Another Georgia state Senator sends letters to both U.S. Senators urging an end to consideration of Dax Lopez for federal judge – we agree and thank Senator Josh McKoon
Below is the text of a letter sent to us from Georgia state Senator Josh McKoon to both of our U.S. Senators:
Dear Senators Isakson and Perdue:
I am writing you today to respectfully request that you withhold your approval of the nomination of Judge Dax Lopez so that it may not advance to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
President Obama nominated a qualified jurist last year who was not given the opportunity to have his nomination advanced to the full Senate for consideration.
Judge Lopez has served for the last 11 years on the Board of Directors of the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials (GALEO), an organization which has routinely advanced arguments to avoid or flout existing federal and state law and has opposed strongly common sense legislation to aid in the enforcement of immigration law at the state and local level.
Service on the Board of GALEO arguably runs afoul of Canon 5 of the Georgia Code of Judicial Conduct which states in pertinent part that:
Judges Shall Regulate Their Extra-Judicial Activities to Minimize the Risk of Conflict with Their Judicial Duties…B. Civic and Charitable Activities. Judges may not participate in civic and charitable activities that reflect adversely upon their impartiality or interfere with the performance of their judicial duties. Judges may serve as officers, directors, trustees, or non-legal advisors of educational, religious, charitable, fraternal, or civic organizations not conducted for the economic or political advantage of their members, subject to the following limitations: (1) Judges shall not serve if it is likely that the organization will be engaged in proceedings that would ordinarily come before them or will be regularly engaged in adversary proceedings in any court. Commentary: The changing nature of some organizations and of their relationship to the law makes it necessary for judges regularly to re-examine the activities of each organization with which they are affiliated to determine if it is proper for them to continue their relationship with it. For example, in many jurisdictions charitable hospitals are now more frequently in court than in the past. Similarly, the boards of some legal aid organizations now make policy decisions that may have political significance or imply commitment to causes that may come before the courts for adjudication.
GALEO has filed amicus briefs in cases involving immigration law and policy. See Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights et al v. Governor Nathan Deal, et al (U.S. District Court for Northern District of Georgia, Case No. 1:11-cv-1804-TWT) and State of Texas et al v. United States of America et al (United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Appeal No. 15-40238). The willingness to risk violation of Canon 5 by continuing to serve on the Board of Directors of GALEO should raise serious questions about the propriety of moving forward with confirmation proceedings.
As I have been drafting this letter to you, I have become aware of Judge Lopez’s resignation from the GALEO Board of Directors. That does not change the fact that he served for 11 years, including after GALEO inserted itself into at least two federal actions involving immigration issues that he would undoubtedly be confronted with in his role as a Federal District Court Judge. For these reasons, I respectfully request that you withhold support for this nomination.
Thank you for your diligent service to our State.
Joshua R. McKoon