Reagan-appointed judge, now 95, faces probe into whether she can still do the job

The nation’s oldest sitting federal judge, who is 95-years-old, is fighting an investigation by colleagues in her own court into whether she is still capable of performing the job. Judge Pauline Newman was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1985 to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Her colleagues are looking into whether Newman is “unable to discharge all the duties of office by reason of mental or physical disability.” Federal Circuit Chief Judge Kimberly Moore issued a court order in March that said Newman had shown signs of cognitive and physical impairment, delayed filing opinions, disclosed sensitive medical information to her staff and has been missed deadline filings. On April 14, Moore issued another order that expanded the scope of the investigation, after noting that a three-panel committee of fellow judges conducted an investigation and concluded that Newman “might suffer a disability that interferes with her abilities to perform the responsibilities of her office.” Moore said a closer look at Newman because she allegedly failed to corporate with the investigation. ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY, MARCH 4, 1952, RONALD REAGAN MARRIES NANCY DAVIS IN CHURCH CEREMONY But Newman is pushing back against the allegations, and allies of Newman are calling the court orders “tragic” and “ridiculous.” Newman and Fordham Law School Professor Hugh Hansen appeared together this month at a panel event in New York City, where Newman addressed the latest actions taken against her by her own court. “There is a certain amount of turmoil going on, but as I look at this room full of friends, I’m confident that there’ll be a happy ending,” Newman said. The Federal Circuit Court on which Newman has served for 38 years deals frequently with patent, intellectual property and copyright cases. Newman is considered a leading intellectual property jurist. I WORKED FOR RONALD REAGAN AND LEARNED THE SECRET OF WHO HE WAS “The fact that there’s so much turmoil perhaps is something that we all should have in mind for the significance of the kind of work that now is focused here,” Newman said in New York. She said the job of her court was to examine cases dealing with the latest technology. “And if there are glitches along the way, or things that get the blood boiling, perhaps we’ll boil it adequately,” she added. Hansen referred to Newman as friend, called her “fantastic” and said that he was “in shock” over the court’s actions against Newman. “This is tragic. It’s so ridiculous. Like crazy stuff happening,” Hansen said. According to a Reuters report, it is highly unusual for a judge to face a complaint from a colleague on the bench, especially on an issue as delicate as his or her competence to serve. Arthur Hellman, a University of Pittsburgh law professor who studies the federal courts, told Reuters that judges typically handle concerns about a colleague’s age or fitness through closed-door conversations, sometimes involving the judge’s family. PRESIDENT REAGAN’S POWERFUL ‘EVIL EMPIRE’ SPEECH TO BE HONORED IN WASHINGTON, D.C., ON 40TH ANNIVERSARY “In the overwhelming majority of cases, it’s dealt with without any sort of formal proceeding and without any sort of public knowledge,” Hellman told the outlet. Newman did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment. In emails to Reuters in response to questions about her age, Newman said the court order issued earlier this month had mentioned her age, but it “carefully avoided saying this action was taken because of age.” “I doubt that my elderly colleagues would have joined such a statement,” Newman said Wednesday. Four other judges on the court are over 80 years old.
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