Federal Circuit Chief Judge Paul R. Michel announced on Friday that he will retire from the Federal Circuit on May 31, 2010. Judge Michel was the keynote speaker at the Federal Circuit Bar Association’s annual dinner.
Judge Michel, 68, has served on the court since his appointment by President Reagan in March 1988. He has served as the Chief Judge since December 25, 2004. Judge Michel is eligible to continue his service on the court by taking senior status. Reports indicate, however, that he plans to step down from the court completely.
Judge Michel’s retirement creates a second opening on the court after Judge Schall took senior status last month. President Obama has not yet announced a replacement for Judge Schall.
Under Federal Court rules, Judge Randall Rader will replace Judge Michel as Chief Judge of the court upon the latter’s retirement. Judge Rader, 60, was appointed to the Court of Claims by President Bush in 1989 and to the Federal Circuit in 1990.
Other Possible Vacancies
Among the other active judges on the Federal Circuit, several others may possibly retire in the near future.
The senior active judge on the court is Pauline Newman. Judge Newman, 82, was appointed to the court by President Reagan in 1984. She hasn’t given any indication that she may retire, but at her age you never know.
Judge H. Robert Mayer, 68, has been on the court since 1987 and served as chief judge from 1997-2004. He is eligible for senior status.
Judge Alan Lourie, 74, has been on the court since 1990. He is also eligible for senior status.
Judge Rader, 60, would be eligible for senior status in 2014.
Judge William Bryson, 64, has been a member of the court since 1994. Judge Bryson is eligible for senior status in 2010.
Judge Arthur Gajarsa, 68, has been a member of the court since 1997. He has recently achieved sufficient time on the bench to be eligible for senior status.
Judge Richard Linn, 65, joined the court in 2000. Judge Linn will become eligible for senior status in 2013.
Judge Timothy Dyk, 72, has also been on the court since 2000. He will be eligible for senior status in 2010.
Only Judges Sharon Prost, 58, and Kimberly Moore, 41, who joined the court in 2001 and 2006, respectively, will not be eligible for senior status in the upcoming years.
Thus, by 2014, only two of the 11 currently active judges on the court will not be eligible to retire or take senior status. The court’s full capacity of judges is currently set at 12. There may be big changes ahead for this court.