“The things that have been said are the most extraordinary fabrications and exaggerations that I can imagine.”- Judge Newman
As we await a transcript of the July 13 hearing that took place in the Special Committee of the Judicial Council of the Federal Circuit’s investigation into Judge Pauline Newman’s alleged unfitness to remain on the court, Newman spoke with Bloomberg this week as a guest on its “On the Merits” podcast. She recounted for host David Schultz that she was told when confronted with the allegations, “Just go quietly or we’ll make your life miserable’; that was exactly the way it was presented to me.”
Newman called U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Chief Judge Moore’s claims that Newman had a heart attack, that she was hospitalized, had two stents put in and fainted in the courthouse “absolutely false.” She said “it’s hard to tell” where any of Moore’s allegations came from, really: “The things that have been said are the most extraordinary fabrications and exaggerations that I can imagine,” Newman told Bloomberg.
While Bloomberg said they invited Moore to participate in the podcast as well, she declined.
The podcast also provides a glimpse into Newman’s extraordinary life—she was a bartender in Paris, a pilot and a race car driver, among the many other hats she has worn in her 96 years.
Ultimately, Newman said, if she felt incapable of doing her job, she would happily quit. “When you are not intellectually capable of doing the job, one should have the sense to step down, and I think it’s important to be objective about one’s capability.”
A closed hearing was held on July 13 to determine whether Newman’s refusal to comply with requests to undergo medical examinations amounts to judicial misconduct.
A June 15 letter from Newman’s counsel asked for clarification of the narrowed scope of the investigation and also asked that the July 13 hearing be open to the public, which the Committee refused. Instead, the Committee said that the ordinary rule of confidentiality established by the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act of 1980 and by the Rules for Judicial-Conduct and Judicial-Disability Proceedings will apply, and a redacted transcript will be released following the argument. It is not yet clear when that transcript will become available.
Separately, in the district court case brought by Newman against Moore, at the urging of Judge Christopher Cooper of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Moore and Newman agreed to have Retired Judge Thomas Griffith informally mediate the case.
Newman filed a complaint in May in the District Court for the District of Columbia against Moore and Judges Prost and Taranto, as members of the Special Committee. 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.
The first mediation hearing is reportedly scheduled to take place on August 3.
Newman’s interview with Bloomberg is part of an effort to counter the reputational harm Moore’s investigation has resulted in, she told Schultz. “I’m trying to speak just as plainly as I can about what I think and what’s going on.”
Aliza Schatzman, President and Founder of the Legal Accountability Project, who testified to the House Judiciary Committee about being harassed and retaliated against by a former D.C. Superior Court judge, told Bloomberg she has been “enthralled” with the Newman investigation because usually judges are too unwilling to discipline their colleagues and cases are transferred to other circuits due to too much perceived leniency, and also because it’s rare that such cases play out in public.
IPWatchdog was the first news outlet to make this story public.