This morning the Committee on Judicial Conduct and Disability of the Judicial Conference of the United States released a memorandum of decision unanimously denying a petition filed by Judge Newman. That petition asked the Committee to review the order of the Federal Circuit’s Judicial Council that suspended Judge Newman for the period of at least one year. Today’s memorandum includes the following findings:
“We find that the Chief Circuit Judge and the Federal Circuit Judicial Council did not abuse their discretion by declining to request a transfer”;
“we find no error in the Judicial Council’s conclusion that, based on the evidence gathered by the Special Committee, there was a reasonable basis for requesting that Judge Newman undergo a medical evaluation;” and
“[w]e find that the sanction is consistent with sanctions imposed in a variety of contexts under the Act, and a one-year suspension of cases is not grossly in excess of other suspensions imposed under the [Judicial Conduct and Disability] Act.”
Here is the introduction and a link to the memorandum.
This matter is before the Judicial Conduct and Disability Committee on a petition of Judge Pauline Newman for review of the Judicial Council of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit’s Order of September 20, 2023. The Judicial Conduct and Disability Committee considers this petition for review under 28 U.S.C. § 357 and Rules 21(a) and 21(b)(1)(A) of the Rules for Judicial-Conduct and Judicial-Disability Proceedings (“Rules”). Specifically, the Federal Circuit Judicial Council unanimously found that Judge Newman committed misconduct by refusing to cooperate, without good cause, with the Special Committee’s investigation by failing to undergo a medical examination conducted by a physician selected by the Special Committee to determine whether she has a disability that renders her unable to discharge the duties of office. The Judicial Council found that Judge Newman’s refusal, without good cause shown, to undergo a medical examination, produce relevant medical records, and participate in an interview with the Special Committee was misconduct because it prevented the Judicial Council from being able to determine whether Judge Newman has a “temporary or permanent impairment . . . rendering [her] unable to discharge the duties of the particular judicial office.” Rule 4(c).
Judge Newman’s Petition for Review argues that the Federal Circuit Judicial Council abused its discretion by failing to transfer the complaint to another circuit; that Judge Newman had good cause to refuse to submit to the medical evaluation ordered by the Special Committee; and that the sanction imposed is contrary to the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act (“the Act”) and the JC&D Rules. For the reasons explained below, we deny the petition for review.