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August 28, 2023 Asked and Answered

Investigations of federal judges are rare and should happen more, former clerk says

By Stephanie Francis Ward

After almost 40 years on the bench, Judge Pauline Newman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has sued her chief, two judge colleagues and the Federal Circuit Judicial Council, following a court committee interview and a medical records request, which she denied, and a suggestion that she should be suspended from work for one year.

Newman is in her 90s, the Washington Post reports, she’s the federal court’s oldest judge, and colleagues have said she can no longer do the job.

The investigation of federal judges falls under the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act, and it doesn’t happen nearly as often as it should, says Aliza Shatzman, the president and founder of the Legal Accountability Project and a former clerk. The nonprofit focuses on helping law clerks have positive experiences.

Send ideas for future episodes to ABA Journal Senior Writer Stephanie Francis Ward.

In This Podcast

Aliza Shatzman

Aliza Shatzman is the president and founder of the Legal Accountability Project. She often writes about judicial accountability, and her work has been published in the Columbia Law Review, the Harvard Journal on Legislation and the UCLA Journal of Gender and Law.