The Legal Times has an excellent story providing the background to stories the LAT and WaPo posted the other day. A discrimination lawsuit by an experienced immigration lawyer, Guadelupe Gonzalez, sparked an internal debate that resulted in DOJ backing off its prior opinion that Immigration Judges were exempt from civil service guidelines.
Nor was it well-known that a discrimination suitfiled by Guadalupe Gonzalez led to internal debate within the JusticeDepartment over the appointment process and to a hiring freeze ofimmigration judges that began in December â€” a freeze that wasnâ€™t lifteduntil last month. Justiceâ€™s immigration judge selection process iscurrently being probed by the departmentâ€™s inspector general and itsOffice of Professional Responsibility for potential violations offederal civil service laws.
Back at the Justice Department, an internal disputearose over â€œwhether a competitive, merit selection process wasrequired,â€ Sampsonâ€™s attorney, Bradford Berenson wrote in response toinquiries. â€œThe issue was highly uncertain and legally complex.â€ TheCivil Division objected to using political considerations to hireimmigration judges and, by December, Attorney General Gonzalesâ€™ office,with Sampsonâ€™s full support, had agreed to suspend hiring while theprocess was reviewed.
A Justice Department spokeswoman says sheâ€™s not aware thatthere had ever been an internal dispute over hiring. Nevertheless, sheacknowledged that the department had recently revised its policy. As ofApril, all openings are now publicly posted, and the new processâ€œplaces the initial vetting, evaluation, and interviewing function forall candidates in the Office of the Chief Immigration Judge and EOIR,â€she says.
The article also expands on the list of unqualified shills who have gotten Immigration Judge positions because of their political connections. It provides an extended profile of Francis Cramer, a Judd Gregg buddy who was singled out by the GAO as singularly unqualified to be an Immigration Judge. And it provides a long list of others: