‘Ranting, rambling, and paranoid’: Federal appeals court suspends 96-year-old judge until she passes mental exam

U.S. Circuit Judge Pauline Newman, 97, sued after being suspended from hearing cases following her refusal to submit to a mental examination. Newman, a Ronald Reagan appointee, was, until her suspension, the oldest federal judge still on the bench. (Screengrab via YouTube).

Days after celebrating her 97th birthday, U.S. Circuit Judge Pauline Newman lost her legal challenge to a suspension over concerns of mental deterioration. Another federal judge ruled Tuesday to reject Newman’s claims that the law underlying her suspension was unconstitutional.

Newman told Bloomberg News on Tuesday that she intends to appeal.

At 97, Newman is the oldest judge on the federal bench. She was appointed in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan and was the first judge appointed directly to the Federal Circuit. As the suspension order noted, Newman “served with distinction” for almost 40 years — and was even called “the heroine of the patent system” — before being suspended over concerns of her mental health.

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