In his blog, Bill Vobach reports on the recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Federal Circuit nominee Richard Taranto. Vobach reports:
It appeared that the hearing was only attended by three senators — Senator Franken (Minnesota), Senator Grassley (Iowa), and Senator Lee (Utah). Questions were asked by all three senators. Senator Franken asked Mr. Taranto about his clerking for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Senator Grassley asked Mr. Taranto about the Defense of Marriage Act. Senator Lee questioned Mr. Taranto about judicial philosophy. No material, if any, questions were asked about patent law.
There do not appear to be any roadblocks in the way of Mr. Taranto’s confirmation and we can expect that he will be joining Chief Judge Rader and his colleagues in short order.
Mr. Taranto is an appellate and Supreme Court litigator at the small but well established DC firm of Farr & Taranto. 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). He has taught a variety of classes as an adjunct professor, including patent law at Harvard in 2002. Taranto graduated from Yale Law School in 1981. He clerked for Judge Abraham Sofaer on the Southern District of New York; Judge Robert Bork on the D.C. Circuit; and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court.
During his discussion Mr. Taranto noted that both of his grandmothers are 100-years-old and still living. I suspect that actuaries would agree that this gives Mr. Taranto a good chance of living a long time as well. He is current 54 years old.
Taranto’s favorite non-living Supreme Court justice: Justice Harlan.
Taranto was nominated in November 2011.
* * * * *
The appellate court now consists of eleven circuit judges: Chief Judge Rader along with Judges Newman, Lourie, Bryson, Linn, Dyk, Prost, Moore, O’Malley, Reyna, and Wallach. Mr. Taranto will fill the bench as number twelve. Judges Mayer, Plager, Clevenger, Gajarsa and Schall all sit on the bench with senior status. Judges Newman, Lourie, Bryson, and Dyk are all eligible to elect senior status and Judge Linn will be eligible in April of this year. It is likely that at least two positions will open-up during the next year.