Daniel E. O’Toole
& Clerk of Court
Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Federal Circuit on April 2, 2007
The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held a special session of the court on April 2, 2007 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Federal Courts Improvement Act of 1982, the law which created the court. Chief Judge Michel presided, with all the active and senior members of the court joining him on the bench, and over 350 others in attendance. In his opening remarks, Chief Judge Michel welcomed judges from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, the United States Court of Federal Claims, the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. Chief Judge Michel also recognized the Honorable Robert Kastenmeier, former chair of the House Judiciary Committee and sponsor in the House of Representatives of the bill that created the Federal Circuit. Leaders of the Federal Circuit Bar Association and the Federal Circuit Historical Society, co-sponsors of the event, also were introduced. Four preeminent members of the bar discussed the original purpose of the legislation and the success of the Federal Circuit in achieving its stated purpose.
Fred H. Fielding, White House Counsel, who served as Counsel to the President for President Ronald Reagan, and was present at the Rose Garden ceremony on April 2, 1982 when President Reagan signed the bill into law, was the first to speak. He was followed by Daniel J. Meador, the James Monroe Professor of Law Emeritus at the University of Virginia School of Law, who was also present at the signing in 1982. Professor Meador is known to many as the "father" of the Federal Circuit, for his role is developing the idea of creating the Federal Circuit during his tenure at the Department of Justice as Assistant Attorney General in the Office for Improvements in the Administration of Justice from 1977 to 1979. Donald R. Dunner, partner in the firm Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett and Dunner, and author of a two-volume treatise titled Federal Circuit Practice and Procedure followed Professor Meador. As a leading member of the patent bar, Mr. Dunner played an important role in support of the creation of the Federal Circuit, testifying at the hearings that were held on the bill to create the Federal Circuit. Finally, Senior Judge Daniel M. Friedman of the Federal Circuit, who is the lone surviving member of the original court as it was constituted in 1982, and who was also present at the Rose Garden signing ceremony, discussed the creation of the court from the perspective of his position as Chief Judge of the Court of Claims, one of the two predecessor courts of the Federal Circuit. A reception was held in the Dolley Madison House immediately following the special session.
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