Shocka: Some immigration judges appointed by Bush lack immigration experience

I’m mildly suspicious given that it comes from the LA Times and there’s no attempt made to put a number on how many judges we’re talking about. But needless to say, cronyism in this administration — especially in this area — is all too plausible.

Over the last two years, U.S. Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales has appointed more than two dozen individuals as federal immigration judges.

The new jurists include a former treasurer of the Louisiana Republican Party, who was a legal advisor to the Bush Florida recount team after the 2000 presidential election. There is also a former GOP congressional aide who had tracked voter fraud issues for the Justice Department, and a Texan appointed by then-Gov. George W. Bush to a seat on the state library commission.

One thing missing on many of their resumes: a background in immigration law.

These lawyers are among a growing number of the nation’s more than 200 immigration judges who have little or no experience in the law they were appointed to enforce.

The admission by former Justice Department official Monica M. Goodling this week that federal immigration judges were screened for their political credentials and loyalty to the Republican Party in possible violation of civil service laws is drawing new attention to the usually low-profile immigration bench.

The selection process that Goodling described also appeared at odds with Gonzales’ own stated efforts to reform the trouble-plagued immigration-law system by bringing in experts and establishing tougher performance standards for judges.