A 96-year-old federal appeals court judge, appointed by former President Ronald Reagan, faced suspension this Wednesday after her colleagues voiced concerns about her competency.
Justice Pauline Newman has been the subject of scrutiny by her fellow judges due to doubts about her ability to fulfill the responsibilities of her role on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
“Unfortunately, earlier this year mounting evidence raised increasing doubts about whether Judge Newman is still fit to perform the duties of her office,” the suspension summary detailed.
Judge Newman’s service to the court has spanned nearly four decades, marked by distinction. However, her refusal to cooperate with an inquiry into her health has raised eyebrows. Her peers, in a 73-page document, highlighted her reluctance to undergo medical tests to prove her cognitive abilities.
“Multiple colleagues attempted to speak to Judge Newman about her fitness,” the summary revealed. “She refused to speak to them at all or quickly terminated an attempt to discuss the issue.”
The court’s investigation into Newman’s fitness involved interviews with 20 colleagues. Their feedback, combined with numerous emails from Newman, painted a concerning picture. The evidence suggested that Newman might be grappling with severe mental challenges, including memory loss, confusion, and an inability to execute basic tasks she once handled effortlessly.
The complaint further detailed instances where Newman struggled with rudimentary tasks, leading to bouts of frustration and agitation. Disturbingly, she displayed signs of hostility, even threatening to incarcerate or dismiss her staff. Descriptions of her behavior ranged from “demonstratively angry” to “paranoid.”
Despite the gravity of the situation, Newman’s colleagues expressed sorrow over her suspension.
“We are acutely aware that this is not a fitting capstone to Judge Newman’s exemplary and storied career,” the complaint lamented. “We all would prefer a different outcome for our friend and colleague.”
Reuters has reported that Newman is contesting the suspension, staunchly defending her cognitive abilities. She has initiated legal action to overturn the suspension. As it stands, Newman cannot take on new cases for a minimum of one year, unless she consents to an evaluation and proves her fitness to serve.
Scroll down to leave a comment and share your thoughts.