96-Year-Old US Judge Pauline Newman Suspended Amid Mental Competency Concerns


In a surprising turn of events, 96-year-old US federal judge Pauline Newman has been suspended from her duties due to questions surrounding her mental competency. This case has sparked a debate similar to the one surrounding elderly politicians like Joe Biden and Donald Trump.


Pauline Newman’s Longstanding Career

"Pauline Newman, the oldest US federal judge at 96, faces suspension over mental competency, igniting a debate akin to elderly politicians."

Pauline Newman, who has been serving as an appellate court judge since 1984, finds herself in the midst of controversy. Colleagues have accused her of working too slowly and displaying frequent signs of confusion, agitation, and belligerence, raising concerns about her mental state.

Concerns of “Disability”

The Judicial Council of the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has expressed concerns about Judge Newman’s “disability.” Interviews with her staff have provided substantial evidence of mental problems, including memory loss, comprehension difficulties, confusion, and an inability to perform basic tasks.


Unusually Prolonged Case Opinions

One striking observation is that despite being assigned a reduced workload, Judge Newman takes four times longer than her peers to issue opinions in cases before the court. This inefficiency has added to the concerns about her ability to fulfill her duties.

Suspension and Future Cooperation

Due to Newman’s refusal to undergo examination by a council-selected neurologist and psychiatrist to assess her mental acuity, the council has decided to suspend her for one year. This suspension could be extended if she continues to refuse cooperation.


Newman’s Defense

In response to the suspension, Pauline Newman has vehemently contested the proceedings, claiming they were conducted illegally and motivated by personal animosity from other judges. She has presented the results of examinations conducted by specialists she personally selected to support her argument.

Age and Political Capabilities

This case draws attention to the increasing scrutiny of elderly politicians, including President Joe Biden, 80, and his rival Donald Trump, 77, regarding their ability to fulfill their duties. Born in 1927, Judge Newman, with a PhD in chemistry from Yale, has a remarkable career in patent law.

Lack of Due Process

Newman’s attorney, Gregory Dolin of the New Civil Liberties Alliance, argues that she did not receive due process in her case. He believes that personal animosities and ageism played a role in the proceedings, emphasizing that Judge Newman should not be unfairly grouped with certain politicians in Washington.

The suspension of 96-year-old US Judge Pauline Newman has raised significant questions about the mental competency of elderly officials and the due process in such cases. It remains to be seen how this case will unfold and whether it will have broader implications for other aging officials in public office.

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