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    HomeWorldPressure Mounts for 95-Year-Old US Judge to Step Aside Due to Mental...

    Pressure Mounts for 95-Year-Old US Judge to Step Aside Due to Mental Competency Concerns

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    Judge Pauline Newman, who is 95 years old and the oldest sitting federal judge in the US, is facing pressure from some colleagues to step down due to concerns about her mental competency. However, Newman is fighting back and has filed a lawsuit challenging a complaint by a panel of fellow justices that she is no longer able to discharge her duties because of “mental or physical disability.” Newman insists that she remains fully capable of handling cases and is as productive as other members of the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

    Newman has been a federal judge since 1984 and is a leading authority on intellectual property law, having authored rulings in several landmark cases. However, a three-judge judicial committee has cited several examples of what they say are her diminished capacities. They have ordered Newman to meet with a neurologist who would assess whether she suffers from a cognitive impairment and to submit to a “full battery of neuropsychological testing.” The panel has given her until May 23 to inform the committee whether she will comply or face disciplinary action.

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    The judicial panel seeking Newman’s removal has been accused of violating the US Constitution, which gives only Congress the power to impeach judges. Newman has also argued that she is fully capable of handling cases and is as productive as other members of the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

    The litigants whose rights are at stake in the cases before this court deserve to have confidence that the judges ruling on their cases do not suffer from a cognitive impairment, according to the judicial panel.

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