Jessica M. Karmasek Oct. 23, 2013, 2:15pm

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) -- President Barack Obama has named a new chief judge to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

On Monday, Obama announced that he has designated Judge Patricia Campbell-Smith to head the court.

Campbell-Smith will be the first African-American chief judge of the federal court, which hears monetary claims against the federal government.

"I am proud to designate Judge Campbell-Smith to serve as chief judge on the United States Court of Federal Claims," Obama said in a statement.

"She has a long and distinguished record of service, and I am confident she will serve with distinction."

Campbell-Smith currently serves on the federal claims court. Previously, she served as a special master with the court from 2005 to 2011, and as chief special master from 2011 to 2013. In that role, she presided over litigation pursuant to the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.

Campbell-Smith also served as a career law clerk for Judge Emily Hewitt of the federal claims court from 1998 to 2005.

From 1993 to 1996, and again from 1997 to 1998, she worked at the law firm of Liskow & Lewis in New Orleans, where she focused on environmental regulatory law, patent infringement litigation and toxic tort litigation.

Campbell-Smith received her law degree from Tulane Law School in 1992 and her undergraduate degree from Duke University in 1987.

Unlike other judges, judges on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims do not have life tenure. Instead, they serve for 15-year terms and are eligible for reappointment.

The President appoints the judges of the federal claims court with the Senate's advice and consent.

Campbell-Smith will assume her new role immediately.

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