Legal Battle Ensues as Oldest Federal Judge Faces Mental Competency Questions

…By Joseph Benjamin for TDPel Media. At 95 years old, US Federal Circuit Judge Pauline Newman holds the distinction of being the oldest active federal judge in the United States.


However, some of her colleagues have expressed concerns about her mental competency and believe it is time for her to retire.

Despite this, Judge Newman is determined to stay in her lifetime position and has initiated legal proceedings to challenge the complaint against her.

Legal Battle Erupts:

Judge Newman recently filed a lawsuit contesting a complaint made by a panel of fellow justices who claim that she is no longer capable of fulfilling her duties due to mental or physical disability.

She vehemently maintains that she is fully capable of handling cases and asserts that she is as productive as her colleagues on the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Furthermore, Newman argues that the judicial panel seeking her removal has violated the US Constitution, as only Congress has the authority to impeach judges.

Distinguished Career:

Since her appointment to the court in 1984, Judge Newman has become a respected authority on intellectual property law and has authored significant rulings in several landmark cases.


Her lengthy tenure and expertise in the field have further bolstered her determination to continue serving as a federal judge.

Colleague Concerns:

Despite Judge Newman’s confidence in her abilities, a three-judge judicial committee dismissed her objections and presented evidence of what they consider to be her declining capacities.

They cited instances where court staff members reported concerns about her inability to perform simple tasks such as logging into the computer network from day to day.

Additionally, personnel who regularly interact with Judge Newman have raised concerns about her comprehension, confusion, short-term memory loss, agitation, and lack of focus.

Cognitive Assessment Ordered:

The panel has instructed Judge Newman to consult with a neurologist to evaluate whether she has a cognitive impairment.

They have also requested that she undergo a comprehensive battery of neuropsychological tests.

Judge Newman has until May 23 to inform the committee whether she will comply with these requirements, failure to do so may result in disciplinary action.

The committee emphasizes that it is crucial for litigants to have confidence in the judges presiding over their cases and not be impacted by any potential cognitive impairment.



Judge Pauline Newman, the oldest sitting federal judge in the United States, is embroiled in a legal battle over her mental competency.

Despite her claims of full capability and her accusation that the judicial panel violated the US Constitution, concerns raised by colleagues have led to an order for a cognitive assessment.

The outcome of this ongoing dispute will determine whether Judge Newman continues her service on the court or if she will be required to retire.


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About the Author:

Joseph Benjamin is an experienced journalist with a successful career spanning over 18 years. He has made a name for himself in the industry through his insightful and engaging reporting, and his dedication to delivering accurate and unbiased news. Joseph’s years of experience have equipped him with a keen understanding of the media landscape, and he has become a trusted voice in his field. His writing style is characterized by its clarity, precision, and attention to detail, making his articles a pleasure to read. Joseph is a dedicated professional who is committed to providing his readers with the most up-to-date and relevant news and information. He lives in Ontario, Canada.

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