The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports, "5th Circuit judge complaint to be considered by Washington D.C. court," by Drew Broach.
A formal complaint against a judge of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans was transferred Wednesday to the federal appeals court in Washington D.C. The one-sentence notice of the transfer, posted on the 5th Circuit's website, does not name the judge or describe the complaint, but it appeared eight days after a coalition of civil rights groups challenged 5th Circuit Judge Edith Jones' possibly racist remarks in a February speech at the University of Pennsylvania.
The 5th Circuit's chief judge, Carl Stewart of Shreveport, 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. It had been Stewart's duty to determine whether the complaint merited investigation and, if so, to order an inquiry by the 5th Circuit's Judicial Council.
Instead, Stewart turned to Roberts, invoking a rule that allows transfers "in exceptional circumstances."
"Rare formal review ordered for federal judge," is the Houston Chronicle report by Lise Olsen.
Chief Justice John Roberts of the U.S. Supreme Court formally ordered on Wednesday that a rare public judicial misconduct complaint against 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Edith Jones be reviewed by officials in a different circuit — one based in the nation's capital.
"I have selected the Judicial Council of the District of Columbia Circuit to accept the transfer and to exercise the powers of a judicial council with respect to the identified complaint and any pending or new complaints relating to the same subject matter," Roberts said in a letter addressed to the D.C. circuit's chief judge that was posted on the 5th Circuit's website.
It is only one of a handful of times in U.S. history that a federal circuit judge has been the subject of a public judicial misconduct complaint and a formal disciplinary review. Normally such matters are secret under federal law.
"This is a hopeful sign that (federal judges) are taking this seriously," says a lawyer who signed the complaint, James C. Harrington of the Texas Civil Rights Project.
The Austin Chronicle posts, "Complaint About Judge's Alleged Racist Comments Moved to D.C.," by Jordan Smith.
In a brief single-paragraph letter, Roberts wrote that he has selected the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to conduct the review of a complaint filed June 4 by a group of civil rights advocates and legal ethicists and alleging that Jones made biased and racist comments during a lecture she gave earlier this year at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law – including that blacks and Hispanics are more likely to commit violent crime and that Mexican Nationals would rather be on death row in the U.S. than in a Mexican prison. Mexico abolished the death penalty in 2005.
Roberts moved the complaint on a request from Fifth Circuit Chief Judge Carl Stewart – who was responding, in turn, to a request to remove the complaint to another circuit made in the original complaint, filed by the Austin NAACP, Texas Civil Rights Project, and LULAC, among others.
The D.C. court will now be tasked with investigating the complaint "and any pending or new complaints relating to the same subject matter," Roberts wrote.
"DC circuit reviewing federal judge's alleged racially discriminatory comments," is the AP filing by Frederic J. Frommer, via the Greenfield Daily Reporter.
The council can take several actions, ranging from a public reprimand to referring the case to the national Judicial Conference of the United States, if the council believes the conduct is grounds for impeachment.
Today's Fort Worth Star-Telegram publishes the editorial, "Judge’s comments raise questions about impartiality."
It’s a mythical ideal that judges are strictly impartial.
They may have preconceived notions about the law, along with well-informed viewpoints based on their experience. And they’re only human; they may form opinions about cases or develop impressions about society based on the perspective those cases provide.
But judges are entrusted with basing decisions on the facts before them and the applicable law, not their presumptions or conjectures. They’re supposed to put aside any biases that might interfere with them acting fairly.
What’s still unresolved, though, are questions about how Texas determines which inmates are too mentally impaired for the death penalty — and how far judges can go in public comments before they undermine public confidence in the courts.
Earlier coverage of the ethics complaint filed against Judge Edith Jones begins at the link.
The ethics complaint filed against Judge Edith Jones is available in Adobe .pdf format.