AUSTIN, Texas, June 5 (UPI) -- Civil rights advocates in Texas said they will file a complaint against a federal judge for telling a law school audience minorities "are predisposed to crime."
The Texas Civil Rights Project, based in Austin, said on its website Wednesday it would join with other organizations to file the judicial-misconduct complaint against Edith Jones, a senior judge of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, over remarks she made in February during a speech at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law.
The complaint alleges Jones' remarks "violated basic rules of judicial ethics, including the fundamental duty of impartiality," and were biased against minority groups and people with mental disabilities. It says Jones told her audience certain "racial groups like African-Americans and Hispanics are predisposed to crime," and are more apt than others to commit "heinous" crimes and other acts of violence.
The complaint alleges Jones told the law school audience she is disgusted by capital case defendants' claims of "mental retardation" and execution is a service to such defendants because they are "likely to make peace with God only in the moment before their imminent execution," the TCRP said in the release.
TCRP Director Jim Harrington said Jones' comments "show an astonishing and frank bias, which ought to disqualify her from hearing cases involving claims of racism and discrimination, especially in capital punishment cases where a person's life is at stake."
The Penn Law School Federalist Society, a conservative-libertarian campus organization, complained in a Facebook post about "one-sided reporting and frivolous accusations."
"Rest assured the Federalist Society does not host or harbor racist speakers," the post said.
Another post said Jones' speech was not recorded and no transcript exists.
Jones was considered as a potential U.S. Supreme Court nominee during the administration of former President George W. Bush, the San Antonio Express-News said.