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‘A Terrible Precedent to Set’: Newman Suspension Upheld on Appeal

February 7, 2024

… Newman’s counsel, Greg Dolin of the New Civil Liberties Alliance (NCLA), told IPWatchdog in September that he believes the order is flatly illegal, citing to Rule 20, which requires a “fixed period” for suspending a judge from being assigned new cases. According to Dolin, the order calls for a floating period of one year that is renewable depending on whether Newman chooses to submit to the Council’s preferred medical examinations. Dolin also said the action taken was not remedial, as required by the rules, but “coercive.”

But the Conference’s decision today said that “although the sanction is subject to renewal, unlike other suspensions, Judge Newman has the power to trigger reconsideration or modification if she decides to cooperate.”

According to a statement released by the NCLA today, “Judge Newman’s indefinite suspension is unprecedented in American judicial history, exceeding sanctions imposed on judges who committed serious misconduct and improprieties.”

Dolin also noted that, while they were disappointed with the decision, it “confirmed, contrary to the Judicial Council’s district court briefs, that the Judicial Council was acting in an administrative rather than judicial capacity. This fact indicates its actions are subject to the same review as actions of any other agency. Judge Newman intends to fully press for such review in properly constituted Article III courts.”

Judge Newman herself commented: “Nothing has changed since last February – I continue to be fully able to perform the duties of the office which was entrusted to me. This has been confirmed by two physicians and numerous individuals who have interacted with me over the last twelve months. This battle is not just for me, but for the very concept of judicial independence and protection of our constitutional structure. I will continue to fight it.”

Originally Published in IPWatchdog