Budapest Post

Cum Deo pro Patria et Libertate
Budapest, Europe and world news

US appeals court judge faces rare probe into competency, misconduct

US appeals court judge faces rare probe into competency, misconduct

A federal appeals judge in Washington is under investigation by her own court for allegedly failing to carry out her duties and refusing to respond to other judges' concerns, court officials at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said on Friday.

An order signed by Federal Circuit Chief Judge Kimberly Moore said a three-judge committee had determined that Judge Pauline Newman, who is 95, may "suffer a disability that interferes with her ability to perform the responsibilities of her office."

Newman is also under investigation for misconduct for refusing to cooperate with the probe or submit to a medical evaluation, Moore said in the order, dated Thursday.

Newman and Moore did not immediately respond to emailed requests for comment.

In an earlier order in March, Moore said Newman had shown signs of cognitive and physical impairment, delayed filing opinions, disclosed sensitive medical information to her staff and allowed one of her law clerks to exhibit unspecified "unprofessional and inappropriate behavior."

The March order said that half of the court's active judges expressed concern about Newman's mental fitness. Newman had refused to consider senior status, a form of semi-retirement, calling herself the only person on the court "who cared about the patent system and innovation policy," the order said.

Newman is a leading intellectual property law jurist and a prominent dissenter on the patent-focused Federal Circuit, which often hears major cases involving technology and pharmaceutical companies. She was appointed to the bench by Republican President Ronald Reagan in 1984.

The March order said Newman has participated in 60 cases since June of last year, while the average active judge participated in 116.

The Federal Circuit acknowledged the probe in a Friday statement. It said court officials "all recognize and admire the lifelong contributions of the justly esteemed Judge Newman," and "are committed to fulfilling their difficult obligations in this process."


RARE PROBE


It is highly unusual for a U.S. judge to face a complaint from a colleague on the bench, especially on an issue as delicate as their competence to serve.

Arthur Hellman, a University of Pittsburgh law professor who studies the federal courts, said judges typically handle concerns about a colleague’s age or fitness through closed-door conversations, sometimes involving the judge’s family.

“In the overwhelming majority of cases, it's dealt with without any sort of formal proceeding and without any sort of public knowledge,” Hellman said.

Federal judges serve lifetime appointments in the United States. A 1980 law allows for complaints against them for misconduct or if a disability calls into question their ability to serve.

The average age of federal appeals court judges was about 65 in 2017, according to a report from the Congressional Research Service.

Some lawyers who practice before the Federal Circuit said they found the Newman probe surprising.

“There’s no clear indication when you’re around Judge Newman that she’s not understanding things,” said Blair Jacobs, a patent law attorney at law firm McKool Smith who said he was last before the judge in February.

The committee investigating Newman will report its findings to the Federal Circuit’s judicial council, which could reject the complaint or impose sanctions, including a private censure or recommendation that the judge retire.

If a judge refuses to retire take senior status, the council can certify that they have a disability, allowing the U.S. president to nominate another judge.

Newsletter

Related Articles

0:00
0:00
Close
EU Relocates Summit to Punish Hungary over Orban's Ukraine Visit
World's Hottest Day Recorded on July 21
President Biden Returns to White House After Testing COVID Negative
Thousands Protest in Mallorca Against Mass Tourism
Hacking Vulnerabilities: Androids vs. iPhones
Ukraine Crisis Should Be EU's Responsibility, Says Trump’s Envoy
Joe Biden Withdraws from 2024 US Presidential Race
A Week of Turmoil: Key Moments in US Politics
Erdogan Challenges NATO Stance at 75th Anniversary Meeting
Hungary's Orban Shakes Up EU Leadership
German National Sentenced to Death in Belarus
Elon Musk's Companies Drop CrowdStrike After Global Windows 10 Outage
Trump Pledges to End Ukraine Conflict if Reelected
Global IT Outage Unveils Digital Vulnerabilities
US Criticizes International Court's Opinion on Israeli Occupation
EU’s Patronizing Attitude Towards Africa Revealed
Ukraine to Receive First One and a Half Billion Dollars of Seized Russian Funds
Netanyahu Denounces World Court Ruling on Israeli Occupation
Massive Flight Cancellations Across the U.S. Due to Microsoft Outage
Russia Accuses Ukraine of Using Chemical Weapons
Ursula von der Leyen Wins Second Term as European Commission President
Police Officer Injured in Attack in Central Paris
Record Heat Temperatures in Ukraine Amid Power Crisis
Japan to Allocate $3.3 Billion to Ukraine Using Frozen Russian Assets
EU Parliament Condemns Hungarian PM's Russia Visit
FBI Struggles to Find Motive Behind Trump Shooting Incident
Kremlin Criticizes EU Rejection of Orban’s Ukraine Peace Proposal
Russia's Electronic Warfare Neutralizes Western Weapons in Ukraine
Trump Challenges Biden to Debate and Golf Match
Macron Accuses Israeli Minister of Election Interference
US Senator Highlights Weaknesses in Western Military Industry During Ukraine Conflict
George Clooney Urges Biden to Withdraw from Presidential Race
Political Shift in the UK: A Detailed Analysis of Labour's Victory and Future Prospects
Viktor Orbán's Peace Mission: A Diplomatic Controversy in the EU
India Advocates Peace and Prosperity: PM Modi's Speech in Austria
New UK PM Keir Starmer Reaffirms Strong Support for Ukraine at NATO Summit
Spain PM Pedro Sanchez Denounces Double Standards on Gaza at NATO Summit
Sunita Williams Safe on ISS, to Address Earth on July 10
Biden Affirms Commitment To Presidential Race
France Faces Political Turmoil and Airport Strikes Ahead of Paris Olympics 2024
Putin Hosts PM Modi for a Private Meeting
Boeing Pleads Guilty Over 737 MAX Crashes
2024 Predicted to Be World's Hottest Year
White House Denies Biden Being Treated for Parkinson's Disease
Biden to Meet New UK Prime Minister Keir Starmer
Biden Insists on Continuing Presidential Race Amid Criticism
UK Defence Minister Pledges Enhanced Support to Ukraine
French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal Resigns After Election Setback
Macron Faces New Political Challenges Despite Election Relief
France's Far-Right Falls Short in Parliamentary Elections
×