A 96-year-old federal judge has been barred from hearing cases amidst allegations that she is mentally incompetent to serve. Judge Pauline Newman, appointed in 1985 by then-President Ronald Reagan, is the oldest sitting judge in America.
Federal judges are appointed for life and are not forced to retire at a specific age. Newman’s critics state that the judge is slow to issue opinions and that she has a backlog of cases, which consist mainly of patent disputes and government contracts.
The Judicial Council used the testimony of more than 20 witnesses to prove Newman is experiencing a sharp decline in her mental health in their decision to bar her from hearing cases for one year.
Newman’s attorneys are arguing that the claims are unfounded, and that the Judicial Council is forcing her out because of her advanced age. She submitted to two independent medical evaluations, both of which found her to be mentally competent to continue her service on the bench. Newman drew the line at being evaluated by two additional practitioners appointed by a Special Committee because the committee had preselected the physicians without disclosing how they were chosen.
The committee seized upon Newman’s reluctance to submit to a committee-appointed evaluation as a “confession” that she is unfit for her position. “The burden is small, the basis for concern about disability very substantial, and the job at issue of great public importance. Yet Judge Newman refused,” the committee submitted as proof of their allegations.
Attorneys for Newman feel that the committee has no interest in the truth and has already reached a “predetermined conclusion.” The goal of the committee, argues Newsman’s lawyers, is to remove the judge from the bench by exercising “raw power unconstrained by statutory requirements” and disregarding constitutional limits, any notions of due process, and conflict of interest rules.”
But witnesses state that Newman appears to be in a state of cognitive decline, which has been displayed in many ways, including paranoia. The judge has made unfounded claims, such as believing her phone is bugged and her email has been hacked.
Colleagues also raised concerns about Judge Newman’s work pace and her frequent displays of confusion, agitation, and belligerence, leading to worries about her fitness for duty. The Judicial Council of the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit pointed to substantial evidence from interviews with staff suggesting potential mental issues, including memory loss, comprehension difficulties, confusion, and struggles with fundamental tasks.
Especially troubling to witnesses is Newman’s difficulty recalling conversations, events and information, as well as having trouble understanding staff communications.
Additionally, there were allegations that she threatened to have a staff member arrested and asserted that she had communicated with a judge who had not been a part of the court for thirty years and who passed away back in 2006.
Newman’s refusal to submit to committee-appointed physician assessments or sit for an interview designed to evaluate her mental acuity has been deemed “serious misconduct” and was the deciding factor in her removal from the bench.
If the proof of her impaired cognitive abilities sounds familiar, it’s because Biden exhibits almost all of it daily, paranoia aside. His rambling misinterpretation of his own past experiences, combined with his intermittent episodes of rage, agitation, and hostility directed at the press, closely mirror Newman’s behavior. In addition, Biden echoes the judge’s perceived mental decline in his confusion and inability to recall where he is or to whom he is speaking. He routinely displays an inability to perform simple tasks, like walking off a stage.
In yet another eerie similarity to Newman, Biden addressed a deceased colleague during an event in the fall of 2022.
Biden can’t seem to recall whether he took a cognitive assessment or not. In 2020, he claimed he had taken several cognitive tests, then slammed a reporter for asking if he had completed a mental assessment. “No, I haven’t taken a test. Why the hell would I take a test?” Biden indignantly told an interviewer from the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
Even now, he is artfully dodging the question heading into the 2024 election, despite repeated calls that he take an assessment as part of his re-election campaign.
While a judge is being barred from her duties due to alleged mental incompetence, the leader of the free world gets a pass for the same cognitive decline. Biden’s memory lapses, occasional rage episodes, and even his conversations with the departed seem to be taken from the pages of Newman’s book. It’s past time for Biden to take a cognitive assessment. After all, if Newman has been deemed incapable of handling patent disputes, can Americans trust a similarly afflicted president with nuclear codes?