Howard T. Markey packed four distinguished careers into a single life time. He served as the first Chief Judge of the newly formed Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. He was an Air Force General and jet test pilot. He served as the Dean of John Marshall Law School and was a successful patent attorney in private practice. As Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit, he had a tremendous influence on the development of intellectual property law. Charged with creating uniform patent laws, Chief Judge Markey wrote more than 800 opinions and heard over 5,000 appeals. As the Judicial Conference stated: “for two decades, he wrote most of the landmark patent decisions.” He was also the only judge to have sat on all thirteen federal circuit courts of appeals for which he wrote another 250 opinions and heard over 1,400 appeals.
Judge Markey was known for his effectiveness as a judicial administrator. As the United States Judicial Conference stated: Chief Judge Markey "lived out the motto posted in his Chambers which read, ‘The best possible decision, in the shortest possible time, and the least possible cost.'” Judge Markey chaired the Conference committee which under his leadership for the first time became a real force within the federal judiciary. He was responsible for many of the leading opinions construing and applying the ethical cannons applicable to federal judicial officers.
One of his proudest achievements concerned his work with the American Inns of Court. Judge Markey firmly believed in the Inns’ mission to improve the skills, ethics, civility, and professionalism among lawyers and judges. Judge Markey was co-founder and first president of the Charles Fahy American Inn, which was the fifth in the nation to be organized. Judge Markey served on the Board of Trustees for the American Inns of Court and under his leadership the Inns of Court grew to 204 Inns located throughout the United States. Judge Markey’s vision for the American Inns of Court was summed up in a speech in 1991:
[W]e are engaging in a ‘quiet crusade’ – a crusade literally to save our profession, or as much of it as we can. In doing so, we thereby also serve the administration of justice – the very heartbeat of a free society. I harbor a fervent, fevered hope, and an unquenchable belief, that when the American Inns of Court have reached their full potential, there will be accepted though-out our society another unchallenged accolade. I believe that day will come when our total society will accept as a given and use daily as a measure, the phrase, “ethical as a lawyer".
Here at the Orange County Markey Intellectual Property Inns of Court, we hope through our service to do honor to Chief Judge Markey and to fulfill that potential he dedicated his life to achieving.