Unscripted remarks from the bench about fried chicken, whether Indians are Caucasians for purposes of employment discrimination law, and the origin of swastikas are not only grist for legal blog commentary (e.g., "No Your Honor, South Asians Are Not Caucasians"), they're now part of a judicial misconduct complaint filed last week by the Texas Civil Rights Project against 5th Circuit federal judge Lynn Hughes. From an ABC local news (KTRK) story:
Inside the Bob Casey Federal Courthouse in Houston last November, Judge Lynn Hughes was hearing pretrial testimony in the case of a former state employee who claimed he was discriminated against when he was laid off. What Hughes said then caused the man's attorney to ask for his recusal.
"Considering that he is a judge -- a United States federal judge in a courtroom -- it is entirely inappropriate," said Amin Alehashem with the Texas Civil Rights Project.
Alehashem admits he wasn't at the hearing, but says he's poured over transcripts from it. He says Judge Hughes at one point quoted Eleanor Roosevelt, saying "staffs of one color always work better together."
In a discussion about hiring practices, Alehashem says Hughes also appeared to make fun of those hired to promote diversity, allegedly asking, "What does a diversity director do? Go around and paint students different colors so that they would think they were mixed?"