“According to a study of empirical data between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2022, ‘Judge Newman’s deviation from the average productivity and timeliness among the active judges of the Federal Circuit was not statistically significant.’”
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) Judge Pauline Newman yesterday filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia against CAFC Chief Judge Kimberly Moore and Judges Prost and Taranto, as members of the Special Committee of the Judicial Council of the Federal Circuit appointed by Moore to investigate Newman. The complaint called Moore’s March 24 Order characterizing Newman as being unfit to carry out her duties on the court “riddled with errors” and cited 12 counts warranting claims for relief.
IPWatchdog was first to break the news that Moore was seeking to oust Newman under the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act. In response to IPWatchdog’s report, and subsequent reporting by other news outlets, the CAFC issued a statement confirming the information provided by IPWatchdog’s sources and making the previously sealed documents public.
In Moore’s Order, she alleged she has probable cause to believe that Newman is unable to effectively discharge the duties of her office “by reason of mental or physical disability,” citing to 28 U.S.C. 351(a).
According to Newman’s complaint, among Moore’s allegations is that Newman suffered a heart attack and had to undergo coronary stent surgery “during the summer of 2021”. But during that same period (June 2021 through September 2021), Newman’s complaint says, “Judge Newman sat on ten panels and issued at least eight (including majority, concurring, and dissenting) opinions,” which indicates she continued work as usual, and furthermore, “even were the allegation true, having coronary artery disease is simply irrelevant to one’s ability to be able to carry out judicial functions.”
Moore’s Order indicated that Newman’s sittings were reduced as a result of her health problems, but the complaint said that the ten panels on which Newman sat was “more than any other colleague but two.”
Newman’s complaint also said that, after appointing herself chair of the committee investigating her own complaint against Newman, Moore “unconstitutionally and unilaterally removed Circuit Judge Newman from all future sittings of the Court.” Newman has not been assigned to sit on any panels for the May, June, and July 2023 sittings, though repeatedly requesting as much, the complaint said.
In April, Newman’s complaint said, Moore, in “a new and virtually unprecedented order,” expanded the scope of the investigation to include questions of the internal operations of Newman’s chambers. The special committee also demanded that Newman “submit to neurological and neuropsychological examinations before physicians of the special committee’s choosing,” giving her three days to comply with the request. When Newman did not comply, Moore identified further misconduct and again expanded the scope of the investigation.
The complaint also said that the committee ordered Newman to produce private medical records that are irrelevant to the inquiry and constitute an invasion of privacy; that Moore assigned Newman’s paralegal/ assistant to another office, leaving her short-staffed and refusing to allow her to hire anyone else; that a May 3 order issued by Moore essentially constituted a “gag order” threatening Newman and her counsel with sanctions should they publicize the investigation; and that the special committee denied Newman’s request to transfer the investigation to another circuit.
In the meantime, according to the complaint, Newman has been issuing opinions and dissents in previous cases, including Roku v. Universal Electrics and SAS Inst. v. World Programming Ltd. The complaint also included an exhibit featuring an empirical study that allegedly shows that, between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2022, “Judge Newman’s deviation from the average productivity and timeliness among the active judges of the Federal Circuit was not statistically significant” and that “there has been no difference in Judge Newman’s timeliness or productivity between 2020 and late 2022.”
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