On March 16, 2021, U.S. Circuit Judge Evan J. Wallach for the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals announced he plans to take senior status on May 31, 2021. This semi-retirement is set to create the first vacancy at the Federal Circuit in almost six years. The Federal Circuit handles all appeals of patent cases from Districts Courts in the U.S., and appeals from various government agencies. Thus, the Federal Circuit is the only one of the thirteen federal courts of appeal whose jurisdiction is determined entirely on the subject of the lawsuit it hears, rather than on the geographical location from which the appeal originated. This means the Federal Circuit can hear appeals from every District Court in the United States as long as it has subject matter jurisdiction. The only court in the United States with more authority over patent related issues in the United States Supreme Court.
The Federal Circuit was the only federal court of appeals that did not have any vacancies during President Donald Trump’s administration. In fact, President Trump nominated and succeeded in putting a judge in every other appellate court during his four years in office, including fifty-four judges on the federal appeals bench. However, the Federal Circuit remained untouched, and in fact currently has eight Democratic-President appointed judges, and four Republican-President appointed Judges.
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