Judge Kathleen O’Malley Finally Confirmed by Senate for CAFC

Judge Kathleen O'Malley

On March 10, 2010, District Court Judge Kathleen O’Malley was nominated by President Barack Obama to succeed Alvin Schall, who retired from the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Earlier today, Judge O’Malley was confirmed by the United States Senate, see Senate Confirms Five Judicial Nominees.  O’Malley’s confirmation, along with the confirmation of 18 others in recent days, is the result of a deal between Senate Democrats and Republicans that ensured passage of 19 nominations in exchange for an agreement not to move forward with other controversial nominations, including the hotly challenged nomination of Goodwin Lui, who is Associate Dean and Professor of Law at University of California Berkeley School of Law.  O’Malley will join 15 other colleagues on the Federal Circuit, 6 of who are on senior status.

Judge O’Malley has served on the the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio since being appointed by President William J. Clinton on September 20, 1994 and confirmed by a voice vote of the Senate on October 12, 1994.  See Thomas: Nomination PN1786-103.

The Judges on the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit are now:

  • RANDALL R. RADER, Chief Judge (appointed 1990)
  • DANIEL M. FRIEDMAN, Circuit Judge (appointed 1982, senior status 1989)
  • PAULINE NEWMAN, Circuit Judge (appointed 1984)
  • GLENN L. ARCHER, JR., Circuit Judge (appointed 1985, (senior status 1997)
  • HALDANE ROBERT MAYER, Circuit Judge (appointed 1987, senior status 2010)
  • S. JAY PLAGER, Circuit Judge (appointed 1989, senior status 2000)
  • ALAN D. LOURIE, Circuit Judge (appointed 1990)
  • RAYMOND C. CLEVENGER, III, Circuit Judge (appointed 1990, senior status 2006)
  • ALVIN A. SCHALL, Circuit Judge (appointed 1992, senior status 2009)
  • WILLIAM C. BRYSON, Circuit Judge (appointed 1994)
  • ARTHUR J. GAJARSA, Circuit Judge (appointed 1997)
  • RICHARD LINN, Circuit Judge (appointed 1999)
  • TIMOTHY B. DYK, Circuit Judge (appointed 2000)
  • SHARON PROST, Circuit Judge (appointed 2001)
  • KIMBERLY A. MOORE, Circuit Judge (appointed 2006)
  • KATHLEEN O’MALLEY, Circuit Judge (appointed 2010)

Two others President Obama nominated to the Federal Circuit this year, Jimmie Reyna and Edward DuMont, will have their nominations expire with the end of the 111th Congress. Neither has yet had a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee. For more see the following from Inventive Step:

Judge O’Malley’s biography from the website for the Northern District of Ohio reads:

Prior to her appointment to the bench, Judge O’Malley served as First Assistant Attorney General and Chief of Staff for Ohio Attorney General Lee Fisher from 1992-1994. In this position, she was responsible, under the direction of the Attorney General, for the overall functioning and management of all divisions of the Attorney General’s Office, including litigation, law enforcement, legislative activities, policy initiatives and the human resources and administrative aspects of the office. From 1991-1992, Judge O’Malley was Chief Counsel to the Attorney General, overseeing the work of the office’s 350 attorneys and acting as Counsel of Record in the state’s more sensitive and complex legal battles.

From 1985-1991, she worked for Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur, where she became a partner. Judge O’Malley’s emphasis was on complex corporate and commercial litigations, including intellectual property, securities fraud, trade secrets, shareholder’s rights and large-scale coverage disputes. From 1983-1984, she was an associate at Jones, Day, Reavis and Pogue, where she practiced complex corporate litigation, with the majority of her work centering on intellectual property litigation. Judge O’Malley began her legal career as a law clerk to the Honorable Nathaniel R. Jones, Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Judge O’Malley attended Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio where she graduated magna cum laude and phi beta kappa in 1979. Her majors were honors history and economics; she graduated in both with distinction. She received her J.D. degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Order of the Coif, in 1982, where she served on Law Review and was a member of the National Mock Trial Team.


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Join the Discussion

8 comments so far.

  • [Avatar for Scott Silvers]
    Scott Silvers
    December 27, 2010 07:36 pm


    Do you think that Judge O’Malley will vote in the Tivo v. Echostar/Dish en banc?

    Thanks for your input.


  • [Avatar for Gene Quinn]
    Gene Quinn
    December 23, 2010 01:43 pm


    Went into the spam folder and approved the comment. Again, seems to be something that is internal to the spam filter. What I suspect was the culprit was the fact that you actually hyperlinked the word “here.” While I am not exactly an expert of comment spam, I do notice that hyperlinked words seem to frequently be contained in comment spam.



  • [Avatar for step back]
    step back
    December 23, 2010 01:27 pm

    I did try to post some positive notes re O’Malley’s background but for some reason the IP-Watch dog/engine chewed them up

  • [Avatar for Blind Dogma]
    Blind Dogma
    December 23, 2010 09:32 am

    I echo EG’s sentiments. Her past experience with patent matters definitely does not paint her as one who would engage in “pontificating on the ephemeral transience” of any matter.

    It’s time to step back and let her work. If you want to pre-judge her, then use her actual law experience, rather than her schooling.

  • [Avatar for EG]
    December 23, 2010 07:45 am

    JV & SB,

    Being from Ohio, I’ve had a chance to hear O’Malley speak. She should be fine for the Federal Circuit. My impression also is that she was the judge with the most experience in IP matters for the N.D. Ohio.

  • [Avatar for step back]
    step back
    December 23, 2010 06:05 am

    On a positive note and looking at her hearing responses here (PDF), one of her talks last year was titled: “Judicial Perspectives on how to present technical information to judge and jury” Boston Oct. 2009

  • [Avatar for step back]
    step back
    December 23, 2010 05:43 am

    Judge O’Malley attended Kenyon College … in 1979. Her majors were honors history and economics; she graduated in both with distinction.

    Oh goodie.

    Another one on the bench for pontificating on the ephemeral transience of electrical signals, on the scientific divide between energy and compositions of matter and on the “abstractness” of all inventions that hint at the use of applied mathematics.

    As Bilski said to Ward, “I have a bad feeling about this one.” /sarcasm

  • [Avatar for Just visiting]
    Just visiting
    December 22, 2010 10:40 pm

    Anti-patent or pro-patent? Am I going to cringe when I read her decisions or not?

    Anybody got a feel regarding her philosophy?