Immigration Judges Often Picked Based On GOP Ties
Amy Goldstein and Dan Eggen, Washington Post – June 11, 2007
The Bush administration increasingly emphasized partisan political ties over expertise in recent years in selecting the judges who decide the fate of hundreds of thousands of immigrants, despite laws that preclude such considerations, according to an analysis by The Washington Post.
At least one-third of the immigration judges appointed by the Justice Department since 2004 have had Republican connections or have been administration insiders, and half lacked experience in immigration law, Justice Department, immigration court and other records show.
Two newly appointed immigration judges were failed candidates for the U.S. Tax Court nominated by President Bush; one fudged his taxes and the other was deemed unqualified to be a tax judge by the nation’s largest association of lawyers. Both were Republican loyalists.
Justice officials also gave immigration judgeships to a New Jersey election law specialist who represented GOP candidates, a former treasurer of the Louisiana Republican Party, a White House domestic policy adviser and a conservative crusader against pornography.
From Monica Goodling’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee:
|Rep. Jerry Nadler:
“Were any of your superiors in the Justice Department aware… that you were asking such kinds of questions either for Assistant US Attorneys or for career positions at all?”
“Um, in some cases, when, relating to immigration judges, when I started my position as White House liason I was informed that the Office of Legal Counsel had said that because those were positions under a direct appointment authority of the Attorney General that we could consider other factors in those cases. Later, concerns were raised…”