Congratulations to Judge Tiffany Cunningham

The Senate has confirmed Tiffany Cunningham, President Biden’s first pick for the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.  Judge Cunningham is expected to be sworn in this week and immediately step into her new role (although the court typically slows down during August).  Judge Cunningham will be the first African American judge on the Federal Circuit. The vote was bipartisan, although 33 republicans voted NO, including my two senators (Josh Hawley and Roy Blunt).

28 thoughts on “Congratulations to Judge Tiffany Cunningham

  1. 7

    Why did some Senators vote no?

    That’s an easy one: Easier for neanderthals to pronounce “no” than “yes.”

  2. 6

    As the AIPLA put it, Judge Cunningham is registered to practice before the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office and has spent the bulk of her career representing clients in patent-related disputes in private practice, some legal work even pro bono. She had even served as a legal clerk at the Federal Circuit.
    When was the last time anyone with such patent practice qualifications was put on the Federal Circuit by either political party?

    1. 6.1

      > When was the last time anyone with such patent practice qualifications
      > was put on the Federal Circuit by either political party?

      Judge Stoll and, before that, Judge Chen.

      1. 6.1.1

        Thanks. Yes, Judge Stoll had a patent practice experience background similar to Judge Cunningham’s, and Judge Chen had been the PTO Solicitor, but both were also appointed by the same party – by President Obama.

    1. 3.1

      33 Rs voting against her probably means that they know more than we do about her. Probably means she is anti-patent.

      1. 3.1.1

        I do not agree that a polarized vote is as you would indicate.

        Much more likely is that this merely reflects a “D” versus “R” battle, than any actual indication on the leanings of Judge Cunningham.

        This is not to say that Judge Cunningham will lean towards a Dyk view of patents (that is, she may well BE anti-patent); just that the vote is not likely a reflection of the “R’s” being all gung-ho Pro-Patent.


            An your position is rubbish (for at least the reasons stated by Anon)


              Ordinary you never have a clue and don’t here.

              If it were a party line issue, then the vote would have been 51/50 or close to that. 33 tells me that it was an R v. D thing but had something to do with the nominee.

              Now be quiet and go about your ordinary life.


                Counter point taken. Is there something about the 17 that makes it less likely that they would be “in the know” (or is there some other factor common to those 17)…?

                1. My guess anon is that it had to do with her position on patents and that the 33/17 split has to do with those that are more beholden to different industries.

                  But what it tells me is that something about her views on patents had to do with the 33/17 count. Most likely she is anti-patent and the people “in the know” know that she is anti-patent.

                2. Probably the 17 owe a lot to companies that are also anti-patent. Probably if we looked at the donations to the 17 we would find SV companies.

                3. Those that voted against are pure obstructionist intent on burning down our government. President Biden could nominate Christ himself and those 17 would gladly vote against him.

                4. OSitA – the “17” were the ones that broke party lines.

                  There is LESS your version of “pure obstructionist intent on burning down our government” and MORE a simple polarization that affects BOTH “D” and “R.”

                  Don’t kid yourself into believing that the “D’s” are any more saints than the “R’s” – they are all politicians.


                The through-line here is that (most) Republican women voted for Judge Cunningham and (most) Republican men voted against. There were only a very few exceptions among Republican men (Cornyn, Grassley, Lee, Romney, & Rubio). If you believe that those five are uniquely more beholden to SV money than (e.g.) Hawley or Braun, you are free to bring the evidence. Senators Ted Cruz, John Kennedy, & Rand Paul have all taken money from Peter Thiel (link below), so it is not clear to me that SV dollars have much explanatory power on this vote.

                link to

                1. Here is some good give and take – almost despite Greg’s policy of playing patty cake (and giving the silent treatment to those “that have been mean to him“)

                  Night Writer’s adage of “follow the money” is itself ‘money.’

                2. Maybe you are right Greg. I presumed it had something to do with the quality of her character (her personal views on patents) and not something that is simply wrong to care about.


          I’m with anon on this one Night.

          Let’s give her a chance. I’m betting she realizes the damage Dyk and the other anti-patent CAFC judges have done to innovation; especially American innovation.

      2. 3.1.2

        Night, I have an alternative explanation; that of Edmund Burke, who in the 18th century invented for the English Parliament the present day system of political parties.

        As I see it, the Republican party is divided. Some of their people in Congress still adhere to a Burkean conservative view but most of them have betrayed their electors. As Burke declared to the electors of Bristol:

        “Your Representative owes you, not his industry only,
        but his judgement; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.”

        Those of sound judgement voted in favour of Cunningham; the others betrayed their electors. Simple as that.


          I agree Max. Unless there is some hidden knowledge about her views on patents. The USA is in the midst of a culture war.

          (All of our problems in the USA are driven by corruption.)


            A corruption named “Trump” which has rotted out the GOP into a cult of personality and party of fascism/authoritarianism. Ronald Reagan is rolling over in his grave at what the GOP has become.


              If you are concerned about authoritarianism, you should be super-appalled at the current “D” regime.


          he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.”

          Pretty sure that you are taking that out of context MaxDrei to assert betrayal for following Party lines.

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