The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, probably the most conservative judicial circuit in the country, rebuked a federal district court judge and ordered him replaced in a trial in which he made a remarkably sexist comment in open court to a female prosecutor who was, to be fair, flouting the federal rules of civil procedure.
In the case, the female prosecutor turned over stacks of relevant discovery to the defense attorney weeks after the deadline for discovery had ended and it was all supposed to be turned over. The judge was right to slam the prosecutor for that, but not in this way:
“You’re supposed to know what you’re doing,” Hughes said to an assistant U.S. attorney on Feb. 6, 2017. “What else is out there that you misplaced or didn’t think was relevant so you didn’t check it at all?”
Hughes dismissed the Swenson indictment, faulting the prosecutor’s mistakes.
Then he said something else that eventually became the basis of the rebuke.
“It was a lot simpler when you guys wore dark suits, white shirts and navy ties,” Hughes said, according to the 5th Circuit. “We didn’t let girls do it in the old days.”
As if this was a problem only with female prosecutors? As if male prosecutors didn’t fail to follow the rules sometimes too? The judge dismissed the case based on the prosecutor’s misconduct but the appeals court just reinstated it and ordered that a new judge hear the case. They called his comments “demeaning, inappropriate, and beneath the dignity” of his office. When you’re too sexist for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, you’re venturing into Jesse Lee Peterson and Gavin McInnes territory. But this doesn’t go nearly far enough. The judge should be removed from the bench.