US judge suspended over doubts about her fitness

US judge suspended over doubts about her fitness

The oldest American federal judge, Pauline Newman, 96, was suspended from her duties on Wednesday due to doubts about the deterioration of her mental capacities, a symbolic affair in a country sometimes presented as a gerontocracy because of the age of its leaders.

Appointed in 1984 by then-President Ronald Reagan, Pauline Newman, a recognized expert in intellectual property law, sits on a federal appeals court specializing in technical subjects (patents, public contracts or veterans’ pensions…).

In March, following testimony from colleagues and employees, Chief Justice Kimberly Moore established a commission to determine whether she suffered from “a mental or physical incapacity.”

Twenty staff interviews and a review of her emails “provided ample evidence that Judge Newman may be suffering from mental problems, including memory loss, misunderstanding, confusion, and “inability to perform simple tasks”, according to the court’s Judicial Council.

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