Obama Nominates Raymond Chen, Todd Hughes to Federal Circuit

By Robyn Hagan Cain on February 11, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

There are two new nominees for the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals.

Last week, President Obama announced his latest picks for the IP-focused court: Raymond T. Chen and Todd M. Hughes. Let’s get to know these gentlemen, shall we?

According to a White House press release, Chen has served as the Deputy General Counsel for Intellectual Property Law and Solicitor for the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) since 2008. He has a B.S. in electrical engineering from UCLA and a J.D. from the NYU School of Law.

Confirmation would represent a homecoming for Chen, who served as a Technical Assistant for the Federal Circuit, performing the functions of a staff attorney, before joining the USPTO.

While Hughes has never worked for the Federal Circuit, he's no stranger to the appellate court. Hughes is currently Deputy Director of the Commercial Litigation Branch of the Civil Division at the Department of Justice.

Hughes has a A.B. from Harvard College, a J.D./M.A. in English from Duke, and most of Obama's standard nominating criteria. (For those who need a refresher, the Obama formula is federal clerkship + private practice + public sector + academia = nomination.)

Hughes clerked for the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals before rising through the ranks of the Justice Department. He has also served as an adjunct lecturer at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and as an instructor for Duke University's writing program. The only thing missing from Hughes' record is a private practice stint, but that's certainly not a dealbreaker.

If confirmed, Hughes would be the first openly gay judge to sit on a federal appellate court, according to BuzzFeed. Edward DuMont, a previous Obama nominee for the same court, was also openly gay, but his nomination was held up in committee. DuMont asked Obama to withdraw his nomination last year.

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