The following is the text of the D.C. Judicial Nomination Commission announcement of the reappointment of Theodore R. Newman Jr. as chief judge of the D.C. Court of Appeals:
The District of Columbia Judicial Nomination Commission has unanimously decided to designate Judge Theodore R. Newman Jr. to another four-year term as chief judge of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.
The position of chief judge requires a person with the following qualifications: (1) administrative and managerial ability and experience; (2) ability to secure financial and other support for the court; (3) ability to identify and address problems within the court and in the general administration of justice in the District of Columbia; (4) success in utilization of the private bar to assist in analyzing and addressing issues in court administration; and (5) ability to lead the court so as to ensure a quality product and an efficient operation.
The commission is of the view that Judge Newman has demonstrated superior skills in all these areas subject to the comments noted below. He is highly regarded locally and nationally in the legal and nonlegal community, and several studies of court operations document his effectiveness in court administration.
The chief judge must also promote a sense of cooperation among the associate judges and court staff, and he must assist in providing a sense of unity and consensus within the court. Through its hearings, the commission has become convinced that Chief Judge Newman's actions on a number of occasions have not been consistent with the spirit of mutual respect or respect for the legitimate rights of his colleagues, which are a prerequisite to the long-range effectiveness of a multijudge court. More particularly, he has not always exercised the skills and temperament necessary to achieve unity and consensus, and on a number of occasions he has acted in a manner which is contrary to these goals. Chief Judge Newman frankly acknowledged to the commission that in the past he had been guilty of several lapses, including unnecessary outbursts of temper directed at other judges and counsel for some litigants.
Nevertheless, the commission decided that, on balance, in view of his energy, scholarship, and administrative ability as well as the dedication he has shown to the administration of justice in this community, he offers the requisite skills for another term as chief judge. We explained our concerns regarding his temperament to Chief Judge Newman, and he pledged to the commission that he would improve in the respects indicated in the previous paragraph, and would work diligently to reunify the court. We are satisfied that Chief Judge Newman will abide by his pledge. The commission also expects, of course, that the chief judge will not engage in any reprisals, and that the other judges of the court will cooperate with the chief judge in good faith and without obstruction.
The commission believes that no purpose would be served by further recriminations by either side, and that additional discord would only serve to inflict long-term injury in the D.C. Court of Appeals and the administration of justice. The judges, and especially the chief judge, have a critical obligation affirmatively to rise to the occasion to make a real effort toward a new beginning, closing the door firmly and completely on the discordant events of recent years and weeks, and agreeing to future cooperation and mutual respect. Certainly, the court would emerge with an enhanced stature and effectiveness if that were done. We strongly urge the judges and all others to act with that purpose and in that spirit. Issued: November 6, 1980 Frederick B. Abramson Esq., Chairperson Commission Members: William A. Borders, Jr. Esq. Charles T. Duncan Esq. Hon. Harold H. Greene John W. Hechinger Sr. William Lucy Mary Ann Stein Esq.