The case of Judge Edith Jones has taken a new turn. Last week, a coalition of attorneys, activists, and civil rights groups, including – among others – the NAACP, the Texas Civil Rights Project, and LULAC, filed a Complaint of Judicial Misconduct against Judge Jones. The complaint alleged that in a February talk at the University of Pennsylvania, Judge Jones made several inappropriate assertions including that African Americans and Hispanics were prone to violence and that defenses of mental incapacity were merely red herrings. In their complaint, the petitioners requested a transfer to another court:
“…that under Rule 26 of the Rules for Judicial Conduct and Judicial Disability Proceedings, the Judicial Council for the Fifth Circuit ask the Chief Justice of the United States to transfer this proceeding to the judicial council of another circuit.”
To learn about the transfer, read below the jump. On Wednesday, that request for relief was granted. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts transferred the case to the Judicial Council of the District of Columbia Circuit. Fifth Circuit Chief Judge Carl Stewart had made the request last week, according to ThinkProgress. A copy of Chief Justice Roberts' letter granting the relief may be viewed here.
As the request for relief in the misconduct complaint noted, the transfer request is wholly sanctioned by the applicable rules. However, as ThinkProgress noted, the granting of a transfer is rare, as is the public nature of the entire proceeding. The procedural rules for the proceeding may be viewed here. Notably, subject to certain exceptions in Rule 24, Rule 11 requires the decision of the chief judge to be made available to the public.
Whether the presiding parties are taking the claims seriously, or whether these developments will merely provide cover in the event that the complaint is dismissed remains to be seen.