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Center calls for full investigation of Elaine R. Jones

"The record shows, overwhelmingly, that Ms. Jones transgressed the most basic ethical and professional standards by which all members of the Bar must abide," said Center for Individual Freedom Executive Director Jeffrey Mazzella.




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Contact: Jeffrey Mazzella
(703) 535-5836

December 4, 2003

Grievance Filed With Virginia State Bar Against NAACP Official

Charges Elaine Jones with "intentionally attempting to improperly influence the outcome of a pending case" in which she was named counsel

WASHINGTON, DC — The Center for Individual Freedom today was joined by several national grassroots organizations in filing a grievance with the Virginia State Bar calling for a full investigation and for appropriate action to be taken against Elaine R. Jones, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc.

The complaint, written and signed by the Center for Individual Freedom, and joined by the Coalition for a Fair Judiciary, the Congress of Racial Equality and Project 21, charges that Ms. Jones, a member of the Virginia State Bar, intentionally acted to manipulate the outcome of the highly publicized affirmative action case challenging the University of Michigan’s undergraduate admissions process then being considered by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit — a case in which she was named counsel.

According to one in a series of memoranda initially released by the Wall Street Journal and Washington Times, Ms. Jones contacted the Office of Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) on April 17, 2002, urging him and his staff to delay Senate action on 6th Circuit nominee Julia Smith Gibbons and all other nominations to the 6th Circuit because, "[t]he thinking is that the current 6th Circuit will sustain the affirmative action program, but if a new judge … is confirmed before the case is decided, that new judge will be able … to review the case and vote on it."

"The record shows, overwhelmingly, that Ms. Jones transgressed the most basic ethical and professional standards by which all members of the Bar must abide," said Center for Individual Freedom Executive Director Jeffrey Mazzella. "Her effort to ensure the judicial deck was stacked in her favor demonstrates a complete lack of integrity, is an insult to the legal profession and a disgrace to our democratic way of life. The Virginia Bar should impose the strictest of punishments, not the least of which should be disbarment."

The fact that Ms. Jones was intentionally attempting to improperly influence the outcome of a pending case and engaging in partisan political manipulation was not lost on the Senate staffer who spoke with Ms. Jones and authored the memo last April. The staffer noted in the memorandum that he/she was "concerned about the propriety of scheduling hearings based on the resolution of a particular case." Yet, the staffer goes on to recommend that Ms. Gibbons be scheduled for a later Judiciary Committee hearing then was originally scheduled.

"Think about this for just a moment," said Niger Innis, spokesperson for the Congress of Racial Equality. "A civil rights case that affects millions of people for generations to come and it wasn’t enough for Elaine Jones to have the merits of her arguments heard in court. Ms. Jones was determined to stack the deck. The ends justified any means and that is shameful."

"This goes far beyond judge shopping and the bar needs to take action here even if the Senate doesn’t," said Kay Daly, president of the Coalition for a Fair Judiciary. "The Democrats are hoping they can deflect attention away from the content of these memos because of the damning information contained within. But it is in the public interest for taxpaying citizens to see just how much influence is exerted by these groups on Senators."

The memo outlining Ms. Jones’ actions, along with the other 21 pages of memoranda, solidifies what many have said for some time, that when it comes to President Bush’s judicial nominees, Washington’s left-wing special interests are pulling the puppet strings of the Democrat Obstruction machine in the Senate.

"Obstructionism is the order of the day in the Senate," said Project 21 member Gregory Parker of New Braunfels, Texas. "Now we know that this judicial obstructionism is part of a carefully orchestrated plan by a few Senators and left-wing special interest groups."

Just as disheartening is the further hypocrisy the memos expose with regard to D.C. Circuit nominee Miguel Estrada and 5th Circuit nominee Priscilla Owen.

"In 2000, Senator Barbara Boxer called the treatment of women nominated to the bench a 'nightmare,'" said Mychal Massie of Project 21. "Yet today she is the very face of complicity of the rabid and unethical vox populi on the extreme against what most Americans hold dear — that being fairness and equality."

In order to safeguard the integrity of both the impartial judiciary and its process, all signatories on the complaint urge the Virginia State Bar to impose swift and strong disciplinary action against Ms. Jones. While the Virginia State Bar requests confidentiality in the filing of ethics complaints, the actions of Ms. Jones constitute a serious public issue. "Secrecy has been the hallmark of many of the activities of the obstructionists in the Senate, and it is time for that to end," Mazzella concluded.


Copies of the grievance letter are attached, or can be obtained at, and the original memos can be downloaded in PDF format at For additional information, please contact Jeff Mazzella at 703-535-5836, Kay Daly at 703-822-9831, Niger Innis at 212-598-4000 or Mychal Massie at 202-371-1400.

[Posted December 5, 2003]