Edith Jones, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in Texas, is the target of an ethics complaint by civil rights groups who claim that she said in a speech at the University of Pennsylvania Law School that “racial groups like African Americans and Hispanics are predisposed to crime,” MSNBC reports.
Keep in mind, this is not an everyday ignorant comment, but the statement of someone who actually has a pretty powerful platform from which to express racism if she chooses to do so.
So while what she’s accused of saying would be dumb coming from anyone (the Federalist Society, a group that hosted Jones’ speech, released a response to the story on its Facebook page, calling it “one-sided reporting and frivolous accusations”), according to the complaint, when uttered by a judge, such comments actually violate the ethical provisions of the judicial code of conduct, including a duty to be impartial and to “avoid comment or behavior that could be interpreted as harassment, prejudice or bias.”
And it doesn’t take much interpretation to get “bias” from the alleged remarks.
Although the event wasn’t recorded, five students and one attorney who were in attendance signed affidavits about what they heard, according to the Associated Press.
Other highlights, according to the complaint, incude these messages:
The United States system of justice provides a positive service to capital-case defendants by imposing a death sentence, because the defendants are likely to make peace with God only in the moment before imminent execution; …
Claims of racism, innocence, arbitrariness, and international standards are simply “red herrings” used by opponents of capital punishment;
Capital defendants who raise claims of “mental retardation” abuse the system; …