Oldest Active Federal Judge Suspended Due To Mental Competency Concerns

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A council of judges suspended Judge Pauline Newman from hearing new cases until the 96-year-old completes a mental competency test, Reuters reported.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit unanimously agreed that Newman failed to comply with an investigation into her mental fitness and suspended her from hearing cases for a year, or until she completes court-ordered medical examinations. Newman referenced the opinions of two doctors to defend her fitness, and filed a lawsuit within another Washington, D.C., court in hopes of preventing or transferring the investigation, according to Reuters. (RELATED: Independent Voters Have A Major Concern That Could Sink Biden)

“We are acutely aware that this is not a fitting capstone to Judge Newman’s exemplary and storied career,” the council said in a Judicial Council order on Wednesday. “We have a solemn obligation under the Act and an obligation to the litigants before our Court and court staff to take action—and not to simply look the other way— when it appears that a judge of this Court is no longer capable of performing the duties of her judicial office.”

Newman, who is the oldest acting federal judge, was appointed to the patent-focused Federal Circuit by President Ronald Reagan in 1984. The case against Newman raises questions regarding age restrictions for federal judges, who are appointed for life and are not forced to retire, according to Reuters.

Various court employees described concerns of “memory loss, confusion, lack of focus, inability to understand and execute simple tasks that she had previously been able to perform, agitation, paranoia, and hostile behavior” by Newman.

Newman filed a lawsuit in May against the appeals court’s chief judge and other judges in the federal court. The complaint says the investigation violates Newman’s constitutional rights and she denies the legitimately of the concerns about her mental capacity.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit referred the Daily Caller News Foundation to materials on their website.

Newman’s attorney Greg Dolin did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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