On Friday, April 5, 2024, Reuters reported that 96-year-old Judge Pauline Newman asked a federal court in Washington, D.C. to allow her lawsuit against her fellow judges at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to continue. Judge Newman claimed in her filing that the other judges had engaged in a “pattern of harassment” against her and that the law used to suspend her was unconstitutional.

According to the report, the Federal Circuit had recently denied Judge Newman’s requests to hire a legal assistant, replace one of her clerks, and removed her from the court’s email distribution list. Judge Newman’s attorney called her suspension a “stealth impeachment” that was based on vague criteria used to achieve a predetermined goal.

Judge Newman, who was appointed to the Federal Circuit bench in 1984 by former President Ronald Reagan, is well respected in the field of patent law and known for frequently dissenting opinions. However, last year the court’s Chief Judge Kimberly Moore suspended Judge Newman for at least one year, claiming she had shown signs of cognitive and physical impairment and refused to cooperate with inquiries into her mental health.

Judge Newman sued the Federal Circuit’s judicial council last May over her suspension. While a U.S. District Judge dismissed most of Judge Newman’s allegations in February, acknowledging the judiciary’s authority to self-govern, her lawsuit is seeking to challenge the constitutionality of the suspension.

In her latest court filing, Judge Newman argued that key parts of the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act were too vague and allowed the council to remove her from office without facing impeachment. The council had recently asked the court to reject the remainder of Judge Newman’s legal challenges to her ongoing suspension.



Source: Reuters