Pauline Newman is not thinking about retirement. At 95, this magistrate does not intend to hang up her black dress, despite the doubts of her colleagues about her abilities. It must be said that in the United States, federal judges enjoy positions for life.

Appointed by former Republican President Ronald Reagan, this renowned expert in intellectual property law is the oldest of some 870 federal judges.

Confreres worried

This former researcher, doctor in chemistry, has been practicing since 1984 in a federal court of appeal specializing in technical subjects (patents, public contracts or veterans' pensions, etc.), which require a sharp intellect. "Many court employees are concerned because Judge Newman can no longer perform some simple daily tasks, such as identifying herself on the computer network," three of her colleagues wrote in a document sent to the court on Tuesday.

The future of the magistrate will therefore be played where she has made a career: in the courtrooms. The magistrate filed a complaint against the officials of her court after the establishment of a commission to assess whether she suffers from "mental or physical disability". In her complaint, she points out that, according to the Constitution, only Congress can impeach a federal judge. This episode, the outcome of which remains very uncertain, is above all a reminder of how American presidents can leave a lasting mark on their country's courts.

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