. The patent bar has long called for a trial judge to fill a vacancy on that court.
“Despite the tremendous quality of the judges on the Court now, there are some identifiable gaps that a president and those advising him might consider,” Michel said in remarks last November in Washington. “[We] have no judge who has presided over jury trials on an extensive basis, no former district judge on our Court. So maybe somebody from that background would be a good choice.”
Before taking the bench, O’Malley served as the first assistant attorney general and chief of staff to the Ohio attorney general. She was chief counsel to Ohio Attorney General Lee Fischer between 1991 and 1992. O’Malley, a former associate at Jones Day, made partner at Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, where she worked from 1985 to 1991.
O’Malley’s husband, George Pappas, is an intellectual property litigation partner in the Washington office of Covington & Burling.
The nominee for the 2nd Circuit is Raymond Lohier Jr., now an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York. He is chief of the office’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force, and he helped prosecute New York lawyer Marc Dreier, convicted of defrauding investors of $700 million. He has also served as chief of the office’s Narcotics Unit.
Lohier, 44, was a senior trial attorney in the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division from 1997 to 2000. He was an associate at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton from 1993 to 1997, and, after he left, he was featured in an American Lawyer story about the firm’s efforts to attract and retain African-American lawyers. (Lohier is Haitian-American.) He earned a law degree from New York University in 1991.
In February, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that he was recommending Lohier for the 2nd Circuit. Lohier is Obama’s fourth nominee for the Manhattan-based court.