|By PR Newswire||
|August 20, 2014 07:30 AM EDT||
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The lawsuit filed by sitting Immigration Judge and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Ashley Tabaddor against the Justice Department for racial discrimination has provoked a growing uproar in the legal community. Various organizations, including the National Association of Immigration Judges (NAIJ), have voiced their strong support for Judge Tabaddor and seek her vindication.
In 2012, Judge Tabaddor was invited to attend a round-table event for the Iranian-American community leaders at The White House. The White House attendance, even though cleared by the Justice Department, prompted Judge Tabaddor's superiors, led by Jeffrey Rosenblum, to begin a course of discriminatory actions against her, culminating in the Order that she "recuse" (withdraw) herself from hearing cases involving Iranian nationals. The Immigration Court System, is part of the Justice Department, which itself is under the Executive Branch.
Judge Tabaddor's superiors neither found nor alleged any improper conduct. In fact, the Order is unprecedented in the history of the Immigration Court, as it violates all rules and policy memorandums governing recusals of an immigration judge. The Order is exceptional, because as a "blanket" Order it forces the judge to withdraw from all Iranian national's cases, indefinitely, solely because of her race and community involvement.
According to NAIJ, "Fundamentally, the suggestion that an Immigration Judge cannot fairly administer law because of the Judge's racial or ethnic heritage…, national origin or religion sets a dangerous precedent… The current DOJ policy is an insidious form of racial profiling." According to Advance Justice-LA, a civil rights organization, "Such an order… would preclude any Immigration Judge of a specific ethnic background from engaging in constitutionally protected speech."
According to Chris Asvar, an attorney closely following the case, "A judge trades in the precious currencies of objectivity and fairness. Judge Tabaddor appears to have sustained a racially-motivated attack on that very basis with the full implication that because of her ethnicity, she would lack the objectivity and fairness required to govern her court. I applaud the attorneys at Cooley, LLP for taking on this cause, and respectfully call on the President to reverse this dangerous Order and launch an investigation into why an invitation to the nation's highest Executive Office should provoke lesser minds in a lower echelon of the Executive Branch to take racially-discriminatory actions against a celebrated judge."
The logical extension of this Order is that no African-American judge should ever hear a case about a Black victim; that no Jewish judge should ever participate in a Jewish community activity; and that no Latin-American judge should ever preside over a dispute involving a Latin litigant. According to the complaint, the Immigration Court's Ethics Officer, JuanCarlos Hunt, has stated in support of Judge Tabaddor that he was excluded from the agency's decision-making process, and that he would have never permitted such an Order to be issued, because it is facially discriminatory.
Find a copy of the complaint here.
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