Chief Judge Paul Michel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit announced Friday evening that he is stepping down as chief and retiring from the judiciary effective May 31, 2010, the Federal Circuit Bar Association said Saturday.
Michel, the chief since Dec. 25, 2004, announced his retirement plans at the bar association's 25th annual dinner, held at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel in Northwest Washington, D.C. Michel, who has served on the court for 21 years, was the guest speaker.
"Chief Judge Michel has been a tireless and passionate leader of the Court, as well as a friend of the Association and the broad spectrum legal community within its jurisdiction," the Federal Circuit Bar Association said in a statement Saturday. The association said Michel's speech "rallied the community to serve and protect the Federal Circuit and the judiciary, as well as all institutions of governance."
Judge Randall Rader is next in line for chief judge, the bar association said. Rader was appointed to the United States Claims Court by President George H. W. Bush in 1989 and served there until his appointment to the Federal Circuit in 1990. (The Claims Court was changed in 1992 to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.)
In a speech delivered in June on the state of the Federal Circuit, Michel, who is 68, noted that five of the 12 active judges on the court are eligible to retire or assume senior status. (Click here for a copy of the speech.)
"We thus face the potential of a generational reconstitution of the membership of the court," Michel said, according to his prepared remarks. "I hope the Association will continue its growing efforts to assure strong qualifications and a minimum of pure politics in these selections."
This article first appeared on The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times.