In Election Justice USA’s voter lawsuit in New York, a Bill Clinton-nominated judge made the ruling, denying the request to open the primary in which President Bill Clinton’s wife, Hillary Clinton, battled Senator Bernie Sanders to become New York’s choice for the Democratic Party’s nominee.
President Bill Clinton nominated Joanna Seybert in 1993, and she was confirmed by the Senate and began as a federal judge the same year. Seybert presided in the first hearing of the New York voter lawsuit.
As reported by several news outlets, such as LawNewz, Election Justice USA filed the lawsuit on behalf of over 200 New Yorkers who claim their voter party registration was changed without their consent.
Election Justice USA asked for an order allowing voters in New York to be able to vote for any candidate on the ballot in the primary, regardless of the voters’ party affiliations. This would have enabled the disenfranchised voters to still participate in the vote.
Judge Joanna Seybert continued the case and denied Election Justice USA’s request.
USA Today reported that the voter complaint hotline received four times as many calls as 2012 on the New York primary election day.
Potentially hundreds of thousands of New York voters may have been affected by this registration issue. The New York Post described that in Brooklyn alone, 54,000 voter registrations “vanished.”
The law on disqualification of judges is found in 28 United States Code Annotated, Section 455.
“Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.”
Situations involving judges that seem to have at least the appearance of bias have arisen in the past, and recusal has not always been expected, to the chagrin of many scholars. The election of President George W. Bush over Al Gore is one of the most notorious cases.
The article, “Recusal and Bush v. Gore,” discusses this in depth, noting the following in its first paragraph.
“If the citizens believe that their President got into office through a biased procedure, they will lose respect for the President, for the Supreme Court, and for the whole legal system. These dangers make it critical for judges to recuse themselves where their impartiality could reasonably be questioned.”
In an interview with the Inquisitr, Julie Mumma, adjunct professor at California State University, and long time trial lawyer in both state and federal court, reacted to the news that Seybert did not recuse herself by saying the following.
“Democracy requires the eternal vigilance of ordinary Americans to maintain watchful eyes on the federal judiciary–because even the appearance of judicial impropriety must not be whitewashed.”
Professor Mumma describes that her upcoming book, Rogue Judges, “Highlights how federal judges manipulate legal interpretation to rationalize hiding the truth of Wall Street looting from American jurors, thus allowing banks to masquerade as victims of the mortgage meltdown – and is directly correlated to political orientation of judges.”
Judges recuse themselves for a variety of reasons. In Sacramento, California, the entire panel of judges recused themselves over alleged government misconduct, and President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, recused himself in a Utah case, according to the Observer, and the the Big Story, respectively.
Judge Seybert ruled that Election Justice USA identified the wrong defendant — the New York state Board of Elections — and that voters had other remedies, such as the provisional vote.
Professor Mumma went on to say, “Lady Justice is blindfolded for a reason—she is supposed to be blind to class and power, and politics. What happens when she is not? Simply put—it is the antithesis of American justice.”
In Election Justice USA’s voter lawsuit in New York, it does not appear to have been questioned that the judge who made the ruling about a voting issue in the election was the spouse of one of the candidates in that election.