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Not a Superior Type of Judge

Should a lawyer who has participated in unprofessional conduct be awarded with a judgeship? Consider the nomination of Justice Department official Donna Murphy to be a superior court judge in the District of Columbia.

Hans A. von Spakovsky


March 31, 2011 - 12:03 am
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Murphy also worked as the deputy chief of the Special Litigation Section (which is responsible for investigating allegations of wrongdoing by local police) in the Civil Rights Division. Her hostility to law enforcement was legendary in the Division when I worked there from 2001 to 2005. If Murphy is confirmed as a judge, there will never be a better time to be a drug dealer in D.C. Because Donna Murphy has never met a search that she would be unwilling to suppress.

As a deputy in the Special Litigation Section, Murphy would continually demand that law enforcement officials take steps that the law did not require. She had no practical experience whatsoever in law enforcement but consistently tried to force local police to conform to her own subjective standards – not the constitutional standards in the law. Murphy’s approach to enforcing the law and the demands she made on local police were extreme.

Murphy viewed the Special Litigation Section not as the federal prosecutorial agency tasked only with enforcing violations of the law, but as a regulatory agency of all police behavior, whether it violated the law or not. Based on her history in the Division, there is little doubt that Murphy will be a results-oriented judge, doing what she thinks is best from her own subjective policy perspective regardless of the applicable law.

Murphy is being rewarded with a judgeship despite condoning unprofessional behavior and misjudgments that cost the American taxpayer a great deal of money. Only in Washington would someone with such a work record as a government employee be promoted to become a judge. It is a sad comment on the qualities that President Obama believes are important for his judicial picks. And it is one that should concern not just the residents of the District of Columbia, but all Americans who believe in the rule of law.

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Hans von Spakovsky is a Senior Legal Fellow at The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and the coauthor with John Fund of Obama’s Enforcer: Eric Holder’s Justice Department” (HarperCollins/Broadside 2014).
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