96-Year-Old US Judge Suspended for a Year Amid Controversy Over Mental Fitness

(ReliableNews.org) – Article III of the Constitution states that federal judges may hold their position “during good behavior.” They have no term limits, allowing them to serve for life. A judge serving on the US Court of Appeals was just suspended from her position as questions surfaced about whether she was fit to serve.

On September 20, Chief Circuit Judge Kimberly Moore suspended Judge Pauline Newman. he Judicial Council of the Federal Circuit issued a statement saying that “mounting evidence raised increasing doubts about whether” the 96-year-old was capable of continuing in the position. The statement went on to say an investigation into the matter was necessary. The council pointed to a potential disability that could impact the judge’s ability to discharge her duties.

Moore received a complaint about the judge and appointed a special committee in March to determine whether she should be serving. When Newman was asked to meet with colleagues to discuss her mental health, she repeatedly declined and “quickly terminated an attempt to discuss the matter.” The complaints about the judge include concerns about lack of comprehension, an inability to perform basic tasks, confusion, memory loss, and other issues.

Newman was appointed to the court by former President Ronald Reagan in 1984. Reuters reported that she responded to the allegations in an email, saying she’s concerned about the country’s judicial system because it’s “already under stress.” The judge went on to ask how the public can trust the judiciary when they “eliminate an unpopular colleague in secret proceedings” and “refuse the procedures established by statute.”

The order from the council suspending the judge stated that Newman had threatened to have members of the Court’s staff “arrested [and] forcibly removed from the building and fired” for “no rational reason.” She had also accused them of “trickery, deceit, acting as her adversary, stealing” and other bad actions. More than 20 members of the staff were interviewed.

The judge is going to appeal the suspension.

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