May 4th, 2015

Lim Ruger Files Amicus Brief Warning Against Broad Ramifications of a Blanket Recusal Order Against an Immigration Judge Based Upon Race/National Origin

Representing the National Association of Immigration Judges pro bono, Lim Ruger lawyers filed an amicus curiae brief in support of an Iranian-American immigration judge’s federal lawsuit against the Executive Office For Immigration Review (“EOIR”), which is within the Department of Justice.  This case arose out of the EOIR’s blanket and perpetual order barring an immigration judge of Iranian descent from all matters involving persons from Iran after she accepted an invitation from the White House Office on Public Engagement to a “roundtable” of Iranian-American leaders and allegedly became an “advocate” for the Iranian-American community.  As the brief argues, a recusal order applied to broad categories of individuals would have a significant chilling effect on judges who are engaged or active in any community, church, or any identifiable group, not to mention the negative impact it would have on the court system in its suggestion that judges cannot be fair-minded when hearing cases involving persons of an ethnicity with which that judge may be associated.  If allowed to stand, such a practice would sanction similar actions against any immigration judge who participates in volunteer work or community organizing while off the bench.  The ramifications of this type of arbitrary and capricious action are wide-ranging, and could, for example, threaten to exclude any judge who is active in the LGBT community from cases involving lesbians, or active in the disabled community from cases involving a handicapped individual, or a leader on women’s issues from cases involving women, or active in the Asian American community from matters involving any person from a country in Asia.  The case is Tabaddor v. Holder, CV14-06309 (C.D. Cal. Filed Aug. 12, 2014).

Tabaddor – Daily Journal Article

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