Wednesday, June 05, 2013


Talking Points Memo directs our attention to this:
A coalition of civil rights organizations has filed a judicial misconduct complaint against a staunchly conservative federal judge for allegedly prejudice comments she is accused of making during a recent speech.

Judge Edith Jones of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals addressed the University of Pennsylvania law school on Feb. 20.

Her comments were not recorded. But five students and one attorney who attended signed affidavits stating Jones said certain "racial groups like African Americans and Hispanics are predisposed to crime."

She also allegedly said they are prone to commit acts of violence.
More, from The Austin Chronicle:
... according to the complaint, Jones asserted as fact the proposition that blacks and Hispanics are more likely to commit violent crimes. When asked to explain her comments, "she stated that there was 'no arguing' that 'Blacks and Hispanics' outnumber 'Anglos' on death row and 'sadly' it was a 'statistical fact' that people 'from these racial groups get involved in more violent crime,'" reads the complaint. As an example, she noted that it is a "fact" that "'a lot of Hispanic people [are] involved in drug trafficking' which itself 'involved a lot of violent crime.'"
She also was reported to have commented on pending cases, some of which she may have to rule on, which is a violation of judicial ethics. Oh, and she seems to have spoken out in favor of the death penalty because it's good for killers' souls:
... according to the complaint, Jones referred to her personal religious views as justification for the death penalty. A killer is "only likely to make peace with God and the victim's family in that moment when the killer faces imminent execution," she said -- a proposition that she said she found evidence for in an article she and her husband found online called "Hanging Concentrates the Mind." (Apparently by Rev. George W. Rutler, in the Catholic magazine Crisis, Feb. 8, 2013.)
Ronald Reagan appointed Jones to the Fifth Circuit in 1985. In 1987, when Lewis Powell retired from the Supreme Court, Orrin Hatch, asked about Powell's replacement, said, "I'd like Edith Jones." Jones was on George H.W. Bush's short list in 1990 when William Brennan retired (Poppy picked David Souter), and he was on George W. Bush's short list in 2005 when William Rehnquist died (Shrub picked John Roberts for the chief justice slot rather than elevating one of the sitting justices).

One reason Jones is a right-wing hero is opinion in a 2004 case filed by Norma McCorvey, the formerly pseudonymous Roe of Roe v. Wade and subsequently an abortion opponent, who sought to have Roe overturned. Jones concurred in the court's decision not to overturn Roe, but only on procedural grounds. She made clear what she thinks of the decision:
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Norma McCorvey's attempt Tuesday to reopen the 1973 Roe v. Wade case legalizing abortion.

But one judge on the three-judge panel, Houston's Edith H. Jones, saw fit to use the ruling to blast the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark abortion ruling....

She ... authored a strongly worded four-page concurring opinion that called the Roe decision an "exercise of raw judicial power." McCorvey, she wrote, "presented evidence that goes to the heart of the balance Roe struck between the choice of a mother and the life of her unborn child."

Jones, appearing to agree with all of McCorvey's evidence, stated, "If courts were to delve into the facts underlying Roe's balancing scheme with present-day knowledge, they might conclude that the woman's 'choice' is far more risky and less beneficial, and the child's sentience far more advanced, than the Roe Court knew."

She continued: "The perverse result of the Court's having determined through constitutional adjudication of this fundamental social policy, which affects over a million women and unborn babies each year, is that the facts no longer matter."
And (via Steve Benen) there's this:
She also wrote a 1997 opinion throwing out a federal ban on the possession of machine guns and has been an advocate for toughening bankruptcy laws.
No wonder the wingers love her. And now we know what she thinks of people who aren't white.


More at Memeorandum.


BH said...

I practice SS/SSI disability law in Texas (along with Mississippi & Louisiana, in the 5th Circuit). Much of my practice is in the federal courts. No sane claimant's lawyer of my acquaintance ever appeals a federal district court decision to the 5th Circuit any more; my last such appeal was in 2006. Given the predominance of judges such as Jones on that court, you can well imagine why. They have the same amount of sympathy for a mentally retarded disability claimant as they have for a mentally retarded capital punishment victim - to wit, none.

trnc said...

Waddya wanna bet that in a room full of law students, someone was recording?

Victor said...

Well, with the "Gang of Three Sociopaths" - Scalia, Thomas, and Alito - with the two semi-"swing" votes, Kennedy and Roberts, having her in place of Alito wouldn't have made any difference when the SCOTUS overturns the Civil Rights Acts later on this month.

She's really no different from any of the 5 listed above - except that she has a vagina. And, besides, Thomas being black, hasn't done squat for rights for blacks.

Philo Vaihinger said...

What? You mean those aren't facts?