Statement of the Northern District of California Chapter of the Federal Bar Association

In this campaign season, questions have been raised about whether a federal judge’s personal heritage affects his ability to render an unbiased decision.

While our Chapter takes no position on any specific case, or regarding any political race or candidate, it is our responsibility to respond when comments in the political sphere inappropriately target the judiciary or its members. We do not believe that politicians should allege bias against a judge based solely on a judge’s personal heritage—or race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. We accept and embrace the right of litigants to assert claims of judicial bias under applicable laws, as well as every person’s right of free speech, but we would implore all participants in the political process to refrain from attacks based on ethnic, racial, religious, gender or sexual-orientation grounds.

An independent judiciary, with judges at its core, is central to our democracy. We urge all participants in the public sphere to accord the judiciary the respect and dignity necessary for the judiciary to conduct its central function in our society.

This statement solely represents the views of the Northern District of California Chapter.