Judge Edith Jones to Be Investigated for Alleged Racist Remarks

Chief Justice John Roberts is apparently not amused by the alleged racist antics of Judge Edith Jones, who sits on the extraordinarily conservative Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, located in Texas. Roberts has ordered the Judicial Council of the District of Columbia Circuit to review a Complaint of Judicial Misconduct filed by several civil rights organizations related to disparaging comments Jones allegedly made about ethnic minorities and people with disabilities.

It is rare that a judicial misconduct complaint of this nature is made public. According to Lise Olsen of the Houston Chronicle, this is one of only a handful of times that a federal circuit judge has been the subject of a public judicial misconduct complaint. Usually such matters are secret under federal law.

Given the jaw-dropping comments alleged in the complaint, however, coupled with the recent public outcry surrounding those comments, it’s no surprise that this matter will be aired publicly rather than behind closed doors.

According to the complaint, Jones delivered a lecture entitled “Federal Death Penalty Review” at the University of Pennsylvania on February 20, where she allegedly made a host of racist and ableist comments. Jones claimed that certain “racial groups like African-Americans and Hispanics are predisposed to crime” and are “prone to commit acts of violence” and be involved in more violent and “heinous” crimes than people of other ethnicities. She also allegedly said that Mexicans would prefer to be on death row in the United States than serving prison terms in their native country.

In addition, Jones expressed her affinity for the death penalty and her disgust at death penalty opponents, allegedly stating that capital-defendants’ claims of racism, innocence, arbitrariness, and violations of international law and treaties are “red herrings” wielded by death penalty opponents. She also allegedly accused defendants who raise claims of “mental retardation” of abusing the system. According to Jones, the very fact that purportedly “mentally retarded” defendants were convicted of a capital crime is sufficient to prove that they are not “mentally retarded.”

Jones is also alleged to have claimed that the death penalty provides a public service to death row inmates because defendants “make peace with God” only in the moment before imminent execution.

The complaint also references an infamous incident during which Jones loudly slammed her hand on the bench during her colleague Judge James L. Dennis’ questioning of counsel during oral argument, disrespectfully asked Judge Dennis if he “wanted to leave” the courtroom during the argument, and told Judge Dennis that she wanted him to “shut up.” (Audio of that incident can be found here.)

While shocking to some, those familiar with Edith Jones’ antics expect this sort of behavior from her. When she’s not ordering her colleagues on the bench to “shut up,” she is writing some of the most virulently anti-woman decisions of any federal court judge in the country.

[read the full post at RH Reality Check]

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70 replies
  1. 1
    Jerzy Russian says:

    According to Jones, the very fact that purportedly “mentally retarded” defendants were convicted of a capital crime is sufficient to prove that they are not “mentally retarded.”

    This quote is from a federal judge? Holy Underwear!

  2. 2
    Tone in DC says:

    This bovine makes Rehnquist look good. That’s pretty tough to do.

    She’s been talking like this for years, and she’s still on the bench.

    Normally, I’m not the guy hoping for the meteor. Judges like this one, and those two in Pennsylvania who were getting kickbacks for railroading juveniles (for years) might get me to change my mind.

  3. 3
    piratedan says:

    another example where government and politics matter. The R’s dragging their heels on Obama’s judiciary appointments mean that there are more bugfuck R’s out there on the bench in overworked and overburdened jurisdictions.

  4. 4
    LosGatosCA says:

    Bell Curve, babeeee!

  5. 5
    GregB says:

    Cue the ‘whites are the real victims of racism’ amen chorus. Look at how Judge Jones is being attacked! That’s racist!

  6. 6
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    I heard about this a short while ago and I hope that the people going after her are successful. I feel sorry for anyone who was on her shit list who also had the misfortune of having their case brought before this woman.

    Fair and impartial? I think not.

    BTW, Hi ABL!

    /waves

  7. 7
    rda909 says:

    Winning elections certainly has consequences:

    “Jones has been mentioned frequently as being on the list of potential nominees to the Supreme Court of the United States. A 1990 report from The New York Times cited her as George H.W. Bush’s second choice for the Supreme Court vacancy filled by Justice David Souter.[2] The Chicago Sun-Times and several other newspapers reported on July 1, 2005, that she had also been considered for nomination to the Supreme Court during the presidency of George W. Bush.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edith_Jones

    If there were enough teabggers in Congress at those times, she would be on the Supreme Court without a doubt, but you know, free MumiaManningSnowden!! Nothing else matters.

  8. 8
    Bloix says:

    You’re reading too much into Roberts’ involvement. A group of civil rights organizations made a formal complaint against Judge Jones. Under the rules that govern judicial conduct, it was the duty of the chief judge of the Fifth Circuit (geographically, the central southern states) to investigate. However, he made a formal request to the Chief Justice to have the investigation re-assigned to another circuit. Roberts agreed to do so and assigned it to the DC Circuit. He didn’t originate the investigation.

  9. 9
    maya says:

    She shouldn’t worry. There’s a red state somewhere that will need a new governor.

  10. 10
    handsmile says:

    Does make one wonder anew why Dubya nominated Harriet Miers rather than this shoo-in to replace Sandra Day O’Connor in 2005.

    This little kerfuffle (stern letter to be issued; a statement of apology “if anyone was offended…” in reply) will only burnish Judge Jones credentials when the Christie administration begins to consider Supreme Court appointments.

  11. 11
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    Counting down to SCOTUS rulings. If you don’t already have it on in the background here is SCOTUSBLOG

    http://www.scotusblog.com/

  12. 12
    Xenos says:

    Just think how many convictions from the last decades will have motions for new trials filed. Anybody here handle federal crim law? Can that be done where a judge announces and is proud of her bigotry?

  13. 13
    beltane says:

    @handsmile: I think Edith Jones would be too Texas for Christie’s tastes. That said, she does seem to posses all the qualities Rand Paul would seek in an Attorney General.

  14. 14
    MomSense says:

    There are not enough expletives in the world to describe that Judge. That she has a record of such “antics” and has not been held accountable is inexcusable.

  15. 15
    Cassidy says:

    But hey, staying home and not voting because Obama isn’t pure enough is the answer.

  16. 16
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    1. Browns are bad and violent;
    2. GOD’s clammy hand fixes everything;
    3. Liberals ruin everything;
    4. Tards are faking it;
    5. Shut up, that’s why.

    WINGNUT BINGO!

  17. 17
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    Wow these are words you don’t see every day

    Majority is Thomas, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan. Dissent by Roberts, joined by Scalia and Kennedy. Alito dissents separately.

  18. 18
    Cassidy says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    4. Tards and women are faking it;

    It’s a twofer.

  19. 19
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    OT: Good god! Justice Thomas wrote a pro-defendant opinion. See, Alleyene case on SCOTUSblog.

  20. 20
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Right! Me flabber has never been so ghasted.

  21. 21
    EconWatcher says:

    I spent four years working pro bono on a Texas death penalty case. Judge Edith Jones was on the circuit panel that was, for practical purposes, the last chance for relief. We had some strong issues, including the fact that the prosecutor had quoted the bible to the mostly Baptist jury for the proposition that they would be committing a sin if they did not impose the death penalty. I will never forget the sneering, unprofessional tone in the ruling rejecting our appeal.

    I think death-penalty defendants should be granted a new appellate hearing if Jones was on their panel. But that won’t help my client. He was executed in the summer of 1997.

  22. 22
    Another Halocene Human says:

    Speaking of racists, Pam Geller’s Islamophobic zombie hordes are disgusting.

    Haven’t seem this mentioned on BJ. One of the most anti-American displays I’ve seen in, oh, weeks.

  23. 23
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: I can’t do videos at work. What was this in reference to?

  24. 24
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: up is down, hot is cold…

  25. 25
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):

    Briefly if facts are introduced that will increase the mandatory maximum sentence they must be given to the jury not the judge. (I think that is it)

  26. 26
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Another Halocene Human: You’ll see more about her on LGF. Charles Johnson frequently posts about Geller’s anti-Muslim hatred.

  27. 27
    Lurking Canadian says:

    Between this and his vote on ACA, I begin to wonder if Roberts has had some kind of conversion experience.

  28. 28
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Pretty much.

    Also, I am now expecting the imminent arrival of the Sta-Puft marshmallow man.

  29. 29
    Cassidy says:

    @Another Halocene Human: I’ve been thinking, maybe The Purge isn’t such a bad idea after all.

  30. 30
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @EconWatcher: Wow. That really sucks. Condolences to you and the defendant’s family.

  31. 31
    cvstoner says:

    Not sure why people are surprised. They’re talking about Texas, after all…

  32. 32
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): Yeah, but Charles is all NSA all the time right now. Geller did get an honorable mention, but it wasn’t for members of her group packing a forum about silencing of the Muslim community to attempt to heckle and silence the Muslim community in TN.

    Maybe somebody should mention it to him. I don’t have a login there or a twittermabobit.

  33. 33
    Cassidy says:

    @cvstoner: Oh no, now you’re gonna give Corner Stone a sad and we’ll hvae to deal with grumpy mean spirited comments all day and…well, I guess it doesn’t change much. Carry on.

  34. 34
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt:
    I’ve always wondered about this expression. When one is flabbergasted, has one’s flabber been gasted, or has one’s gast been flabbered?

  35. 35
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: WRT Thomas’s Alleyene opinion, it appears that he sides with the liberals fairly often on right to a jury questions.

  36. 36
    daveNYC says:

    She doesn’t seem to grasp the concept of what an appeal is.

  37. 37
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Amir Khalid:
    Or is one’s gast flabbering?

  38. 38
    shortstop says:

    @Lurking Canadian: No. See Bloix’ comment at #8.

  39. 39
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt:
    @Omnes Omnibus:
    I thought I was having lateralization issues and reading poorly.

    And when I read that the 5th Circuit Chief asked for reassignment I had hopes there would be actual discipline, knowing that impeachment was far too much to hope for.

    Hi ABL!!

  40. 40
    gbear says:

    @Another Halocene Human: Go back a week or so into LGF’s archives. He was all over Geller and what happened in Tennessee.

  41. 41
    JR in WV says:

    Hi,

    Good post. There is a correction on the original post to the effect that the “judge” is on a circuit based in New Orleans, NOT Tejas.

    What a * this crazed woman is!
    *I’m speechless; my friends will tell you this is unusual.

  42. 42
    Ridnik Chrome says:

    Wasn’t Edith Jones mentioned as a potential SCOTUS nominee, back during the Bush-Cheney administration? I seem to remember seeing her on at least one prominent wingnut’s wishlist of court picks…

  43. 43
    cmorenc says:

    Judges like the excrable Edith Jones are the quintessential example of why the constitutional mandate that federal Article III judicial appointments are essentially lifetime appointments, limited only by the vague qualifier “during good behavior”, is a double-edged sword. What the nebulous “during good behavior” criteria actually means in practice is “so long as the judge’s conduct isn’t sufficiently egregious to persuade two-thirds of the United States Senate to vote for impeachment”. Where are you going to find twelve GOP senators willing to impeach Judge Edith Jones, assuming that all 55 Democratic senators would be inclined to so vote?

    There’s really little that can be done to sanction Judge Edith Jones, unless the Chief Judge and colleagues on the Fifth Circuit felt inclined to shut her out of assignment to any panels for hearing and deciding cases.

  44. 44
    peach flavored shampoo says:

    Where are you going to find twelve GOP senators willing to impeach Judge Edith Jones, assuming that all 55 Democratic senators would be inclined to so vote?

    Her shit is so racist, so overtly offensive, that you’d think finding 12 R’s to vote with the Dems would be a cakewalk. Who would want to be seen siding with a blantant, wantonly offensive individual? Alas, along came the Teatards, and now this shit is celebrated, not ostracized.

  45. 45
    EconWatcher says:

    @cmorenc:

    This is an interesting situation, because I think her remarks provide a basis for recusal or disqualification motions in a vast variety of cases, not only death penalty, but perhaps all criminal cases, certainly civil rights cases (involving both minorities and the disabled), and others. Even an appearance of bias should be enough to sustain such a motion.

    I hope at least the criminal defense bar moves for her recusal in essentially every case. They have a proper basis. And this would put a lot of pressure on both her and the Supreme Court. I can’t think of a precedent for a judge remaining on the federal bench a long time after such pressure is applied.

    There was a federal judge in Minnesota who was subject to these kinds of restrictions after some crazy rulings, and to the best of my memory he retired fairly soon thereafter. Judge Jones would likely get some kind of wingnut welfare post in exchange for not embarrassing her party further. Let’s hope it plays out this way.

  46. 46
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Her shit is so racist, so overtly offensive, that you’d think finding 12 R’s to vote with the Dems would be a cakewalk. Who would want to be seen siding with a blantant, wantonly offensive individual? Alas, along came the Teatards, and now this shit is celebrated, not ostracized.

    @peach flavored shampoo: The GOP started walking this path the day Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act.

    After Nixon, it was standard operating procedure.

    After Reagan, it was chiseled in stone.

    By the time Bush came around, anyone with a brain should have expected that a GOP-led government would let a city full of black folks drown. Which they did. Less expected but equally as predictable would be that we’d all be so used to it by that point that nobody would really give a shit.

  47. 47
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @piratedan: AMEN. And that’s why it’s important to have a Dem in the WH and a Dem Attorney General.

  48. 48
    MikeInSewickley says:

    Someone who was once considered for a spot on the Supreme Court says this crap… amazing and sadly not unusual anymore.

    I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but What The Hell Is Wrong With Texas??? Demographic changes in TX can’t come fast enough for me.

  49. 49
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @MikeInSewickley: We have a lot more loonies than the rest of the south because we’re bigger. I think our density of crazies is about the same as any other southern state.

  50. 50
    Jebediah says:

    Week before last a coworker assured me that racism isn’t a problem anymore, so this must be a made-up story.

    ETA: White coworker.

  51. 51
    Yatsuno says:

    @MikeInSewickley:

    What The Hell Is Wrong With Texas???

    I can’t even blame the whole was once an independent country thing. So was Hawai’i, and they aren’t anywhere near as screwed up about this crap.

  52. 52
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    Less expected but equally as predictable would be that we’d all be so used to it by that point that nobody would really give a shit.

    Lots of us gave a shit. Lots of us donated all we could. The government was the only agency with the resources to do effectively deal with the disaster. Bushco’s response was something less than half-assed.

  53. 53
    Roger Moore says:

    @Yatsuno:

    I can’t even blame the whole was once an independent country thing. So was Hawai’i, and they aren’t anywhere near as screwed up about this crap.

    So was Vermont, and they aren’t particularly badly screwed up. California has some very tenuous claims in that direction, and we’re not that bad.

  54. 54
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    Less expected but equally as predictable would be that we’d all be so used to it by that point that nobody would really give a shit.

    Huh? A whole lot of lifelong Republicans were terminally pissed off by that. I remember one of my former coworkers coming into the office the next day absolutely livid about it and swearing that he’d never vote Republican ever again.

    The media stuffed it down the memory hole almost immediately, but it’s pretty easy to draw a line from the Katrina response in 2005 and the Democrats winning the House in 2006. The media forgets, but voters remember.

  55. 55
    steve says:

    According to Jones, the very fact that purportedly “mentally retarded” defendants were convicted of a capital crime is sufficient to prove that they are not “mentally retarded.”

    “Some folks call it a Kaiser blade…”

  56. 56
    Mike G says:

    There are hundreds of these judges out there, authoritarian land mines planted by the Republikkkan thugs contemptuous of anyone who isn’t in their little tribe.

    One of the FISA judges is said to be a real piece of work.

  57. 57
    karen says:

    <blockquoteWho would want to be seen siding with a blantant, wantonly offensive individual? Alas, along came the Teatards Ted & Hellen, and now this shit is celebrated, not ostracized.

    Fixed.

  58. 58
    Haydnseek says:

    @Amir Khalid: I’m not sure, but somehow I always know when my gruntle has been dissed.

  59. 59
    Sad_Dem says:

    @Amir Khalid: From the online etymology dictionary: “flabbergasted (adj.) 1772, mentioned (with bored) in a magazine article as a new vogue word, perhaps from some dialect (in 1823 flabbergast was noted as a Sussex word), likely an arbitrary formation from flabby or flapper and aghast.” Who knew there were flappers in the 1770s?

  60. 60
    Trollhattan says:

    Possible replacement for Judge Jones.

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelli.....owell.html

  61. 61
    mclaren says:

    Meanwhile, Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia won’t be investigated for saying he doesn’t believe in Darwinian evolution or the double-helix structure of DNA.

    Great.

  62. 62
    beliebert says:

    First they make Jaime Lannister a good guy and now Roberts? What is the world coming to.

  63. 63
    rikyrah says:

    ALLEGED racist remarks..

    um…ok…pretend with the ‘alleged’

  64. 64

    How does somebody like that even get to be a judge? I’m guessing our old pal George Bush put her there, am I right about this? Is there any way to get her out of office? I guess there’s always impeachment, but I don’t know whether being a racist asshole is grounds to impeach. I guess if it affects her rulings–and it’s hard to see how it wouldn’t–then that might do it. I bet she’s just a load of fun to hang around with. Asshole…

  65. 65
    EconWatcher says:

    @Zapruder F. Mashtots, D.D.S. (Mumphrey, et al.):

    Reagan appointee. And she was in her mid-30s when she was appointed.

    In fairness to Reagan (yeah, I wrote that), she might have been more subtle and diplomatic earlier in her career. I’ve known many, many people who didn’t let their true feak flag show until later years.

    After spending almost half her life as a life-tenured federal judge, she may have come to the conclusion that she can say whatever she wants without consequences. I hope and think she may have miscalculated.

  66. 66
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Huh? A whole lot of lifelong Republicans were terminally pissed off by that. I remember one of my former coworkers coming into the office the next day absolutely livid about it and swearing that he’d never vote Republican ever again.

    Katrinia was the last straw for me as a Republican. I never called myself one again after that summer.

  67. 67
    maya says:

    @Haydnseek: I really thought I had lost it, but my dumb has been founded. It was between my ears all the time.

  68. 68
    Ken says:

    Jones is also alleged to have claimed that the death penalty provides a public service to death row inmates because defendants “make peace with God” only in the moment before imminent execution.

    Every now and then, I understand how the Saw killer gets his ideas.

  69. 69
    Tehanu says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):
    I’d be willing to bet real money that if you took one of Joseph Goebbels’ speeches, substituted in the word “Muslim” for the word “Jew,” and sent it to Geller, she’d be on Faux News the next night reciting it without a trace of self-consciousness. I’m only half Jewish and I’m deeply ashamed to share any ethnicity with that screaming maniac.

  70. 70
    Nancy Irving says:

    And every time there’s a SCOTUS opening during a GOP administration, the press says Jones is on the “short list.”

    “What, me racist?”

    Nice to see ABL back, by the way.

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