It’s bad enough that Memphis, Tennessee-based Criminal Court Judge Jim Lammey uses his personal Facebook page to spread anti-immigration memes and conspiracy theories. It got even worse when he linked to an article that said Jews needed to “get the fuck over the Holocaust.”
Lammey insists he’s not a racist or anti-Semitic and that he’ll remain impartial in the courtroom. That’s hard to imagine, though, given the way he treats certain individuals:
The state judge orders some immigrants seeking probation to register with federal immigration authorities or stay in jail. Registering with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement could lead to their deportation. Lammey is the only one of the 10 Criminal Court judges in Shelby County to use this practice — and he recently jailed an immigrant who hadn’t signed up with ICE.
See? Totally not racist. As for the Holocaust article, he said he didn’t agree with all of it. He didn’t specifically reject the part about Jews needing to get over a genocide, though. Instead, in his own defense, he said, “Interesting read. Some four-letter words, though.”
Now several religious and civil rights groups have issued a petition calling for his removal from the bench, according to the Commercial Appeal.
A coalition of organizations, including the NAACP Memphis Branch, Memphis Islamic Center and Jewish Community Partners, are calling for state authorities to censure Criminal Court Judge Jim Lammey.
Also on the list is Latino Memphis, which had already announced plans to file a formal complaint to the Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct, a disciplinary organization.
Representatives of the coalition plan to present the letter to the Shelby County Commission’s Law Enforcement, Corrections, and Courts Committee on Wednesday.
That committee is chaired by commissioner Tami Sawyer, who is running for Memphis mayor and last week made a Twitter post denouncing the judge’s actions. “It’s time for him to hang up his robe,” she wrote.
I bet he also claims to have Jewish friends. [Editor’s note: Yes he does: “My best friend — who’s deceased now — was Jewish…”]
A judge of all people should also be aware that the right to free speech doesn’t guarantee you the right to be spared from its consequences. He says it was an accident that he posted those links publicly, but the idea that he would’ve shared them with close friends anyway is also disturbing. While he won’t go to jail for sharing abhorrent articles, if people in front of him don’t believe they’re getting a fair shake, it means they can’t trust the justice system. That’s on Lammey.
He’s already demonstrated an inability to be impartial, much less accept facts. If he can’t be trusted to make decisions on behalf of marginalized groups, he deserves to be removed from the bench.