From The Third Branch, February 2000:
The Senate confirmation of Judge Richard Linn to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit went right down to the wire in the waning hours of the 106th Congress’ first session. “I realized when the Senate confirmed me on November 19, just before they adjourned,” said Linn, “that mine would be the last judicial confirmation of the 20thcentury.” He mentioned that historical fact to his 13-year-old nephew, Christopher, whose great grandfather was Judge Orrin Lewis (E. D. Va.) and whose father and grandfather are attorneys. Christopher considered for a moment, then, with the legal acuity he’d obviously inherited, suggested his uncle therefore should be the first federal judge sworn in of the new century.
“I proposed to Chief Judge H. Robert Mayer that I be sworn in at the court on New Year’s Eve and he was very supportive,” said Linn, who couldn’t have chosen a better time or location for his ceremony. The chambers of Chief Judge Mayer look out on the Washington Monument, where fireworks and other festivities were scheduled as part of the nation’s millennium celebration.
In due course, family and friends gathered in Chief Judge Mayer’s chambers. Judge Alan Lourie (Fed. Cir.) had synchronized his watch with the cesium clock in Colorado, to assure to the second the accurate time, and at the stroke of midnight Judge Linn placed his hand on the bible to take the oath. “Just at that moment the fireworks erupted around the Monument,” relates Linn. “I was naturally focussed on the oath and making sure I didn’t leave out something, but it was difficult with all the fireworks going off.” With theatrical flair, a crescendo of fireworks broke over the Mall as Linn finished the oath. “I’ll never, ever forget it,” said Linn, the nation’s first new federal judge in the brand new 21stcentury.