Sunday, August 24, 2008

More Unsurprising News

Even as an optimist, I know that some of the actions of the current administration will continue to trouble us for years, perhaps even decades. It's what Ruth and I refer to as the Bush Legacy. Today's NY Times has an article which illustrates this point perfectly.

Immigrants seeking asylum in the United States have been disproportionately rejected by judges whom the Bush administration chose using a conservative political litmus test, according to an analysis of Justice Department data.

The analysis suggests that the effects of a patronage-style selection process for immigration judges — used for three years before it was abandoned as illegal — are still being felt by scores of immigrants whose fates are determined by the judges installed in that period.

The data focuses on 16 judges who were vetted for political affiliation before being hired and have since ruled on at least 100 cases each.

Comparison of their records to others in the same cities shows that as a group they ruled against asylum-seekers significantly more often than colleagues who were appointed, as the law requires, under politically neutral rules.

Critics of the politicization of the immigration bench say it is not enough that in 2007 the department stopped using illegal hiring procedures. The fact that many of the politically selected judges remain in power, they say, continues to undermine the perceived fairness of hearings for immigrants fighting deportation.

The article breaks down the numbers contained in that Justice Department analysis, and with one really notable exception (one guy managed to fool the White House test and granted asylum in many more cases than his peers did), the judges issued decisions which followed the ideological line demanded by the White House as guided by Karl Rove.

Because these judgeships fall within the Civil Service rules, the Senate had no say in the appointments. At the same time, however, because of the Civil Service status, the method used by BushCo was soon determined to be illegal and the White House was forced to stop the process. Unfortunately, it was too late to do anything about those already on the bench.

...31 immigration judges had been appointed by the flawed process. The Justice Department did not challenge a list of those judges submitted by The New York Times.

Of that group, 28 remain judges, two left during a probationary period, and one was recently promoted by Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey to the Board of Immigration Appeals, the panel that hears appeals of rulings.

You see, once the judges got through the probationary period, they had a lock on the job absent any clear evidence of misconduct because of Civil Service rules. So the 28 still sitting and the one promoted will continue to hear the cases and will continue to routinely deny asylum.

I guess Emma Lazarus hadn't considered that possibility.

149 days.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

It might be interesting to see whether the fact that the nomination was flawed can be ruled to imply that the flawed judges civil service positions are invalid.

There is a general lesson that people like Senator Schumer and many others don't understand. Never, never support a Republican. Schmuer sponsored and support Mukasey who turn out to be a supporter of torture and as nutty as his boss.

Sadly, we have a candidate, Obama, who wants to get even closer to Republican. That's outrageous.

8:57 AM  

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