Judge Diggs Taylor's Conflict of Interest

Last week, Judicial Watch discovered that Judge Anna Diggs Taylor, who recently ruled the NSA warrantless wiretapping program unconstitutional, has ties to a plaintiff in the case, creating a potential conflict of interest. Judge Diggs Taylor serves on the Board of Trustees and is the Secretary for the Community Foundation of South Eastern Michigan (CFSEM), a non-profit organization which donated $45,000 to the ACLU of Michigan, a plaintiff in the wiretapping lawsuit.

This discovery led to a barrage of media coverage from The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, the Associated Press, Bill O’Reilly, Robert Novak and others, which focused national attention on the subject.

This is not the first time Judge Diggs Taylor’s judgment has been questioned. In an affirmative action case involving the University of Michigan School of Law, Judge Diggs Taylor reportedly attempted to use her position as then-Chief Judge of the federal District Court to reassign the case from Judge Bernard Freeman, who had been assigned the case by a blind draw, to a judge more “sympathetic” to affirmative action policies. (Judge Freeman questioned Judge Diggs Taylor’s “highly irregular” behavior and the attempt to reassign the case was dropped.)

Currently, Judge Diggs Taylor is presiding over a civil trial in which former Arab Community Center for Social and Economic Services (ACCESS) employee, Bushra Alawie, is suing ACCESS for a variety of claims, including discrimination. CFSEM has donated $180,000 to ACCESS yet, despite her connection to the organization, Judge Diggs Taylor has not recused herself. The trial is set for February 2007.

This series of questionable actions on the part of Judge Diggs Taylor definitely raises red flags. When a judge fails to disclose a potential conflict of interest, it calls to question whether they are truly committed to impartiality. Given the enormous public interest in the NSA wiretapping lawsuit, Judge Diggs Taylor should have disclosed to the public her link to the ACLU. Further serious investigation is warranted.

ACLU Attempts to Intervene in JW’s Special Order 40 Lawsuit

Do you need more evidence that Judicial Watch is doing the right thing by suing the LAPD over its illegal immigration sanctuary policy, Special Order 40? Probably not, but I’ve got some for you anyway. The American Civil Liberties Union, in conjunction with a few other pro-illegal immigration groups, has filed a motion to intervene in the case against Judicial Watch.

When you are being attacked by the ACLU, you’re probably doing something right, so I’m neither surprised, nor disturbed, by their attempt to intervene. Not only is the law on our side, but our legal minds here at Judicial Watch can pretty much handle anything the ACLU can throw at us. Trust me.

So, what is this lawsuit all about? The LAPD’s Special Order 40 prevents police officers from inquiring about an individual’s immigration status, and from communicating freely with federal immigration officials, which is a clear violation of federal immigration law. The LAPD sought to dismiss our lawsuit, but were rebuffed by Judge Rolf M. Treu in a July 27 ruling. Judicial Watch is now proceeding with evidence-gathering in the lawsuit.

In their court motion seeking to intervene, the ACLU argued that the LAPD should be, “commended, not sued,” for implementing Special Order 40. In their view, it is perfectly reasonable, and legal, for local police officers to ignore immigration laws.

My question: What part of federal immigration law do they fail to understand? Here’s what the law states: “…a Federal, State, or local government entity or official may not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual.” Seems pretty clear to us.

A hearing on the matter has been scheduled for September 20. Stay tuned.

JW Director of Investigation Chris Farrell’s Work Highlighted in Newly Released Book on Terrorism in America

Last week marked the release of the new book “Americans at Risk: Why We Are Not Prepared for Mega Disasters and What We Can Do,” by Irwin Redlener, MD. As an extension of his work with Columbia University’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness, Judicial Watch Director of Investigations and Research Chris Farrell co-wrote chapter 6, “Special Populations, Special Needs, and Soft Targets: Why I’m Worried About the Vulnerability of America’s Children.” According to Dr. Redlener, “Chris’s input was invaluable.” Here are a couple of excerpts from the chapter.

Nobody said the process of preparing the nation to cope effectively with major disasters would be easy, especially since we have never actually defined what ‘prepared’ means…the purpose of disaster planning is to find that ‘sweet spot’ where we set goals reflecting a prudent level of readiness that neither drains the treasury, nor fosters an obsession with disaster risk. Still, the planning process needs to be based on concepts that reflect the real issues likely to arise in major disasters…

…Tucson, Arizona, lies approximately sixty miles from the U.S.-Mexico border, a barrier that is largely unsecured, with rough terrain, little or no fencing, and sporadic U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) coverage…Sophisticated criminal smuggling operations (of both drugs and humans) consistently enable over 1.5 million persons to cross into the United States, via southeastern Arizona alone, every year…

The book is an excellent reminder of the need for vigilance in facing the threat of terrorism.