WASHINGTON D.C. – The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) released a video today supporting the settlement reached by Iranian-American Immigration Judge Ashley Tabaddor. The video outlines the importance of this settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), a lawsuit alleging that an order recusing Judge Tabaddor from hearing Iranians’ cases was discriminatory.
Judge Tabaddor challenged a blanket order imposed by the DOJ blocking her indefinitely from all cases involving Iranian nationals because of her public profile within the Iranian-American community. Tabaddor v. Holder et. al. asserts that the order violated Judge Tabaddor’s First Amendment rights of free speech and association.
“From our perspective, the recusal order had no support in regulations and recusal-related jurisprudence,” said Cooley Partner and PAAIA Board Chairman Ali Mojdehi. “It was an unprecedented position that the DOJ had taken and we are thrilled to correct the injustice, vindicate our client and uphold her oath of office.”
In the settlement announced November 4, the DOJ agreed to lift the recusal order, acknowledging that there was no finding of any bias on Judge Tabaddor’s part. The DOJ also agreed to review the application of the ethics rule and to pay $200,000 in damages and expenses.
“PAAIA continuously strived to show our support for Judge Tabaddor throughout this case due to its importance to the rights of all Americans, including individuals of Iranian descent,” said PAAIA Executive Director Leila Austin. “We applaud Judge Tabbaddor in her challenge to the Department of Justice and believe this settlement sets a precedent that is consistent with our American values.”
Numerous advocacy and legal organizations voiced support for Judge Tabaddor. Other supporting organizations included the Iranian American Bar Association, National Association of Immigration Judges, and PARS Equality Center.
“We are proud and honored to have represented Judge Tabaddor and to have achieved this resolution,” Mojdehi said. “In our view, this resolution completely vindicates the time-honored principles which our client had sworn to uphold.”
PAAIA is dedicated to protecting the rights and advancing the interests of Iranian Americans in the United States.