When your district gets two new judges in the same month you get – two new orders assigning civil & criminal actions, and not always just to the judges you’d expect.
It’s a beautiful day in Plano as the “Posse” reconvenes to begin the planning process for this fall’s EDTX bench/bar meeting. The meetings (such as they are) began night before last, continued through a morning of fishing on Lake Texoma yesterday, and through the afternoon and evening at Clyde Siebman’s ranch which, inexplicably, is still in Oklahoma. We got an initial briefing from Clyde about which judges and prominent speakers are confirmed, and discussed potential panels. Those discussions will continue today with the larger group with additional input from Chief Judge Gilstrap. These are always fun meetings as we compare notes on what’s happening in the district, and see what topics the attendees would be most interested in.
Earlier this morning the U.S. Senate confirmed Beaumont attorney Michael Truncale to the EDTX bench to fill the vacancy created last year by the taking of senior status by Judge Ron Clark. Michael will be the second member of the EDTX judiciary whose mother was a Marshall girl.
Currently, EDTX jury wheels draw from lists of registered voters. Other courts, such as, for example the adjacent Northern District of Texas, draw from voter lists and drivers license lists, and eliminate duplicates. The EDTX proposes to change to a similar system including drivers licenses. If the Fifth Circuit Judicial Council approves, the change will take effect on January 1, 2020. (I know they don’t actually use rotating drums with slips of paper any more, but I’m fond of the old terminology).
We received some good news shortly before Judge Alan Albright’s investiture ceremony in Waco yesterday – Texas Deputy Solicitor General J. Campbell Barker was confirmed by the Senate for one of the three remaining EDTX vacancies. As Cam was at the ceremony we were able to congratulate him personally. When he starts is not certain – once the President signs his commission I understand there will be a small ceremony at the Texas Supreme Court to swear him in to make him official, but whether that’s this weekend or next week or later is not known yet.
That leaves two nominees pending, Michael Truncale for Beaumont and Sean Jordan for Plano. Both nominations have cleared the Judiciary committee and are just waiting on floor votes, which are expected within a few weeks.
Last December General Order 18-10 made a number of changes to the EDTX local rules. A significant one was amendment of the patent local rules dealing with expert disclosures in connection with claim construction. A recent opinion applies that change and provides some new guidance on what the requirements mean.
It’s been a landmark week in DC, and this week that included steps to fill the three remaining EDTX judicial vacancies. As readers are aware, the district has eight authorized judgeships and had been carrying four vacancies for several years prior to last fall’s confirmation of Judge Kernodle for one of the Tyler vacancies.
Another round of patent scheduling conferences yesterday across the street that resulted in some interesting dates.
President Trump’s first EDTX judicial nominee for the new Congress is Sean D. Jordan of Austin. Mr. Jordan is currently in private practice in Austin, and was formerly the principal deputy solicitor general in the Office of the Solicitor General of Texas. At one point prior to that he jumped out of airplanes for a living with the 82nd Airborne.
Back across the street yesterday for scheduling conferences in patent cases, followed by scheduling conferences in everything else. The cases discussed below are for Judge Gilstrap’s share of the Marshall patent docket, as well as the Lufkin patent docket and one Sherman patent case.