Edward DuMont, an appellate litigation partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, has sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking him to withdraw his nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

In the Nov. 4 letter obtained by The National Law Journal, DuMont wrote that he understands that the 18-month delay in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on his nomination “results from opposition on the part of one or more members of the Committee minority.”

“Under these circumstances, drawing the process out further does not seem either sensible for me or fair to the Federal Circuit, which has important work to do and deserves to be able to address it with a full complement of active judges,” DuMont wrote.

DuMont, who would have been the first openly gay federal appeals judge, was nominated in April 2010.

U.S. Court Of International Trade Judge Evan Wallach was confirmed on Nov. 8.

At that time, spokeswoman Beth Levine for ranking minority committee member Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said DuMont’s nomination has been delayed by questions about his background.

DuMont declined to comment.

Erica Chabot, a spokeswoman for Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), referred questions to the White House, which did not immediately provide comment.

Levine also did not immediately provide comment.

With Wallach’s confirmation and DuMont’s withdrawal, “there is hope that the Federal Circuit will no longer be short-staffed,” said Edward Reines, chairman of the Federal Circuit Advisory Council and a partner in the Redwood Shores, Calif., office of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. “With appeals expected to spike from the patent act, it’s a perfect time to get the Court back to full strength,” Reines said.

There is currently one vacancy on the Federal Circuit, but Obama can nominate another candidate if he accepts DuMont’s withdrawal.

Sheri Qualters can be contacted at squalters@alm.com.