“Sorry…96 Is Too Old” – Federal Judge Files a Lawsuit Against a Committee That Says She Is Too Old for the Bench

A 96-year-old U.S. federal appeals court judge, Pauline Newman, has been suspended from hearing cases for a year due to concerns regarding her mental fitness to continue serving on the bench. This has ignited a public dispute within the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, where Judge Newman has been a fixture for nearly four decades.

Appointed for Life

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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, responsible for deciding cases on government contracts, patents, and trademarks, is debating whether Judge Newman, appointed during President Ronald Reagan’s tenure, should continue her service.

Currently, Federal judges in the United States are appointed for life, and there is no mandatory retirement age.

Reasonable Concerns

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The Federal Circuit’s Judicial Council, consisting of Judge Newman’s fellow colleagues, has ordered her suspension, citing “reasonable concerns” about her mental fitness. 

An Investigation

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The suspension comes after Judge Newman’s refusal to cooperate with an investigation into her mental state.

The council claims that she may “suffer from a disability preventing her from effectively discharging the duties of her office.”

Seriously Flawed

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Judge Newman’s suspension has been met with legal challenges. Her attorney, Greg Dolin, believes the sanction is “flatly illegal” and criticizes the process as “seriously flawed.” 

Seeking Another Committee

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Newman said, “The Judicial Council has been willing to grab onto as fact any allegation to support what appears to be a predetermined conclusion,” and they plan to seek a review from another committee overseeing judicial conduct nationwide.

A Federal Lawsuit

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Furthermore, Judge Newman had filed a federal lawsuit against her fellow judges in May, alleging that the investigation was initiated after she declined Chief Judge Kimberly Moore’s demands that she step down. 

The Evidence

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The Judicial Council says their decision was based on interviews with court staff, which indicated “significant mental deterioration,” including memory loss, confusion, and paranoia.

A Backlog of Cases

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According to the council’s order, Judge Newman had also fallen behind her colleagues in issuing opinions and amassed a backlog of cases. They stated, “Judge Newman has been having trouble recalling events, conversations, and information just days old and having trouble comprehending basic information that court staff communicate to her.”

The Defense

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However, Judge Newman’s lawyers argue that the suspension recommendation overlooked key evidence, “including a statement from a qualified neurologist that Judge Newman’s ‘cognitive function is sufficient to continue her participation in her court’s proceedings.’

They also argue that her productivity has not decreased over time.

The Accusation

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In response, Judge Newman’s attorneys accused Chief Judge Moore and the committee of having a single-minded goal of “keeping Judge Newman off the bench via the exercise of raw power unconstrained by statutory requirements, constitutional limits, any notions of due process, conflict of interest rules, or even basic fairness.”

Public Response

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In response to Judge Newman’s suspension, it seems most people agree that a 96-year-old person is just too old to be making serious decisions that can drastically impact the lives of others.

Common Sense

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One social media user commented, “In a position where a person can have a profound effect on another’s mental or physical well-being, a mandatory retirement age or cognitive testing at a certain age should be in place. That is simple common sense.” 

96 Is Too Old

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A second user said, “There should either be an age limit OR after a certain age, there should be tests given for mental and physical health to determine continued eligibility.

Another user simply stated, “Sorry…96 is too old.”

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The post “Sorry… 96 Is Too Old” Federal Judge Files a Lawsuit Against a Committee That Says She Is Too Old for the Bench first appeared on Back Edge News.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Stockbakery. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.

Source: MSN

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