(Los Angeles, CA, 4/24/15) – CAIR-LA was dismayed by the ruling issued yesterday by a federal judge in California against Iranian-American immigration judge Afsaneh Ashely Tabaddor. US District Court Judge George Wu sided with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and dismissed Judge Tabaddor's claims against the DOJ for discrimination and violation of her First Amendment rights, allowing her to amend and proceed only on her claim of retaliation.
Last August, Judge Tabaddor filed suit against the DOJ for discriminating against her when it ordered her to recuse herself from all cases involving Iranian nationals after she attended an event at the White House for Iranian-American leadership. Along with her allegations of discrimination, she alleged that the DOJ's blanket recusal violated her First Amendment rights of free speech and association and was an act of retaliation for her engaging in protected conduct.
The DOJ fought the claims not on their merits but on procedural issues of jurisdiction and exhaustion of administrative remedies under the Civil Service Reform Act.
Despite his ruling, Judge Wu told attorneys for the DOJ, “I think you must concede that you are treating her differently than other immigration judges.”
“This ruling is truly disappointing and serves not only to perpetuate the grave injustice carried out against Judge Tabaddor, but also creates yet another roadblock towards promoting diversity on the bench,” said Fatima Dadabhoy, CAIR-LA senior civil rights attorney.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR-LA Communications Coordinator Ojaala Ahmad, 714-776-1847 or 714-851-4851, or firstname.lastname@example.org