Edward DuMont requested that his nomination to the Federal Circuit be withdrawn. It was clear that after 19 months of inactivity by the Senate Judiciary Committee that “opposition from one or more members of the Committee minority” prevents his nomination from moving forward. Given that Democrats control the committee and the Senate, it seems unlikely that the simple opposition of one or more Republicans could prevent DuMont from even getting a hearing.
Critics will argue that the opposition results from the fact that DuMont would have been the first openly gay appeals court judge. It seems more likely that there was a problem in his background check. Committee member Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) intimated that there were “questions about his background.” Given that the committee is chaired by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), it seems unlikely that simple political opposition is the reason that he has never scheduled a hearing. It’s too bad that we’ll probably never know the real reason.
Pres. Obama has now nominated Richard Taranto as a replacement for the DuMont nomination. Taranto is a partner at the Washington, D.C. law firm of Farr & Taranto. He clerked for Judge Robert Bork on the DC Circuit and Justice Sandra O’Connor on the Supreme Court. He spent several years in the Solicitor’s Office during the 1980s.
Taranto’s practice specializes in appellate litigation. As reported by Patently-O, Taranto has significant experience in intellectual property cases, both at the Federal Circuit and the Supreme Court.
He has participated in dozens of Federal Circuit patent appeals, including several Rambus cases, Verizon v. Cox, Lucent v. Gateway, Syngenta v. Monsanto, and others. Mr. Taranto has argued three IP cases before the U.S. Supreme Court: MGM v. Grokster (contributory copyright infringement), Warner Jenkinson v. Hilton Davis (patent law doctrine of equivalents), and Two Pesos v. Taco Cabana (trade dress infringement). Westlaw lists Mr. Taranto as counsel in over 90 reported court decisions. He has taught a variety of classes as an adjunct professor, including patent law at Harvard in 2002.