The National Bar Association today raised concerns about what it calls a growing pattern of inappropriate and racist behavior by court officials, judges and attorneys in the nation’s local, state and federal courtrooms. Citing the most public recent episode involving of Texas Judge James Oakley as well as numerous reports from its members on other incidents, the Bar Association is considering a system to collect data on incidents as well as the possibility of calling for a Justice Department investigation. Oakley, a Burnett County, TX judge said on his Facebook Page, said that a Black suspect in a police murder should be lynched. Though he has since apologized, the group said other incidents such as Oakley’s are not isolated.
“Rather it’s always practiced or not, fairness is historically the hallmark of this nation’s judicial system. What we are seeing now in news reports and hearing from our members is simply alarming. There seems to be an increase in racial intolerance in terms of courtoorm protocol as well as unfortunate behavior by court officials in terms of racial and ethnic slurs,” said Bar Association President Kevin Judd
“Our judicial system should represent our democracy, not impede it. America’s laws clearly state that impartiality should remain the anchor of our judicial system, “ Judd added.
The group is also concerned the trend might continue if Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) is confirmed U.S. Attorney General. The group said, Sessions, has a long and documented history of racial intolerance. The Bar Association, which congratulated Donald Trump on his Presidential win, has called on the Senate to reject Sessions’ nomination.