Tabaddor v. Holder et al Resource Page

The American Lawyer, etc.

Resource Page on Immigration Judge's Suit Against Department of Justice Unlawful Recusal Policy

In light of significant public interest in Immigration Judge Ashley Tabaddor's suit against the Department of Justice, the firm has established a resource page to provide a source of easily accessible information about the case.

On August 12, 2014, Cooley filed suit against the Department of Justice raising constitutional and discrimination based challenges to a Department order requiring Judge Tabaddor to indefinitely cease hearing any cases involving Iranian nationals — an order issued based on Judge Tabaddor's race and national origin as well as her civic engagement and community service off the bench.

Below are links to documents and resources about the case. Materials from the public docket in the pending federal suit are included under the heading "Legal Filings." Before Judge Tabaddor filed suit, however, a lengthy internal investigative and administrative process was completed by an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEO") component of the Justice Department. As part of that process, the EEO issued a Report of Investigation which includes, among other things, affidavits submitted by officials, now named as defendants in the suit, who played primary roles on behalf of the Justice Department in ordering Judge Tabaddor's recusal (found at Exhibits 8, 9 and 11 below) and that of a key ethics official at the time relevant to the suit (found at Exhibit 14 below). In addition, under the heading "Additional EEO Materials," other documents submitted in the course of the internal investigation as well as the subsequent final agency decision can be accessed. These materials include supplemental affidavits of officials named as defendants in the suit (found below as part of the November 5, 2013 correspondence and the supplemental submission of March 2014).

(Tabaddor v. Holder et al., Case No. 14-cv-06309-GW-CW, U.S. District Court, Central District of California)

Order of Dismissal with Prejudice

Settlement Agreement

Stipulation and Order of Dismissal with Prejudice

District Court Complaint

Amended District Court Complaint

Standing Pretrial Order

Motion to Dismiss

Opposition to Motion to Dismiss

Request for Judicial Notice in Support of Opposition

Application of National Association of Immigration Judges

Proposed Amicus Brief

Application of Amici Curiae Groups and Proposed Amicus Brief

Order Granting Application of Amici Curiae Groups to File Amicus Brief

Order Granting Application of National Association of Immigration Judges to File Amicus Brief

Reply in Support of Motion to Dismiss

Order Denying in Part and Granting in Part Defendants' Motion to Dismiss


Table of Contents

Exhibit 1: Formal Complaint of Discrimination

Exhibit 2: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEO) Counseling Correspondence (formal counselor report not submitted by agency)

Exhibit 3: Notices of Right to File Formal Complaint, dated November 14, 2012

Exhibit 4: Acknowledgement of Receipt of Complaint of Discrimination, dated November 30, 2012

Exhibit 5: EEO Complaint Correspondence

Exhibit 6: EEO Investigation Correspondence

Exhibit 7: Affidavit – Judge Ashley Tabaddor, dated February 26, 2013

Exhibit 8: Affidavit - Jeffrey Rosenblum, dated March 11, 2013

Exhibit 9: Affidavit - Thomas Fong

Exhibit 10: Affidavit - Charles Smith, dated March 25, 2013

Exhibit 11: Affidavit - Marlene Wahowiak, Witness, dated March 25, 2013

Exhibit 12: Affidavit – Nina Elliot, dated March 14, 2013

Exhibit 13: Affidavit - Matthew Bradley, dated March 11, 2013

Exhibit 14: Affidavit - JuanCarlos M. Hunt, dated April 4, 2013

Exhibit 15: Code of Federal Regulations, Title 5, Section 2635.807, Subpart H: Outside Activities - "Teaching, Speaking and Writing"

Exhibit 16: Recusal Case Listing for Iranian nationals, dated March 20, 2013

Exhibit 17: Workforce Profile for the Los Angeles Immigration Court, annotated by race and /or national origin, dated March 20, 2013

Exhibit 18: EOIR documentation regarding: Tips for ACIJs on Handling Speaking Requests from IJs, dated December 2011

Exhibit 19: Organization Chart for EOIR as of January 2005 (Agency)

Exhibit 20: Organization Chart/Directory for EOIR Ethics Office (Agency)

Exhibit 21: EOIR Operating Policies and Procedures Memorandum 05-02: "Procedures for Issuing Recusal Orders in Immigration Proceedings," dated March 21, 2005

Exhibit 22: Agency's response to EEO Investigator's request for documentation

Exhibit 23: Notice of Late Investigation Letter, dated June 13, 2013

Exhibit 24: Comparative Employees: EOIR Immigration Judges whose speaking engagement requests were approved with use of judge's title and a disclaimer (in 2012)

Exhibit 25: Unsolicited affidavit submitted by Agency Representative for Inclusion in Report of Investigation

Exhibit 26: Miscellaneous email correspondence between USMS EEO Office and Agency Representative


Request for Final Agency Decision, dated September 4, 2013

Correspondence from U.S. Department of Justice, Executive Office for United States Attorney to EEO Complaint Adjudicator, dated November 5, 2013

Correspondence from Cooley to EEO Complaint Adjudicator, dated November 26, 2014

EEO Complaint Adjudicator Request for Supplemental Information, dated February 14, 2014

U.S. Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review, Supplemental Submission, dated March 2014

Judge Tabaddor, Supplemental Submission, dated April 21, 2014

Final Agency Decision, dated May 14, 2014


National Association of Immigration Judges - "National Association of Immigration Judges Strongly Supports Suit Challenging a Department of Justice Order that Judge Recuse Herself from All Cases Involving People Who Share Her Iranian Ethnicity," August 12, 2014

Asian Americans Advancing Justice - "Advancing Justice - LA Stands in Support of Iranian-American Immigration Judge," August 12, 2014

Arab American Lawyers of Southern California – "AALASC Expresses Concern Over DOJ Order," September 3, 2014

Iranian American Bar Association - "Judge Ashley Tabaddor Statement," August 23, 2014

Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom - "Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom Statement on Judge Ashley Tabaddor," September 16, 2014

Iranian American Lawyers Association – "In Support of a Diverse and Independent Judiciary: Iranian American Lawyers Association Statement on Judge Tabaddor," August 12, 2014

Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans - "Coalition Contacts President Obama in Support of Judge Tabaddor's Suit Against the Department of Justice," October 8, 2014

Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans - Judge Ashley Tabaddor Files Suit against Department of Justice for Violating First Amendment and Civil Rights Act of 1964," August 12, 2014


The American Lawyer - Cooley Wins DOJ Settlement Over Judge's Iranian-American Ties

NPR - U.S. Government Settles Lawsuit Filed By Iranian-American Judge

Law360 - DOJ Settles Iranian Immigration Judge's Bias Case

ABA Journal - DOJ to pay $200K to immigration judge over recusal pressure because of her Iranian heritage

The United States Department of Justice Turns the Clock Back Sixty Years to Reinstate "Separate but Equal", June 8, 2015

Law360 - "Immigration Judges Slam DOJ Ban On Iranian Judge", February 25, 2015

Asian American Press - "AAAJ brief supports Iranian American immigration judge", February 24, 2015

Daily Journal - "Ordered 'Recusal' Shows Lack of Autonomy," August 28, 2014

ABA Journal - "Immigration Judge Sues Justice Department, Claims Recusal Order Chills her Free-Speech Rights," August 14, 2014

Associated Press - "Immigration Judge Sues Over Recusal from Cases," August 13, 2014 republished in:

Huffington Post – "Immigration Judge Sues Over Recusal from Cases," August 13, 2014

U-T San Diego – "Immigration Judge Sues Over Recusal from Cases," August 13, 2014

Law360 - "Judge Sues DOJ for Allegedly Discriminatory Recusal Order," August 13, 2014

LexisNexis Legal Newsroom - "Immigration Judge Sues DOJ for Right to Work: Tabaddor v. Holder," August 13, 2014

Reuters - "Department of Justice Challenged Over Order Indefinitely Recusing Immigration Judge from Hearing Cases Involving Iranian Nationals," August 12, 2014

Daily Journal - "Immigration Judge Supported," July 25, 2014


Federal Bar Association, Immigration Law Section - "In (Attempted) Defense of Banning Iranian-American Immigration Judges" October/November 2014

Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers - "The Policy Implications Arising from the Blanket Recusal Order of an Immigration Judge," September 8, 2014

American Immigration Lawyers Association - "When Justice Isn't Allowed to be Blind," August 22, 2014


U.S. Department of Justice, Executive Office for Immigration Review