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Court urges mediation as clash over US judge’s competency probe gets ‘personal’

Court urges mediation as clash over US judge’s competency probe gets ‘personal’

July 6 (Reuters) – A Washington, D.C., federal judge on Thursday appeared reluctant to rule on a request by Judge Pauline Newman to revoke her suspension from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit while she faces a misconduct investigation.

Instead, U.S. District Judge Christopher “Casey” Cooper urged Newman and her Federal Circuit colleagues to resolve the dispute without his intervention and proposed nominating a retired federal judge to serve as a mediator.

“This case really cries out for some sort of mediation,” Cooper told both sides during a court hearing, likening the dispute to a family disagreement that had spiraled out of control. “Like any family, disagreements can become personal.”

Newman has been locked in a bitter legal battle with her colleagues, who began an investigation in March over whether the 96-year-old judge has a mental impairment that is interfering with her responsibilities.

Newman refused to cooperate with the investigation and sued her colleagues, rejecting claims that she is impaired and accusing them of unlawfully sidelining her from the court without a finding of misconduct. Last month, Newman asked the district court to lift her suspension.

Cooper was hesitant to wade into the novel legal issues posed by the case, saying Newman’s complaint raised mainly “process questions” about the Federal Circuit’s internal handling of the investigation. He urged both parties to find “common ground.”

Read the complete article here.

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