[Congressional Record Volume 146, Number 9 (Monday, February 7, 2000)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E70-E71]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                         HON. JOHN CONYERS, JR.

                              of michigan

                    in the house of representatives

                        Monday, February 7, 2000

  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, today I, Representative Hastings and 
Representative Wexler are introducing a resolution condemning the 
conduct of U.S. District Judge Alan McDonald for bringing the 
appearance of improper racial, ethnic and religious bias upon

[[Page E71]]

the Federal Judiciary, urging the Federal Judiciary to protect against 
the perception of bias within their ranks and calling for the 
nomination and confirmation of candidates for the Federal Judiciary 
that reflect the diversity of American society.
  News agencies in Spokane, WA have confirmed accounts from staff 
members and attorneys stating that, during official proceeding of his 
court dating back to 1990, Judge McDonald made or participated in 
numerous communications that referred to racial, ethic and religious 
minorities in demeaning, stereotypical and racist language, including 
references to Latino defendants and lawyers as ``greasers,'' an 
African-Americans plaintiff as ``impo-tent'' and maligning Mormons, Jew 
and Chinese for corrupt financial practices.
  Rather than apologizing for any indiscretion, Judge McDonald has 
attempted to explain away his offensive notes as private and 
misinterpreted attempts at humor. Similarly, the Chief District Court 
Judge William F. Nielsen has dismissed the impact of the offensive 
notes on the minority community and failed to sanction Judge McDonald 
for his conduct.
  There should be no toleration of statements by officials of the 
United States that evidence prejudice or bias towards individuals on 
the basis of race, religion, national origin, gender or sexual 
orientation. The actions of Judge McDonald undermine the promise of 
integrity and impartiality upon which our Federal Judiciary is built 
and expressly violate the Judicial Code of Conduct.
  Canon 2 of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges cautions a 
judge to avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all 
activities to promote public confidence in the integrity and 
impartiality of the judiciary, specifically noting that a judge's duty 
``includes the responsibility to avoid comment or behavior that can 
reasonably be interpreted as manifesting prejudice or bias towards 
another on the basis of personal characteristics like race, sex, 
religion, or national origin.''
  At a time when minority candidates for federal judgeships are twice 
as likely not to be confirmed as their white counterparts, this display 
of bigotry raises issue with regard to the fairness and impartiality of 
the judicial system.
  The 4th and the 7th Circuit Courts have historically been all white 
courts and remain so today. Further, there are no African-Americans on 
the 1st, 9th, (which includes California), 10th and Federal Circuit 
Courts and no Hispanics on the 3rd, 6th, 8th, and D.C. Circuit Courts. 
The federal judiciary should reflect the diversity of American society 
to protect against the perception of bias raised by the conduct of 
Judge McDonald.
  This Congress should stand together and condemn the conduct of U.S. 
District Judge Alan McDonald for bringing the appearance bias upon the 
Federal Judiciary and call upon President Clinton to renew his efforts 
to nominate and confirm candidates for the Federal Bench that reflect 
the diversity of American society.