In news that should surprise no one familiar with the Justice Department politicization
under Monica Goodling and Jan Williams, a study conducted by the New York Times
found that immigration judges
installed during this period of illegal hiring were more likely than their peers to reject immigrants' bids for asylum.
According to the Times
, of the 31 judges appointed during Goodling's tenure, only 16 had extensive enough records to support statistical analysis. Of those, nine rejected immigrant asylum seekers at a rate higher than other local judges, three were more likely to grant asylum, and four were in keeping with averages.
Collectively, the group was 6.6 percentage points greater in denying asylum than their combined local averages.
From the Times
In Houston, for example, Judge Chris Brisack denied asylum in 90.7 percent of his cases, while other judges in that city averaged a 79.1 percent denial rate. Judge Brisack, a former Republican county chairman who also works in the oil business, did not return a call.
Garry Malphrus, the judge later elevated to the Board of Immigration Appeals, denied asylum 66.9 percent of the time, compared with an average denial rate of 58.3 percent among other judges at his court in Arlington, Va. Judge Malphrus, a former associate director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, did not return a call.
The highest gap belonged to Judge Earle Wilson. He worked first in Miami, where he denied 88.1 percent of asylum requests -- 9.8 percentage points higher than the local average. He then moved to Orlando, where his denial rate was 80.3 percent -- 29.2 percentage points higher than peers.
It wasn't but two weeks ago
that Attorney Gen. Mukasey made the bold statement in a speech to the American Bar Association, that the Justice Department would not systematically remove all those hired during the DOJ's period of politicization.
"Two wrongs do not make a right," said Mukasey of the idea of dismissing those hired through the flawed process. "[T]he people hired in an improper way did not, themselves, do anything wrong. It therefore would be unfair - and quite possibly illegal given their civil service protections - to fire them or to reassign them without individual cause."
But even more interesting in the light of the Times
report, is Mukasey's specific defense of IJs hired under Goodling's watch and his highlighting of one of the judges he had recently promoted:
One of the Immigration Judges identified by the joint report as having been hired through the flawed process was recently tapped - by the revised hiring process that gives no consideration to politics - to be a member of the Board of Immigration Appeals. Putting aside fairness to him, it would have ill served the public interest not to appoint him merely because those who first hired him had violated the civil service laws. Firing him and all those like him would be wrong, and it would be harmful to the Department and to the country.
In the same speech, Mukasey promised a "swift and unambiguous response" if anyone is "found to be handling or deciding cases based on politics, and not based on what the law and facts require."
study certainly suggests that judges hired under this illegal process were likely to rule more harshly than their peers. It will be interesting to see if Mukasey considers these findings proof of "handling or deciding cases based on politics."