The public learned this week that the Judicial Council of the D.C. Circuit dismissed a complaint of judicial misconduct against Judge Edith Jones of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The order followed a year-long investigation by Special Counsel Jeffrey Bellin. The roughly 70-page Report of the Special Committee appears nonpartisan, thorough, and fair.
The complaint stemmed from a lecture Judge Jones gave to the University of Pennsylvania Federalist Society chapter in February 2013. Among the complainants’ claims was that, during her lecture, Judge Jones suggested she believed that members of certain races were predisposed to commit violent crimes. With no recording of the event, witnesses disagreed about exactly what she said. Was she talking about genetic determinism? Or was she only referring to the objective fact that, for whatever reason, our nation’s prisoners are disproportionately black and Latino? The subsequent independent investigation concluded that “whatever she said initially, it is clear that Judge Jones used the question-and-answer period to clarify that she did not adhere to such views,” rejecting the complaint’s version of her speech. The D.C. Circuit cleared her of all of the charges of misconduct, including this one.
When the complaint was first filed, I defended Judge Jones. Defending her was relatively easy….