Appeals court judge faces ethics questions

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The chief judge of a federal appeals court is stepping down from his post after reports that he sent a complimentary email to an attorney who had argued cases before him.
Judge Randall Rader will continue to serve as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which specializes in patent cases. He will be succeeded as chief by Judge Sharon Prost effective May 30.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Rader had sent a "laudatory email" praising the skills of a lawyer who argued two cases at the court. Such messages are considered inappropriate under ethics rules.
Rader recused himself from both cases involving the lawyer earlier this month. A spokesman for the court did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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