Washington Post Ignores Qualifications to Paint Picture of Judicial Cronyism

The Washington Post frets that the “recent pattern of hiring immigration judges” is proof the Bush administration is politicizing the process (“Immigration Judges Often Picked Based On GOP Ties,” June 11, 2007, p. A01).  The article names only one individual, El Paso government immigration attorney Guadalupe Gonzales, who claims “she was denied a judgeship twice in favor of less-qualified white men who were hired without an open application process.”

Post reporters Amy Goldstein and Dan Eggen also note that at least one third of the immigration judge appointees since 2004 “have had Republican connections or have been administration insiders.” The article does not make any comparison to appointments of Democrats during the Clinton Administration.

They do quote Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd's written statement “that judges appointed during the Bush administration are 'well qualified for their current positions' and that 'outstanding immigration judges can come from diverse backgrounds.'"

One of the examples the Post cites of “GOP ties” is Bruce Taylor, who began last year as an immigration judge in Arizona. The Post calls him a “conservative crusader against pornography” with political connections without mentioning his extensive legal background.

By way of disclaimer, Taylor is a close friend and my former boss at the National Law Center for Children and Families. He's a great lawyer with more than 34 years of legal experience and the utmost integrity, kindness and fairness.

Taylor served two years as senior counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division of DOJ; five years as special attorney in the Criminal Division's National Obscenity Enforcement Unit and senior trial attorney in the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section; Assistant Attorney General of Arizona in 1989; prosecutor and assistant director of law for the City of Cleveland, from 1973-78.  He has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, state supreme courts, and federal appellate courts. He has represented public officials, law enforcement personnel, and citizens in civil lawsuits on civil rights, zoning, Internet pornography, nuisance abatement, injunctions, forfeiture actions, criminal procedure, defamation, and First Amendment challenges to federal, state, and municipal laws.

Does anybody remember the Post raising concerns about political connections trumping qualifications when President Kennedy appointed his brother Robert Kennedy as Attorney General even though he had never practiced law?

Responding to critics, JFK quipped, “I can't see that it's wrong to give him a little legal experience before he goes out to practice law.” Well, that settles it.

Then there's the late Earl Warren, who became Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court even though he had never judged any matter including immigration.

Jan LaRue is a member of CMI's Board of Advisors.