As Americans debate whether President Joe Biden, at 80, is too old to run for a second term, here comes the story of a 96-year-old federal appeals court judge fighting to keep her job.
Pauline Newman, a judge based in Washington, D.C., was suspended from her job earlier this week under an order from the Judicial Council of the Federal Circuit.
The order praised Newman for serving “with distinction” over her nearly 40-year tenure and for being “a highly valued and respected colleague,” especially in regards to her work relating to the U.S. patent system. But it also pointed to “evidence of memory loss, confusion, and lack of comprehension” in the judge’s work.
“Unfortunately, earlier this year mounting evidence raised increasing doubts about whether Judge Newman is still fit to perform the duties of her office,” the order said.
Newman, who was appointed to the job in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan, has refused “multiple requests to discuss the matter,” according to the order. It was also noted that the judge “was responsible for extensive delays in resolving cases and appeared unable to complete her opinions in a timely fashion” despite a reduced workload.
According to ABC News, Newman has “pushed back against allegations” and has said that she wants to resolve the matter in a cooperative way. ABC News also reported that Newman’s attorney, Greg Dolin, plans to fight the issue and will file a petition for review with the Committee on Judicial Conduct and Disability.
MarketWatch reached out to Dolin for comment but didn’t receive an immediate response.
Newman is not the oldest person to have served as a federal judge. That honor goes to Wesley E. Brown, who was still on the bench a month before his death in 2012 at the age of 104.