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BY PAUL R. MICHEL He had already been chief judge of a national appellate court for 10 years when Congress made him chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in 1982. His testimony had helped persuade Congress to create the new court. As far as I know, Howard Markey, who died earlier this month at the age of 85, was the only judge to be chosen as chief by Congress. Later, it renamed the Federal Circuit’s courthouse in his honor. Under Chief Judge Markey’s decisive leadership, the new circuit court quickly unified patent law while earning praise for its work in government contract, government personnel, and international trade cases, as well. Commentators also appreciated the court’s speedy decisions and efficient, economical operations. In fact, the judges had fewer clerks than other appellate benches and no central staff attorneys to help them. With such a lean staff, Chief Judge Markey regularly returned unspent appropriations. A plaque in his office promised: “The best possible decision in the shortest possible time and at the least possible cost.” He delivered. Leadership for Howard Markey began with setting a vigorous example. He simply heard more appeals, wrote more opinions, gave more speeches, drafted more articles, taught more law school classes, and judged more moot courts than any other member of the court. And he did so despite all his administrative duties. Meanwhile, he chaired both the board of directors of the American Inns of Court and the Committee on Codes of Conduct of the Judicial Conference of the United States. He traveled constantly and sat with every regional circuit court, the first and only judge to do so. Despite a life in overdrive, he was the happiest and funniest man I ever met, routinely reeling off five or six successive jokes without pausing to recollect, or even to breathe. Family members report that he had a perfect memory, an asset especially helpful to a tireless storyteller, which he was. He chain-smoked his way through the day in chambers, sipping thick black coffee in mugs repeatedly refilled by staff, a habit from his World War II and Korea pilot days. With his endless energy, he even hauled coolers filled with beer and sodas to the court team’s softball games on the Mall, occasionally taking right field. His hitting was better than his base running. But then he once told me, “The only exercise I ever get is jumping to conclusions.” Finally, Howard Markey was beloved by many, from chief justices to janitors. At his funeral service on May 9 in Chicago, friends, former law clerks, and other employees came from China, New York, Washington, and California, among other far-off locations. Famous for fast decisions, he interviewed potential law clerks in less than 10 minutes. Those he chose reveled in the challenge and never forgot the joy of that adventure. He will be missed by them, by colleagues, by many, and by me.
Paul R. Michel is the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
BY SHERMAN L. COHN When giving a speech, Howard T. Markey often opened with these words: “Thank you for that generous introduction. I am happy to be here. Indeed, I am happy to be anywhere after my jet test pilot experiences.” Judge Markey, who died earlier this month at the age of 85, was very proud of his service as a test pilot in World War II, work that required equal measures of courage and luck. He had no plans to become a lawyer; a sterling career that would help change the face of American law began with a chance encounter a few years later. One day in the late 1940s, after he gave a lecture on jet propulsion, Markey was approached by the senior partner in a leading Chicago patent law firm, who was impressed by the clarity of his explanation and, on the spot, offered to pay 60 percent of young Howard’s law school expenses and to give him a job upon graduation. Markey took up the challenge, enrolled in law school, and after graduating went to work in that firm. In time he became the leading lawyer at Parker, Carter & Markey. I first met him in early 1983. The first American Inn of Court had been founded in Utah a few years before, and a group of us at the Georgetown University Law Center wanted to follow suit. But we needed a sparkplug judge, and we found one in then Chief Judge Howard Markey of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. With Judge Markey’s support, invitations went out to a number of leading judges and lawyers. They all came. And the Charles Fahy American Inn of Court (named for the late D.C. Circuit judge) was founded in May 1983, the first Inn in the D.C. area and the fifth in the nation. Today the American Inns number some 360, in every state, with approximately 25,000 current members, who meet regularly to share skills, mentor younger attorneys, and further the ethical practice of law. While the late Chief Justice Warren Burger is rightfully credited as the movement’s intellectual godfather, Judge Clifford Wallace of the 9th Circuit kept the idea alive, and Judge A. Sherman Christensen of Utah honed the embryonic concept into a workable formula. Judge Markey brought the passion that drove the early development of the American Inns. In the fall of 1983, Chief Justice Burger formed a committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States to explore whether there should be a national structure to promote the American Inns concept. The committee concluded yes. The national organization was formed in June 1985, and after Judge Aldon Anderson’s brief tenure, Judge Markey was named chairman of the board. I served as president. In these capacities we worked closely together for 11 years. In 1985 only eight American Inns had been organized, and the national group had neither funds nor staff. The concept of an organization, separate from the bar, that would promote ethics, skills, and professionalism had to be sold to judges and lawyers alike. Judge Markey was the man for the job. At one time or another, he had sat on each of the 13 federal courts of appeals — a singular achievement in itself — and knew judges on appellate and trial courts all over the country. He also knew every member of the Supreme Court. And he called on his friends to join in what he termed a “quiet crusade” to save the American legal profession. Judge Markey often said that we need to re-create the profession so that people will say “As ethical as a lawyer.” He believed that being a lawyer was a sacred responsibility, one that was essential to America and all that it stands for. Beyond a long list of professional accomplishments, Howard Markey took seriously the charge to live the years granted him. He was a great storyteller with a wonderful sense of humor and a true friend to thousands of people in all walks of life. He was also husband of his beloved Beth, father of their children, and grandfather to the next generation. His credo is best put in his own words: “Each of us spends so little time on this planet. Yet it is sad when a person lives 70 years, and freedom never knew that he or she was here. I speak for no one else, but when my work is done and my time is run, my fervent, fevered hope is that my children will say of me, �He helped preserve for us the blessing of our liberty.’ “ America is better because Howard Markey lived. That is the greatest tribute of all. We shall miss him.
Sherman L. Cohn is a professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center.

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