By Tony Dutra
The U.S. Senate voted 99-0 Nov. 8 to confirm Evan Jonathan Wallach's nomination to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
President Obama nominated Wallach July 28 to fill the vacancy on the court created by Judge Arthur J. Gajarsa's acceptance of senior status.
Wallach has a long history of public service and currently serves as judge at the U.S. Court of International Trade. His Sept. 7 hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee was not controversial, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), a close friend, gave a glowing introduction. The full committee reported his nomination Oct. 6 in a unanimous voice vote.
After Wallach takes his place on the appeals court bench, 11 of the 12 active judge seats will be filled.
Litigator Edward Carroll DuMont's nomination to fill the other open slot remains pending more than 18 months after his initial nomination. If confirmed, DuMont would be the first openly gay federal appellate court judge, which may be a factor in the judiciary committee's failure to even schedule a hearing.
Wallach was born in 1951 in Arizona. He received his J.D. at the University of California Berkeley in 1976, and a Bachelor of Laws with honors in International Law from the University of Cambridge, England, in 1981.
He served in the office of the Judge Advocate of the U.S. Army from 1976-82. Wallach was a private practitioner with Lionel Sawyer & Collins, Las Vegas, Nev., from 1982-95, according to his biography on the CIT website, but he held other positions during that period.
From 1987-88, he served as general counsel and public policy advisor to Reid, and beginning in 1989, he served as legal advisor to the Judge Advocate Corps of the Nevada National Guard. During Wallach's Sept. 7 hearing, Reid said that Wallach interrupted his private practice to take the JAG position at the start of the first Iraq war.
President Bill Clinton appointed Wallach to the CIT in 1995. In 1997, Wallach joined the adjunct faculty of the New York Law School as a professor in the law of war. He is also listed on the faculty of the Brooklyn Law School in the same capacity, and he has authored a number of law of war articles.
At his Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Wallach noted his limited intellectual property experience.
In 2001, he sat by designation on a district court case in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada. Mikohn Gaming Corp. v. Acres Gaming Inc., No. CV-S-97-1383- EJW (LRL) (D. Nev. Aug. 2, 2001). After a 10-day trial, Wallach upheld a jury verdict of $1.5 million in favor of the patent owner.
“I also did some intellectual property work for my press clients but more along the lines of trademark,” Wallach said at the hearing. He also taught IP law, in meetings organized by the Patent and Trademark Office, to judges in Dubai in 2006 and in Mongolia in 2008.
Wallach sat by designation on three courts of appeal and two other district courts in cases not involving IP issues.