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Monday, June 11, 2007

Bush Justice Department Injected Politics into Immigration Judge Selections

In the continuing saga of the Bush administration’s attempt to politicize every aspect of American government, the Washington Post reported today on the Department of Justice's political selections of immigration judges. Reporters Amy Goldstein and Dan Eggen explained that, although politics are not allowed to be taken into consideration in choosing immigration judges, that’s exactly what the Justice Department was doing until they allegedly stopped in April:
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.
The Bush Justice Department’s selection methods led Guadalupe Gonzales to sue when she was twice passed over for less qualified, white, male Bush insiders:
Her suit alleged that, between 2001 and late 2005, only two Latinos were appointed nationwide as immigration judges. Justice Department records make clear that the immigration bench is overwhelmingly male and white, even though Spanish-speaking people from Latin America make up at least 70 percent of the caseload.
Of course, these types of shenanigans are nothing out of the ordinary for the Bush administration, which has chosen federal courts of appeals judges based on similar political considerations. The difference is that, in the case of courts of appeals judges, the Senate has the right and the obligation to refuse to confirm judges who are not qualified and who are chosen for the wrong reasons.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will have the chance to do just that on Thursday when Judge Leslie Southwick comes up for a vote. The Senate should not let the Bush administration continue its crusade to fill every open position with right wing ideologues. The Judiciary Committee senators should vote against Judge Southwick and any other judicial nomination not fit for a lifetime appointment.

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