In Memory: Judge Daniel M. Friedman

PatentLawImage138Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Judge Daniel Friedman died earlier this week at the age of 95.  Judge Friedman was the last living original member of the court. He was known for his sharp intellect, friendly demeanor, and bow ties.

Judge Friedman graduated from Columbia Law School in 1940 and continued to practice law over the next 71 years (with a brief break to serve in the U.S. Army in WWII).  For the last 29 years, he has been a Judge on the Federal Circuit.   law over a span of more than 70 years — including the last 29 years on the Federal Circuit. In his practice at the Justice Department, then Solicitor Friedman argued eighty cases at the Supreme Court.

Judge Friedman took Senior Status at the Court in 1989 and his seat filled by Judge Alan Lourie. His last patent opinion (of several hundred) was released in January 2011.

Statement by Chief Judge Rader

8 thoughts on “In Memory: Judge Daniel M. Friedman

  1. 8


    link to

    After discussing and dismissing the U.S. government’s primary basis of argument (including one action that was called “so bizarre and unfair that we would be most reluctant to sustain it”), the opinion addresses the government’s additional claims with this beautifully succinct phrase,

    “The government makes several other arguments, which need not detain us long.”

    As always, Judge Friedman took a complicated issue, cut through to the core of it, and delivered a clear and reasoned opinion.

  2. 7

    RIP Judge Friedman — a wonderful human being indeed. Can anyone shed any light on the illustration that is posted with this post? Is this from Judge Friedman’s tenure as a Deputy SG?

  3. 6

    I had been introduced to Judge Danny Friedman many years earlier, but I got to know him as a friend–his label–when we sat and talked for over an hour at the FCBA Bench and Bar Conference at the Greenbrier in 2009. My easy point of entree–not that you needed one–was that I well knew and fondly remembered Judge Friedman’s friend–gone too long–long time Deputy Solicitor Louis Claiborne. Any one who remembered Danny’s friend Louis was someone Danny was delighted to talk at length and in sharp detail; and of course Danny insisted immediately that I address him just that way–he said that that is what friends do. Within that rather magical hour I spent with him in 2009, I had become his friend. The remarkable irony was that he was taken with the fact that a person so young as myself (then 57 going on 58) could remember Louis Claiborne lovingly and in detailed appreciation.

    I never found time to speak to Judge Friedman at the 2011 Bench and Bar; now I will rue that misallocation of time intensely for a while. But I will always have that wonderful hour he spent with me over a late breakfast in 2009. That, plus the privilege of teaching in Government Contracts at GW Law, where I every year can explain to a class of new government contracts students just why it is important to understand Judge Friedman’s view of a matter–even if he wrote alone to tell you what the real holding of a case might be.

    Deputy Solicitor General Louis Claiborne had taught me to understand that the right analysis of a case was usually the one arrived at by Judge Danny Friedman–whether or not it ultimately carried the day with the Circuit or its predecessor, en banc, or with the Supreme Court of the United States.

    In closing a traditional, and very apt Jewish memorial theodicy/prayer, adapted just a bit to the situation: My prayer is that Judge Danny Friedman’s memory should serve as a blessing to all who knew him, to all who encounter his work, and to all who specially value the rendering of justice –especially in the freighted context of claims for justice made against the sovereign, the United States of America. Danny, we shall not see you equal soon!

    Professor Joshua Schwartz
    E.K. Gubin Professor of Law
    Co-Director of the Government Procurement Law Program
    The George Washington University Law School

  4. 5

    I am always humbled when I learn of a fellow citizen who has dedicated his life to the advancement of such a noble cause as justice in this Constitutional Republic. A loss such as this is not easily overcome and requires those who remain to redecicate our lives to the values that this good Judge embodied in the hopes of preserving his legacy.

  5. 4

    As anyone who interacted with Judge Friedman in recent years knows, he was sharp as a tack right up to the end of his very long life. May we all be so fortunate to live so long and with no apparent decline in our mental faculties.

    Beyond having a great mind, he was a really nice guy. At conferences, he was happy to chat with anyone. What an inspiration.

  6. 3

    I recall struggling with Judge Friedman over patent opinions during the Federal Circuit’s first year. Well, I, as his clerk, was struggling. With his intellect, I think he just saw the patent cases and new puzzles to solve — and enjoyed the process.

  7. 1

    RIP good judge.

    I do believe that this was one of the guys that was generally fighting the good fight on the court during the years of calamity. It is a shame to here of his passing.

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