United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

Last updated
United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
(Fed. Cir.)
Seal of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.svg
Location Howard T. Markey National Courts Building
EstablishedOctober 1, 1982
Judges12
Circuit Justice John Roberts
Chief Judge Sharon Prost
www.cafc.uscourts.gov

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 Federal Circuit is particularly known for its decisions on patent law, as it is the only appellate-level court with the jurisdiction to hear patent case appeals. [3]

Case citation a system for uniquely identifying individual rulings of a court

Case citation is a system used by legal professionals to identify past court case decisions, either in series of books called reporters or law reports, or in a neutral style that identifies a decision regardless of where it is reported. Case citations are formatted differently in different jurisdictions, but generally contain the same key information.

Washington, D.C. Capital of the United States

Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington or D.C., is the capital of the United States. Founded after the American Revolution as the seat of government of the newly independent country, Washington was named after George Washington, the first president of the United States and a Founding Father. As the seat of the United States federal government and several international organizations, Washington is an important world political capital. The city, located on the Potomac River bordering Maryland and Virginia, is one of the most visited cities in the world, with more than 20 million tourists annually.

United States Congress Legislature of the United States

The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, and consists of two chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. Both senators and representatives are chosen through direct election, though vacancies in the Senate may be filled by a gubernatorial appointment. Congress has 535 voting members: 435 representatives and 100 senators. The House of Representatives has six non-voting members representing Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia in addition to its 435 voting members. Although they cannot vote in the full house, these members can address the house, sit and vote in congressional committees, and introduce legislation.

Contents

The court occupies the Howard T. Markey National Courts Building, and the adjacent Benjamin Ogle Tayloe House, the former Cosmos Club, and the Cutts-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 benches of other courts of appeals and federal district courts. As of 2016, Washington and Lee University School of Law's Millhiser Moot Courtroom had been designated as the continuity of operations site for the court. [4]

Howard T. Markey National Courts Building

The Howard T. Markey National Courts Building is a courthouse in Washington, D.C., which houses the United States Court of Federal Claims and the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. It is located at 717 Madison Place NW, east of Lafayette Square and north of the White House, and borders the Benjamin Ogle Tayloe House at 721 Madison Place NW, the former Cosmos Club building at 725 Madison Place NW, and the Cutts-Madison House at 1520 H Street NW.

Benjamin Ogle Tayloe House United States historic place

The Benjamin Ogle Tayloe House is a Federal-style house located at 21 Madison Place NW in Washington, D.C., in the United States. The house is on the northeast corner of Madison Place NW and Pennsylvania Avenue NW, directly across the street from the White House and the Treasury Building. Built in 1828 by Benjamin Ogle Tayloe, son of Colonel John Tayloe III, the house became a salon for politically powerful people in the federal government.

Cosmos Club United States national historic site

The Cosmos Club is a 501(c)(7) private social club in Washington, D.C. that was founded by John Wesley Powell in 1878 as a gentlemen's club. Among its stated goals is "The advancement of its members in science, literature, and art". Cosmos Club members have included three U.S. presidents, two U.S. vice presidents, a dozen Supreme Court justices, 36 Nobel Prize winners, 61 Pulitzer Prize winners, and 55 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 1988 the Club opened to women members.

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: [5]

Personal jurisdiction is a court's jurisdiction over the parties to a lawsuit, as opposed to subject-matter jurisdiction, which is jurisdiction over the law and facts involved in the suit. If a court does not have personal jurisdiction over a party, its rulings or decrees cannot be enforced upon that party, except by comity; i.e., to the extent that the sovereign which has jurisdiction over the party allows the court to enforce them upon that party. A court that has personal jurisdiction has both the authority to rule on the law and facts of a suit and the power to enforce its decision upon a party to the suit. In some cases, territorial jurisdiction may also constrain a court's reach, such as preventing hearing of a case concerning events occurring on foreign territory between two citizens of the home jurisdiction.

Appellate jurisdiction is the power of an appellate court to review, amend and overrule decisions of a trial court or other lower tribunal. Most appellate jurisdiction is legislatively created, and may consist of appeals by leave of the appellate court or by right. Depending on the type of case and the decision below, appellate review primarily consists of: an entirely new hearing ; a hearing where the appellate court gives deference to factual findings of the lower court; or review of particular legal rulings made by the lower court.

Title 28 is the portion of the United States Code that governs the federal judicial system.

United States Court of Federal Claims Court that hears monetary claims against the U.S. government

The United States Court of Federal Claims is a United States federal court that hears monetary claims against the U.S. government. It is the direct successor to the United States Court of Claims, which was founded in 1855, and is therefore a revised version of one of the oldest federal courts in the country.

United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims

The United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims is a federal court of record that was established under Article I of the United States Constitution, and is thus referred to as an Article I tribunal (court). The court has exclusive national jurisdiction to provide independent federal judicial oversight and review of final decisions of the Board of Veterans' Appeals.

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) is an administrative law body of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) which decides issues of patentability. It was formed on September 16, 2012 as one part of the America Invents Act. As of July, 2015, the Chief Administrative Patent Judge is David P. Ruschke. Prior to its formation, the main judicial body in the USPTO was the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI).

Howard T. Markey National Courts Building. United States Court of Federal Claims.JPG
Howard T. Markey National Courts Building.

Although the Federal Circuit typically hears all appeals from any United States District Court where the original action included a complaint arising under the patent laws, the Supreme Court decided that the Federal Circuit does not have jurisdiction if the patent claims arose solely as counterclaims by the defendant. [6] Congress, however, overruled the Supreme Court in the America Invents Act of 2011. As a result, the Federal Circuit hears all appeals where the original action included a complaint or compulsory counterclaim arising under the patent laws.

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. [7]

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 judges of the Federal Circuit as of 2016 Active and senior judges of the Federal Circuit 2016.jpg
The judges of the Federal Circuit as of 2016

The Federal Circuit may have 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 up to four law clerks, while each judge in senior status employs a judicial assistant and one law clerk.

Current composition of the court

As of July 8,2015:

#TitleJudgeDuty stationBornTerm of serviceAppointed by
Active Chief Senior
30Chief Judge Sharon Prost Washington, D.C. 19512001–present2014–present G.W. Bush
16Circuit Judge Pauline Newman Washington, D.C. 19271984–present Reagan
22Circuit Judge Alan David Lourie Washington, D.C. 19351990–present G.H.W. Bush
29Circuit Judge Timothy B. Dyk Washington, D.C. 19372000–present Clinton
31Circuit Judge Kimberly Ann Moore Washington, D.C. 19682006–present G.W. Bush
32Circuit Judge Kathleen M. O'Malley Washington, D.C. 19562010–present Obama
33Circuit Judge Jimmie V. Reyna Washington, D.C. 19522011–present Obama
34Circuit Judge Evan Wallach Washington, D.C. 19492011–present Obama
35Circuit Judge Richard G. Taranto Washington, D.C. 19572013–present Obama
36Circuit Judge Raymond T. Chen Washington, D.C. 19682013–present Obama
37Circuit Judge Todd M. Hughes Washington, D.C. 19662013–present Obama
38Circuit Judge Kara Farnandez Stoll Washington, D.C. 19682015–present Obama
19Senior Circuit Judge Haldane Robert Mayer Washington, D.C. 19411987–20101997–20042010–present Reagan
21Senior Circuit Judge S. Jay Plager Washington, D.C. 19311989–20002000–present G.H.W. Bush
23Senior Circuit Judge Raymond Charles Clevenger III Washington, D.C. 19371990–20062006–present G.H.W. Bush
25Senior Circuit Judge Alvin Anthony Schall Washington, D.C. 19441992–20092009–present G.H.W. Bush
26Senior Circuit Judge William Curtis Bryson Washington, D.C. 19451994–20132013–present Clinton
28Senior Circuit Judge Richard Linn Washington, D.C. 19441999–20122012–present Clinton

List of former judges

#JudgeStateBorn–diedActive service Chief Judge Senior status Appointed byReason for
termination
1 Don Nelson Laramore IN 1906–19891982–1989 Eisenhower [8] death
2 Giles Rich NY 1904–19991982–1999 Eisenhower [9] death
3 James Lindsay Almond Jr. VA 1898–19861982–1986 Kennedy [9] death
4 Oscar Hirsh Davis DC 1914–19881982–1988 Kennedy [8] death
5 Arnold Wilson Cowen TX 1905–20071982–2007 L. Johnson [8] death
6 Philip Nichols Jr. DC 1907–19901982–19831983–1990 L. Johnson [8] death
7 Byron George Skelton TX 1905–20041982–2004 L. Johnson [8] death
8 Phillip Benjamin Baldwin TX 1924–20021982–19861986–1991 L. Johnson [9] retirement
9 Howard Thomas Markey IL 1920–20061982–19911982–1990 Nixon [9] retirement
10 Marion Tinsley Bennett MO 1914–20001982–19861986–2000 Nixon [8] death
11 Shiro Kashiwa HI 1912–19981982–1986 Nixon [8] retirement
12 Jack Richard Miller IA 1916–19941982–19851985–1994 Nixon [9] death
13 Daniel Mortimer Friedman DC 1916–20111982–19891989–2011 Carter [8] death
14 Edward Samuel Smith MD 1919–20011982–19891989–2001 Carter [8] death
15 Helen W. Nies DC 1925–19961982–19951990–19941995–1996 Carter [9] death
17 Jean Galloway Bissell SC 1936–19901984–1990 Reagan death
18 Glenn Leroy Archer Jr. DC 1929–20111985–19971994–19971997–2011 Reagan death
20 Paul Redmond Michel PA 1941–present1988–20102004–2010 Reagan retirement
24 Randall Ray Rader VA 1949–present1990–20142010–2014 G.H.W. Bush retirement
27 Arthur J. Gajarsa MD 1941–present1997–20112011–2012 Clinton retirement

Chief judges

Chief Judges
Markey 1982–1990
Nies 1990–1994
Archer, Jr. 1994–1997
Mayer 1997–2004
Michel 2004–2010
Rader 2010–2014
Prost 2014–present

Chief judges have administrative responsibilities with respect to their circuits, and preside over any panel on which they serve unless the circuit justice (i.e., the Supreme Court justice responsible for the circuit) is also on the panel. Unlike the Supreme Court, where one justice is specifically nominated to be chief, the office of chief judge rotates among the circuit judges. To be chief, 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 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.

When the office was created in 1948, the chief judge was 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. After August 6, 1959, judges could not become or remain chief after turning 70 years old. The current rules have been in operation since October 1, 1982.

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. [10] 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.

See also

Notes

  1. "Federal Courts Improvement Act of 1982". History or the Federal Judiciary. Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved 2011-11-21.
  2. Pub.L.   97–164 §165, 96  Stat.   50.
  3. USCAFC Court Jurisdiction
  4. "U.S. Appeals Court for the Federal Circuit to Hear Cases at W&L Law" . Retrieved 2016-03-08.
  5. History of the Federal Circuit
  6. Holmes Group, Inc. v. Vornado Air Circulation Systems, Inc., 2005.
  7. South Corp. v. United States , 690 F.2d 1368 (Fed. Cir. 1982)
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Reassigned from the United States Court of Claims pursuant to the Federal Courts Improvement Act of 1982, Pub.L.   97–164 §165, 96  Stat.   50.
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Reassigned from the United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals pursuant to the Federal Courts Improvement Act of 1982, Pub.L.   97–164 §165, 96  Stat.   50.
  10. Pub.L.   97–164 §166, 96  Stat.   50.

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References

Further reading