The Corner

Does Judge Martin’s Not Being a Muslim Change the Bias Argument?

Given that Judge Martin’s representative denies that he is a Muslim and that I now think he probably did not claim to be a Muslim during the court proceeding, the question arises whether it is still valid to argue, as I did yesterday, that Martin should have recused himself from the case on the ground of judicial bias. Absolutely not. It absolutely is. [ACM – Sorry for the confusion — writing too fast.] Martin’s status as a Muslim was not the focal point of my bias contention. I’ve just added the following to the post in question:

UPDATE: … This post has been corrected because, after further review, it appears Judge Martin’s reported statement on the audio of the court proceeding, “I’m a Muslim, I find it offensive”, is actually, “F’Im a Muslim, I’d find it offensive.” For further details on the transcription, see this post. I note that I have not retracted my assertion that Judge Martin ”had no business sitting on a case in which he was biased against the complainant.” While there would surely be additional grounds to support a judicial bias claim if Judge Martin were a Muslim, my argument was not based on Martin’s being a Muslim. It was based on Martin’s hyper-sensitivity to Islamic sensibilities, which rendered him receptive to the absurd claim that sharia principles can be a valid defense to a Pennsylvania harassment charge. Though there would be grounds for worry, a judge who was faithful to his responsibilities but who happened to be a Muslim could theoretically sit fairly and impartially on this case. On the other hand, a judge who is an adherent of current American government policy toward Islam — who, for example, sees no conflict between sharia and the federal Constitution, or who thinks fear of Muslim reactionary violence is a good reason to curb the First Amendment — should not have sat on this case, regardless of whether he happened to be a Muslim.


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