Complaint Against Fifth Circuit Judge Edith Jones Sent to D.C. Circuit

June 13, 2013

by Jeremy Leaming

The misconduct complaint lodged against federal appeals court Judge Edith H. Jones is now pending before the powerful U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, reports The Times-Picayune.

A coalition of civil liberties groups, including the Austin NAACP and the Texas Civil Rights Project, recently filed a complaint against Jones, who is based in Houston and a member of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, alleging she made racist comments during a Federalist Society event earlier this year. Affidavits in the complaint, said that Judge Jones stated that African-Americans and Latinos are predisposed to violence. According to other affidavits she allegedly said, “Mexicans would prefer to be on death row in the United States than in prison in Mexico.”

Allegedly Jones (pictured) also said cited her religious beliefs in handling death penalty sentences. According to an affidavit, the judge allegedly said that sentencing a person to death gives them the time and opportunity to reconcile with God. In this post, ThinkProgress centers on some of the judge’s wobbly opinion in a sexual harassment lawsuit and erratic behavior on the bench.

The Fifth Circuit’s jurisdiction includes Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

After news of the complaint surfaced, U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) said, “The alleged statements, if true, demonstrate personal racial and religious bias as well as questionable legal analysis. These biases are incredibly inappropriate for a sitting jurist at any level, let alone a former chief judge on one of the highest level Article III Courts of Appeal,” TPM reported.

The Judicial Code of Conduct defines misconduct, in part, as “discriminating against litigants or attorneys on account of race, ethnicity, sex, or other legally protected attribute” or “engaging in partisan political activity or making inappropriately partisan statements ….”

The complaint lodged by the civil rights groups charges that “Jones made statements that violated basic rules of judicial ethics, including the fundamental duty of impartiality, and were ‘astonishingly and flagrantly biased’ against minority groups and people with mental disabilities.’”

The complaint was before Fifth Circuit Chief Judge Carl Stewart. The Times-Picayune reported that Stewart “sought to transfer the complaint, according to a letter from Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to the Judicial Council of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.”