Monday, June 11, 2007
Ind. Decisions - More on "Does Judge Posner Write Too Much?"
Readers may recall this Decision of the Day entry on Judge Ripple re Judge Posner from June 5th.
Today a DOTD entry begins:
Last week, I blogged about this Seventh Circuit decision, in which Judge Ripple wrote a low-key but sharp-edged concurrence that criticized Judge Posner for writing too much.Access it here.
Today, [Judge Ripple] is at it again, criticizing Chief Judge Easterbrook for trying to shape immigration policy. * * *
This sort of armchair quarterbacking doesn’t sit well with Judge Ripple, who thinks that judges are ill-equipped to offer advice on agency policy. Concurring to express his disagreement with this portion of the decision, Judge Ripple writes: "While individual members of the judiciary may have views on how the agency can best perform, I believe that, as an institution, we ought to refrain from such pronouncements. Refugee policy is a most difficult and sensitive issue, and individuals of great intelligence and vision have wrestled with it for a very long time. * * *"
[More] For more on immigration judges, of whom not only some 7th Circuit judges have been critical, see this March 13th ILB entry.
In addition, the Washington Post today has a major front-page story headlined "Immigration Judges Often Picked Based On GOP Ties: Law Forbids Practice; Courts Being Reshaped." The report begins:
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.
These appointments, all made by the attorney general, have begun to reshape a system of courts in which judges, ruling alone, exercise broad powers -- deporting each year nearly a quarter-million immigrants, who have limited rights to appeal and no right to an attorney. The judges do not serve fixed terms.