An order indefinitely recusing a sitting Immigration Judge from hearing cases involving Iranian nationals has been challenged in a lawsuit. The case centers on Judge Ashley Tabaddor’s Iranian heritage and her participation in the Iranian-American community while she serves as an immigration judge. The suit challenges the Department of Justice (DOJ) on the grounds that the order violates the First Amendment and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Tabaddor’s complaint is that the order violates her right (and those of other immigration judges) to participate in activities on her own time, and particularly violates the DOJ’s written ethics policies that encourage judges to engage in civic activities. The National Association of Immigration Judges (NAIJ) is supporting Tabaddor’s suit, and seeks to force the DOJ to lift the order, as well as “cease enforcement of a policy that is motivated by discriminatory animus and chills public discourse and engagement by federal Immigration Judges in a potentially wide array of civic, religious, volunteer and other activities,” according to the official release by the NAIJ.