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Court of Appeals Judge Accused of Making Discriminatory Remarks
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A formal complaint against a 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judge is moving forward, and has been transferred to the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. Though the judge in the complaint is not named in the notice of transfer, it is widely believed to be against Judge Edith Jones, who currently sits on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Jones made remarks at the University of Pennsylvania in February that have been described as racist and bigoted.

A complaint was filed against Jones after she made a speech at the University of Pennsylvania that allegedly contained racist content. The complaint, bolstered by an affidavit signed by five students and an attorney that were present at the speech say that Jones, who is white, claimed that blacks and Hispanics are predisposed to crime and violence, and commit more serious crimes than whites.
The complaint says that Jones denigrated the Mexican justice system; dismissed criminal defenses of racism, arbitrariness, international law and treaties as “red herrings;” claimed that mentally challenged prisoners on death row are not “retarded” because they were smart enough to commit a capital offense; and praised death row for providing a service to those sentenced to death, because they are likely to make peace with God.


“Students were appalled by her speech,” said Katie Naranjo, a spokeswoman for the coalition of civil rights organizations that filed the complaint. Speaking with the Associated Press, Naranjo said that they are demanding an investigation into Jones’ remarks.

Jones has not responded to the complaint.

Since that complaint was filed, an unidentified complaint against a 5th Circuit Court of Appeals judge was transferred to the federal appeals court in Washington D.C. Neither the specifics of the complaint nor the judge named in the complaint are known, but the complaint appeared eight days after the coalition’s complaint was filed. The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that the complaint was transferred from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals by Carl Stewart, the 5th Circuit’s chief judge, and that he invoked a rule that allows transfers in “exceptional circumstances.”

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Transfers of a complaint are allowed by the Judicial Conduct and Judicial Disability Proceedings in four circumstances: “a serious complaint where there are multiple disqualifications among the original council,” an issue that is “highly visible and a local disposition may weaken public confidence in the process, where internal tensions arising in the council as a result of the complaint render disposition by a less involved council appropriate, where a complaint calls into question policies or governance of the home court of appeals.”

Jones was appointed to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals by Ronald Reagan. She is based in Houston, Texas.

The complaints progress will be determined by the D.C. Circuit’s chief judge, Merrick Garland, who will appoint a special committee to look into the case.

Image Credit: Anonymous / Court of Appeals via AP



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