The Case of Federal Judge Who Won't Retire Is Diverted To A Mediator
This after two former chief judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit publicly berate the current chief judge for the public humiliation of the court's longest serving judge
Two former Chief Judges of the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals have scolded the current chief judge, Kimberly A. Moore, for her attempts to publicly pressure Judge Pauline Newman, 96, to retire.
This may be unprecedented.
Meanwhile, Judge Christopher R. Cooper of the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia ordered the parties earlier this week to engage in informal resolution talks with Thomas B. Griffith, 69, who retired as a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2020.
Judge Newman had sought a preliminary injunction to restore her position as an active judge on the Federal Circuit. Judge Newman’s caseload and staff have been reassigned and she is being investigated for “misconduct” for refusing to submit to a special committee’s demand that she undergo a neurological competency screening. If mediation fails, the case will proceed.
The three-member Special Committee issued a gag order “threatening Judge Newman and her counsel with sanctions should any of them publicize the ongoing investigation.”
Not So Fast
Former Federal Circuit Chief Judge Paul R. Michel, 82, who stepped down in 2010, wrote in a July 9 interview for ipwatchdog.com that “this is the first time in the history of the Federal Circuit where an internal dispute has been allowed to mushroom into an unprecedented public fight.”
He said the misconduct investigation “is fast becoming a credibility issue for the Chief Judge and the court as a whole.”
A spokesperson for Judge Moore said she had no comment.
Judge Michel blasted the Federal Circuit’s refusal to permit the case to be transferred to another Circuit’s Judicial Council to avoid the perception of an investigation that is “swayed by inherent and subconscious personal biases.”
Judge Michel called it unacceptable for Judge Moore and two members of a special committee that she appointed to serve as “accuser, investigator, prosecutor and judge” in the matter. “It cuts against the very foundation of due process, as well as raising thorny constitutional concerns,” he said.
Judge Michel said an “impartial adjudicator… seems the essence of fairness in our system.”
The transfer of the case occurred on Tuesday, the same day Randall Rader, 74, who retired as chief judge of the federal circuit in 2014, joined Judge Michel in condemning the proceedings against Judge Newman.