The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (in case citations, Fed. Cir. or C.A.F.C.) is a United States court of appeals that has special appellate jurisdiction over certain types of specialized cases in the U.S. federal court system. It has exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all U.S. federal cases involving patents, trademarks, government contracts, veterans' benefits, public safety officers' benefits, Federal employees' benefits, and various other categories. Unlike other federal courts, the Federal Circuit has no jurisdiction over cases involving criminal, bankruptcy, immigration, or U.S. state law.
|United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit|
|Location||Howard T. Markey National Courts Building|
(717 Madison Place, NW
|Established||October 1, 1982|
|Circuit Justice||John Roberts|
|Chief Judge||Kimberly A. Moore|
Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Federal Circuit was created in 1982 with passage of the Federal Courts Improvement Act, 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. The court occupies the Howard T. Markey National Courts Building as well as the adjacent Benjamin Ogle Tayloe House, former Cosmos Club building, and the Cutts-Madison House in Washington, D.C., on Lafayette Square. 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[update], Washington and Lee University School of Law's Millhiser Moot Courtroom had been designated as the continuity of operations site for the court.
The Federal Circuit is unique among the courts of appeals in that its jurisdiction is based wholly upon subject matter, not 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:
- Article I tribunals:
- United States Court of Federal Claims
- United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims
- United States Trademark Trial and Appeal Board
- United States Patent Trial and Appeal Board (formerly known as the United States Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences)
- Boards of contract appeals (for Government contract disputes pursuant to the Contract Disputes Act of 1978):
- United States Merit Systems Protection Board (federal employment and employment benefits)
- United States International Trade Commission
- Article III tribunals:
- United States Court of International Trade
- United States district courts relating to:
- Patents, including appeals arising from an action against the Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks under 35 U.S.C. § 145
- The Little Tucker Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1346
- Section 211 of the Economic Stabilization Act of 1970;
- Section 5 of the Emergency Petroleum Allocation Act of 1973;
- Section 523 of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975; and
- Section 506(c) of the Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978
- Office of Congressional Workplace Rights
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 in Holmes Group, Inc. v. Vornado Air Circulation Systems, Inc. (2002) that the Federal Circuit does not have jurisdiction if the patent claims arose solely as counterclaims by the defendant. However, Congress changed the law in the America Invents Act of 2011, requiring the Federal Circuit to hear all appeals where the original action included a complaint or compulsory counterclaim arising under the patent laws. Thus, the Supreme Court's 2002 Holmes ruling no longer has the force of law.
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 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.
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.
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 edit
As of March 16, 2022[update]:
|#||Title||Judge||Duty station||Born||Term of service||Appointed by|
|31||Chief Judge||Kimberly A. Moore||Washington, D.C.||1968||2006–present||2021–present||—||G.W. Bush|
|16||Circuit Judge||Pauline Newman||Washington, D.C.||1927||1984–present||—||—||Reagan|
|22||Circuit Judge||Alan David Lourie||Washington, D.C.||1935||1990–present||—||—||G.H.W. Bush|
|29||Circuit Judge||Timothy B. Dyk||Washington, D.C.||1937||2000–present||—||—||Clinton|
|30||Circuit Judge||Sharon Prost||Washington, D.C.||1951||2001–present||2014–2021||—||G.W. Bush|
|33||Circuit Judge||Jimmie V. Reyna||Washington, D.C.||1952||2011–present||—||—||Obama|
|35||Circuit Judge||Richard G. Taranto||Washington, D.C.||1957||2013–present||—||—||Obama|
|36||Circuit Judge||Raymond T. Chen||Washington, D.C.||1968||2013–present||—||—||Obama|
|37||Circuit Judge||Todd M. Hughes||Washington, D.C.||1966||2013–present||—||—||Obama|
|38||Circuit Judge||Kara Farnandez Stoll||Washington, D.C.||1968||2015–present||—||—||Obama|
|39||Circuit Judge||Tiffany P. Cunningham||Washington, D.C.||1976||2021–present||—||—||Biden|
|40||Circuit Judge||Leonard P. Stark||Washington, D.C.||1969||2022–present||—||—||Biden|
|19||Senior Circuit Judge||Haldane Robert Mayer||Washington, D.C.||1941||1987–2010||1997–2004||2010–present||Reagan|
|21||Senior Circuit Judge||S. Jay Plager||Washington, D.C.||1931||1989–2000||—||2000–present||G.H.W. Bush|
|23||Senior Circuit Judge||Raymond C. Clevenger||Washington, D.C.||1937||1990–2006||—||2006–present||G.H.W. Bush|
|25||Senior Circuit Judge||Alvin Anthony Schall||Washington, D.C.||1944||1992–2009||—||2009–present||G.H.W. Bush|
|26||Senior Circuit Judge||William Curtis Bryson||Washington, D.C.||1945||1994–2013||—||2013–present||Clinton|
|28||Senior Circuit Judge||Richard Linn||Washington, D.C.||1944||1999–2012||—||2012–present||Clinton|
|34||Senior Circuit Judge||Evan Wallach||Washington, D.C.||1949||2011–2021||—||2021–present||Obama|
List of former judges edit
|#||Judge||State||Born–died||Active service||Chief Judge||Senior status||Appointed by||Reason for|
|1||Don Nelson Laramore||IN||1906–1989||—||—||1982–1989||Eisenhower / Operation of law||death|
|2||Giles Rich||NY||1904–1999||1982–1999||—||—||Eisenhower / Operation of law||death|
|3||J. Lindsay Almond||VA||1898–1986||—||—||1982–1986||Kennedy / Operation of law||death|
|4||Oscar Hirsh Davis||DC||1914–1988||1982–1988||—||—||Kennedy / Operation of law||death|
|5||Arnold Wilson Cowen||TX||1905–2007||—||—||1982–2007||L. Johnson / Operation of law||death|
|6||Philip Nichols Jr.||DC||1907–1990||1982–1983||—||1983–1990||L. Johnson / Operation of law||death|
|7||Byron George Skelton||TX||1905–2004||—||—||1982–2004||L. Johnson / Operation of law||death|
|8||Phillip Baldwin||TX||1924–2002||1982–1986||—||1986–1991||L. Johnson / Operation of law||retirement|
|9||Howard Thomas Markey||IL||1920–2006||1982–1991||1982–1990||—||Nixon / Operation of law||retirement|
|10||Marion T. Bennett||MO||1914–2000||1982–1986||—||1986–2000||Nixon / Operation of law||death|
|11||Shiro Kashiwa||HI||1912–1998||1982–1986||—||—||Nixon / Operation of law||retirement|
|12||Jack Richard Miller||IA||1916–1994||1982–1985||—||1985–1994||Nixon / Operation of law||death|
|13||Daniel Mortimer Friedman||DC||1916–2011||1982–1989||—||1989–2011||Carter / Operation of law||death|
|14||Edward Samuel Smith||MD||1919–2001||1982–1989||—||1989–2001||Carter / Operation of law||death|
|15||Helen W. Nies||DC||1925–1996||1982–1995||1990–1994||1995–1996||Carter / Operation of law||death|
|17||Jean Galloway Bissell||SC||1936–1990||1984–1990||—||—||Reagan||death|
|18||Glenn L. Archer Jr.||DC||1929–2011||1985–1997||1994–1997||1997–2011||Reagan||death|
|20||Paul Redmond Michel||PA||1941–present||1988–2010||2004–2010||—||Reagan||retirement|
|24||Randall Ray Rader||VA||1949–present||1990–2014||2010–2014||—||G.H.W. Bush||retirement|
|27||Arthur J. Gajarsa||MD||1941–present||1997–2011||—||2011–2012||Clinton||retirement|
|32||Kathleen M. O'Malley||OH||1956–present||2010–2022||—||—||Obama||retirement|
Chief judges edit
Chief judges have administrative responsibilities with respect to their circuits, and preside over any panel on which they serve, unless the circuit justice (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, with seniority determined first by commission date, then by age. The chief judge serves for a term of seven years, or until age 70, whichever occurs first. If no judge qualifies to be chief, the youngest judge over the age of 65 who has served on the court for at least one year shall act as chief until another judge qualifies. If no judge has served on the court for more than a year, the most senior judge shall act as chief. Judges can forfeit or resign their chief judgeship or acting chief judgeship while retaining their active status as a circuit judge.
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. This made Howard T. Markey, former chief judge of the Court of Customs and Patent Appeals, the first chief judge.
Succession of seats edit
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 edit
- USCAFC Court Jurisdiction
- "Federal Courts Improvement Act of 1982". History or the Federal Judiciary. Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
- Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 97–164 §165, 96 Stat. 50.
- "U.S. Appeals Court for the Federal Circuit to Hear Cases at W&L Law". March 7, 2016. Retrieved March 8, 2016.
- "History of the Federal Circuit".
- Holmes Group, Inc. v. Vornado Air Circulation Systems, Inc., 535 U.S. 826 (2002).
- Holmes Group, Inc. v. Vornado Air Circulation Systems, Inc., 2002.
- South Corp. v. United States, 690 F.2d 1368 (Fed. Cir. 1982)
- Reassigned from the United States Court of Claims pursuant to the Federal Courts Improvement Act of 1982, Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 97–164 §165, 96 Stat. 50.
- Reassigned from the United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals pursuant to the Federal Courts Improvement Act of 1982, Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 97–164 §165, 96 Stat. 50.
- 28 U.S.C. § 45
- 62 Stat. 871, 72 Stat. 497, 96 Stat. 51
- Pub. L.Tooltip Public Law (United States) 97–164 §166, 96 Stat. 50.
General references edit
- "OSCAR". Federal Law Clerk Information System. Retrieved May 21, 2008.
- Source for the duty stations for senior judges
- "U. S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit". History of the Federal Judiciary. Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved October 21, 2011.
- Source for the state, lifetime, term of active judgeship, term of chief judgeship, term of senior judgeship, appointer, termination reason, and seat information
Further reading edit
- Abramson, Bruce D. (2007). The Secret Circuit: The Little-Known Court Where the Rules of the Information Age Unfold. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-0-7425-5281-4.
- 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 2004050209.
- 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 91601231.
- Flanders, Steven (2010). The Federal Circuit – a Judicial Innovation : Establishing a U.S. Court of Appeals. Twelve Tables Press. ISBN 978-0-9747-2866-7. LCCN 2011290640.
- Henry, Matthew D.; Turner, John L. (2006). "The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit's Impact on Patent Litigation". Journal of Legal Studies. 35 (1): 85–117. doi:10.1086/498834. JSTOR 498834. S2CID 222321525.