|Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit|
January 30, 2006 – October 1, 2012
|Preceded by||Carolyn Dineen King|
|Succeeded by||Carl E. Stewart|
|Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit|
Assumed office |
April 4, 1985
|Appointed by||Ronald Reagan|
|Preceded by||Seat established by 98 Stat. 333|
April 7, 1949|
Cornell University (B.A.)|
University of Texas School of Law (J.D.)
Edith Hollan Jones (born April 7, 1949) is a United States Circuit Judge and the former Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Education and career
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Jones graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1971. She received her Juris Doctor from University of Texas School of Law in 1974, where she was a member of the Texas Law Review. She was in private practice in Houston, Texas, from 1974 until 1985, working for the firm of Andrews, Kurth, Campbell & Jones, where she became the firm's first female partner. She specialized in bankruptcy law. She also served as General Counsel for the Republican Party of Texas from 1982 to 1983.
Federal judicial service
Jones was nominated by President Ronald Reagan on February 27, 1985, to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, to a new seat authorized by 98 Stat. 333. She was confirmed by the United States Senate on April 3, 1985, and received commission on April 4, 1985, at the age of 35. She served as Chief Judge from January 16, 2006 to October 1, 2012, succeeding Judge Carolyn Dineen King.
In 2010, Jones visited Iraq as part of the U.S. State Department's Rule of Law program, where she advised and encouraged Iraqi and Kurdish judges.
Supreme Court consideration
Jones has been mentioned frequently as being on the list of potential nominees to the Supreme Court of the United States. A 1990 report from The New York Times cited her as George H.W. Bush's second choice for the Supreme Court vacancy filled by Justice David Souter. The Chicago Sun-Times and several other newspapers reported on July 1, 2005, that she had also been considered for nomination to the Supreme Court during the presidency of George W. Bush.
In her opinions, she has questioned the legal reasoning which legalized abortion, advocated streamlining death penalty cases, invalidated a federal ban on possession of machine guns and advocated toughening bankruptcy laws. In 2006, Chief Judge Jones found that a death row inmate who had filed a pro se motion to drop his appeal while his attorney was abroad, could not later reinstate his appeal.
McCorvey v. Hill
Jones attracted attention for her opinion in the case of McCorvey v. Hill, which was a request by the Ms. McCorvey, the 'Jane Roe' of Roe v. Wade to vacate the finding of that case. Jones joined the Fifth Circuit in rejecting the petition on procedural grounds but took the unusual step of handing down a six-page concurrence to the judgment of the court.
The concurrence credited the evidence presented by McCorvey and sharply criticized the Supreme Court's rulings in Roe and in the less famous (decided simultaneously) case of Doe v. Bolton. She quoted Justice Byron White's dissent in the latter, describing the Supreme Court's decision as an "exercise of raw judicial power". She concluded: "That the court's constitutional decision making leaves our nation in a position of willful blindness to evolving knowledge should trouble any dispassionate observer not only about the abortion decisions, but about a number of other areas in which the court unhesitatingly steps into the realm of social policy under the guise of constitutional adjudication".
A group of civil rights organizations and legal ethicists filed a complaint of misconduct against Jones on June 4, 2013, after she allegedly said that "racial groups like African-Americans and Hispanics are predisposed to crime," and are "prone to commit acts of violence" which are more "heinous" than members of other ethnic groups. According to the complaint, Jones also stated that a death sentence is a service to defendants because it allows them to make peace with God and she "referred to her personal religious views as justification for the death penalty". Jones allegedly made the remarks during a speech to the University of Pennsylvania Federalist Society. However, the speech was not recorded, and the ethics complaint was based solely on affidavits from audience members.
In part because Jones was recently the Chief Judge of the Fifth Circuit, Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts (in his administrative capacity) transferred the complaints to the judicial ethics panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
On August 12, 2014, the judicial ethics panel of the District of Columbia Circuit dismissed the complaint, citing lack of evidence to justify disciplining Jones. The complainants appealed to the Judicial Conference of the United States, which affirmed the ruling of the judicial ethics panel in February 2015.
- "Jones, Edith Hollan - Federal Judicial Center". www.fjc.gov.
- Pres. Nom. 1111, 98th Cong. (1984) (returned to the President).
- Pres. Nom. 105-1, 99th Cong. (1985).
- "Edith Jones Takes Over as Chief Judge of the 5th Circuit". Texas Lawyer. Retrieved January 30, 2006.[dead link]
- "Rule of Law Program Brings Federal Judge to Iraq". Third Branch. Archived from the original on March 11, 2015. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
- Apple Jr, R. W. (July 25, 1990). "Bush's Court Choice; Sununu Tells How and Why He Pushed Souter for Court". New York Times. Retrieved May 1, 2010.
- "Recent Case: Fifth Circuit Declines to Permit Reinstatement of Waived Habeas Appeal" (PDF). Harvard Law Review. 120: 1386. 2007. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
- "Doe v. Bolton, 410 U.S. 179 (1973) at 222, per White J (diss.)". Retrieved 2006-05-12.
- "McCorvey v. Hill, 385 F.3d 846 (5th Cir. 2004) at 12, per Jones J" (PDF). Retrieved 2006-05-12.
- Will Weissert (June 4, 2013). "Federal judge accused of making racial comments". New England Cable News (WECN). Archived from the original on June 15, 2013.
- Ethan Bronner (June 4, 2013). "Complaint Accuses U.S. Judge in Texas of Racial Bias". New York Times.
- Jordan Smith (June 4, 2013). "Judge Edith Jones: Blacks and Hispanics More Violent: Complaint filed over Jones's discriminatory and biased comments". Austin Chronicle.
- Federal judges rarely disciplined for inappropriate remarks, Houston Chronicle, June 14, 2013.
- Stephanie Condon (June 13, 2013). "Conservative judge Edith Jones up for rare review". CBS News.
- "Federal panel dismisses complaint against Houston judge".
- Benen, Steve; Maddow, Rachel. "Federal Judge Faces No Punishment Following Racially-charged Remarks". The Rachel Maddow Show. MSNBC. Retrieved October 17, 2014.
- "2014-10-14 JEJ appeal - Aug. 2014 ruling of Judicial Council of D.C. Circuit.pdf".
|Wikisource has original works written by or about:|
- Comments by Edith Jones Regarding Supreme Court from University of Virginia School of Law
- Edith Hollan Jones at the Biographical Directory of Federal Judges, a public domain publication of the Federal Judicial Center.
Seat established by 98 Stat. 333
| Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
Carolyn Dineen King
| Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
Carl E. Stewart