Chief Justice Roberts Calls For Rare Formal Review Of Allegedly Racist Judge

Judge Edith Jones

Judge Edith Jones, the former chief judge of the powerful United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, will be the subject of a formal ethics review.

Last week, a coalition of civil rights organizations filed a complaint against Jones alleging that she claimed that African-Americans and Hispanics are predisposed towards violent crime, among other things. In response to this complaint, Fifth Circuit Chief Judge Carl Stewart asked Chief Justice John Roberts to transfer the Jones complaint to another circuit. Yesterday, Roberts obliged with a letter formally calling upon the Judicial Council of the District of Columbia Circuit to “exercise the powers of a judicial council with respect to” the Jones complaint and any related complaints.

Although the rules governing judicial misconduct complaints allow for such transfers, they are unusual and are normally not handled in as public a manner.

As of last month, the Judicial Council of the District of Columbia Circuit includes Chief Judge Merrick Garland, a Clinton appointee, and four other judges appointed by Democratic presidents. The remaining four members are Republican appointees.