National Association of Immigration Judges president Dana Leigh Marks confirmed to NPR that the DOJ’s demands of Tabaddor “[appeared] to be discriminatory based on her Iranian heritage.”
NPR’s Richard Gonzales noted that although immigration cases are assigned at random, “sometimes the parties will ask that a judge recuse him or herself if they suspect a conflict of interest or bias.”
“According to Judge Tabaddor’s lawsuit, no one [had] accused her of bias,” he added. “Instead, Justice Department officials were concerned with the appearance of impropriety.”
The DOJ eventually settled with Tabaddor for $200,000 and promised to “review its recusal policies” back in November of 2015.