Clinton-appointed federal judge resigns...for behaving in office like Bill Clinton
President Trump and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell have one more judicial vacancy to fill, if they can act in time. A federal judge in Kansas who was appointed by Bill Clinton has tendered his resignation, effective April 1, for sexual misconduct in office and for habitual lateness — both of them characteristics of the man who appointed him.
Dan Margolies of NPR-affiliate KCUR radio in Kansas City reports:
A federal judge in Kansas City, Kansas, who was publicly reprimanded last year for workplace misconduct is resigning after more than 20 years on the bench.
U.S. District Judge Carlos Murguia tendered his resignation effective April 1, 2020, in a letter to President Trump that was released by the federal court in Kansas City, Kansas, on Tuesday afternoon.
"In recent months, it has become clear that I can no longer effectively serve the Court in this capacity," Murguia wrote in the brief, three-paragraph letter. "I therefore tender my resignation with a heavy heart and profound apologies, out of respect for the federal judiciary, my colleagues, my community and — most importantly — my family."
An accompanying release by Chief Judge Julie Robinson said that Murguia's cases will immediately be reassigned to other district judges of the court. It said Murguia will not be eligible for a pension or any retirement benefits.
Judge Carlos Murguia (photo credit: U.S. District Court of Kansas).
Following an official investigation of a complaint, the Tenth Circuit issued a report that stated:
After consideration of the Special Committee's report and Judge Murguia's response, the Judicial Council unanimously adopts the Special Committee's conclusions that Judge Murguia committed judicial misconduct by: (1) sexually harassing Judiciary employees; (2) engaging in an extramarital sexual relationship with an individual who had been convicted of felonies in state court and was then on probation; and (3) demonstrating habitual tardiness for court engagements. (snip)
First, Judge Murguia gave preferential treatment and unwanted attention to female employees of the Judiciary in the form of sexually suggestive comments, inappropriate text messages, and excessive, non-work-related contact, much of which occurred after work hours and often late at night. All of the harassed employees stated that they were reluctant to tell Judge Murguia to cease his behavior because of the power he held as a federal judge. One of the employees eventually told him explicitly to stop his harassing conduct, but he continued. (snip)
Second, Judge Murguia engaged in a years-long extramarital sexual relationship with a drug-using individual who was then on probation and is now incarcerated (because of probation violations) for state-court felony convictions. A judge's sexual affair does not constitute misconduct in all cases; whether a judge's affair, even with a convicted felon, is misconduct depends on the circumstances surrounding the relationship. But the Special Committee found, and the Council agrees, that Judge Murguia placed himself in such a compromised position that he made himself susceptible to extortion. Given the risk of extortion and potential for embarrassment to the Judiciary, Judge Murguia's relationship implicates Code of Conduct Canons 1 and 2. The relationship 4 itself is in violation of Canon 2, which is titled "A Judge Should Avoid Impropriety and Appearance of Impropriety in All Activities." Judge Murguia's relationship with a convicted felon on probation could cause "reasonable minds, with knowledge of all the relevant circumstances," to "conclude that the judge's honesty, integrity, impartiality, temperament, or fitness to serve as a judge is impaired." (snip)
Third, Judge Murguia has been habitually late for court proceedings and meetings for years. The Special Committee found general agreement among witnesses that Judge Murguia was frequently late for court proceedings, often requiring attorneys, parties, and juries to wait, and sometimes making attorneys late for proceedings in other courtrooms. A repeated cause of this tardiness was Judge Murguia's regularly scheduled lunchtime basketball games on days when he had hearings or trials, leaving the jury and others waiting for him to return. Judge Murguia was counseled about his tardiness fairly early in his federal judicial career, but his conduct persisted nonetheless. A judge's habitual disrespect for attorneys, jurors, and witnesses is a violation of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges. (snip)
Judge Murguia admitted that he engaged in these three forms of misconduct.
Murguia held onto his office for almost half a year before resigning, which may make it difficult to accomplish the appointment and confirmation of his replacement before the terms of President Trump and the 116th Congress are over. House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler and two Democrat colleagues, along with GOP representative Sensenbrenner, waited until less than two weeks ago to send a letter to Judge Murguia's supervisors in the U.S. Judicial Conference, the Tenth Circuit Court, and the chief judge of the District Court of Kansas questioning the adequacy of the actions taken. Since sexual harassment is a showcase issue for Democrats, they had to do something, but they took their time.
Judge Murguia is the first Hispanic judge in his district, but he is far from an oppressed minority. Margolies of KCUR reports:
Murguia, who grew up in the Argentine district of Kansas City, Kansas, comes from a prominent family. His younger sister Mary Murguia is a federal appeals court judge in Arizona and another sister, Janet Murguia, is the president and CEO of UnidosUS, formerly the National Council of La Raza.
UnidosUS is a left-wing pressure group that finally changed its embarrassing racialist name La Raza ("The Race") a few years ago and pressures for reduced deportations, citizenship for illegals, and other so-called "progressive" causes.
One more federal district court judge may flip from Democrat-appointed to Republican-appointed, and no matter what Chief Justice Roberts says, it would make a difference.