Newman’s Counsel Says Supreme Court’s Agreement with Her Dissent Proves Mental Fitness

“Today’s decision once again illustrates how in command of the law and her faculties Judge Newman is.” – NCLA Counsel, Greg Dolin

Judge NewmanThe U.S. Supreme Court today reversed an en banc decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) in which Judge Pauline Newman dissented, a development Newman’s lawyers say belies CAFC Chief Judge Moore’s opinion that Newman is mentally unfit to serve on the court.

The en banc decision was an appeal from the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims in which Judges Newman and Reyna each separately dissented. Newman said that the CAFC’s majority en banc opinion reversing the decision of the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and holding that “three-time Army veteran James Rudisill is not entitled to the 48 months of total education benefits earned by re-enlistment…. is contrary to statute, regulation, and policy.”

The Supreme Court today agreed, holding that “Servicemembers who, through separate periods of service, accrue educational benefits under both the Montgomery and Post-9/11 GI Bills may use either one, in any order, up to §3695(a)’s 48-month aggregate-benefits cap.”

Judge Newman has been facing an uphill battle with her court’s Chief Judge, Kimberly Moore, who in April last year filed a judicial complaint against Newman under the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act claiming she has probable cause to believe that Newman is unable to effectively discharge the duties of her office. Since then, Newman has been fighting the attempt to push her off the CAFC in district court and via the Judicial Council, which officially suspended her in September 2023 from hearing new cases for at least a year. That decision was upheld on appeal in February of this year.

Newman has argued that her independent medical tests have proven her to be competent and two retired CAFC chief judges have weighed in to say Moore’s investigation has threatened the court’s credibility and that the court owes Newman an apology. Judge Newman’s district court challenge continues.

Newman’s counsel, New Civil Liberties Alliance Senior Litigation Counsel Greg Dolin, said today’s High Court decision demonstrates Newman’s mental fitness and continued ability to serve:

“The Court agreed with Judge Newman not only on the outcome of the case, but also with her reasoning. So much for ‘mental disability!’ Today’s decision once again illustrates how in command of the law and her faculties Judge Newman is, and how much her Federal Circuit colleagues, were they to stop the unwarranted hounding of Judge Newman, can continue to benefit from her input.”

The Supreme Court decision was authored by Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. Justice Clarence Thomas filed a dissent in which Justice Alito joined.

Judge Newman celebrated 40 years on the CAFC on February 28, 2024. She was nominated to the court on January 30, 1984, by then-President Ronald Reagan, confirmed by the Senate on February 27 and officially assumed office on February 28, 1984. Newman was the first judge to be appointed directly to the Federal Circuit.



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4 comments so far. Add my comment.

  • [Avatar for Cassandra]
    April 21, 2024 07:01 pm

    The CAFC is a joke — and not just in veterans appeals.

    I recently appealed a ridiculous MSPB decision that failed to acknowledge (much less address) the factual basis for my claim. The court did the same thing; first, affirming the Board on review — and, then denying the petition for rehearing. The whole thing was surreal –as though the narrative supporting my claim hadn’t been presented at all.

    How are they able get away with that kind of nonsense? The court should be required to refund the filing fee if it doesn’t address the issue (s) presented in your appeal.

  • [Avatar for B]
    April 17, 2024 11:31 am

    Judge Newman at 110 will be more mentally fit and a better judge than any of the third-rate slackers that comprise the majority of the CAFC.

    BTW, I’ve talked to quite a number of VA attorneys – all of whom think the CAFC has devolved into a total disaster. The CAFC’s inability to read statutes and their own case law isn’t limited to IP.

  • [Avatar for Pro Say]
    Pro Say
    April 17, 2024 11:11 am

    Notorious C.A.F.C.

  • [Avatar for Justin Sayin]
    Justin Sayin
    April 16, 2024 11:48 pm

    Speaks to her abilities in late 2020 on some level. But I don’t see how it helps her in 2024.

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