Tuesday, June 14, 2016

So When Is It Fair to Judge the Judges?

We all know about the controversy with Donald Trump accusing the judge in his Trump University case of being biased because of the judge's Hispanic heritage, and his associations with pro-Hispanic groups like La Raza (literally translated at "The Race") Lawyers, because of Trump's outspoken opposition to illegal immigration. Sounds entirely plausible to me, and possibly grounds for the judge to recuse himself, but Trump faced rather heavy condemnation from liberal, and then even conservatives for daring to mention the judge's ethnicity in his rant.

But what about this one?  The Obama Admin Blocked An Iranian-American Judge From Hearing Iranian Immigration Cases
In 2015, immigration Judge A. Ashley Tabaddor sued the United States Department of Justice after it forced her to recuse herself from “all immigration cases involving Iranians.”

According to reporting from NPR, Obama’s DOJ first became “concerned with the appearance of impropriety” after Tabaddor — who is of Iranian descent — attended a 2012 White House meeting with other high-profile Iranian-Americans.
I don't remember a massive fuss about this. IN fact, I don't remember hearing about it at all. Is Loretta Lynch bigoted against Iranians, or was this just a sensible precaution against the appearance of bias?

And now about the case of Judge Aaron Persky, who handed down what appeared to many liberals as far too lenient a sentence in the case of of Brock Turner, a former Stanford University swimmer convicted of sexual assault. He was given a sentence of 6 months. NPR cites Michele Dauber, the Stanford law professor who's leading an effort to dismiss Persky.
It is my belief that sometimes one case can be so bad that it does require strong action and strong repudiation. Judge Persky is a criminal judge, one of the very few criminal judges, who has jurisdiction over Stanford. So that means that we would be waiting six more years in order to remove him according to the regular election process, and any sexual assaults that happen on the Stanford campus during that time would be highly unlikely to receive a prison sentence based on this precedent. So we think this is dangerous; we can't really let it go on for another six years. We need justice for women now.
Can they dismiss the judge's sentence based on the fact that he was male, and presumably biased in favor of the male defendant? We don't seem to suffer the any qualms about accusing him of bias.

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