The recent controversy at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit involving Chief Judge Kimberly Moore and Judge Pauline Newman has raised concerns and garnered attention. The Court has now confirmed the rumors about Judge Moore’s actions to remove Judge Newman from an active role on the bench. According to a statement of court and two published orders, it seems that Chief Judge Moore also has the support of her fellow judges in this matter.
The primary concern revolves around Judge Newman’s alleged failng to maintain a full workload due to health issues, taking an excessive amount of time to issue opinions, and showing signs of declining mental acuity. Despite these concerns, Judge Newman has refused to participate in the process or receive any documents related to it. Additionally, she has declined to submit to a medical examination or to take senior status or retire. Her refusal to participate in the process serves as an additional cause in the complaint.
Judge Newman’s obstinance appears to be rooted in her belief that she is “the only person [on the Court] who care[s] about the patent system and innovation policy.” Throughout her 39 years on the Court, Judge Newman has been a stalwart supporter of strong patent rights.
Judge Newman joined the court in 1984 and is now 95 years old. She has been the oldest member of the court since the death of Judge Giles Rich in 1999 at the age of 95. Judges Dyk and Lourie are both in their 80s.