The Judicial Ethics Forum (JEF)

An Academic Discussion of Judicial Ethics, Discipline & Disqualification

The Sixth Circuit and Historically White Country Clubs

Posted by judicialethicsforum on Monday, June, 13, 2011

The Judicial Council of the Sixth Circuit recently dismissed a complaint against Chief Bankruptcy Judge George C. Paine, concluding that the judge could permissibly remain a member of an exclusively white-male country club.  Although the club does have “lady members” and one African-American male non-voting member, the club’s 600 voting members are all white.  The complaint alleged, therefore, that the judge violated Canon 2A and Canon 2C of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges.  The Council’s vote was deeply divided (10-8), with the slight majority voting to dismiss the complaint.  The dissent noted, among other points, that Judge Paine should have resigned at the moment (or at a minimum, within two years after) he realized that his efforts to change the Club’s discriminatory practices had failed.  [Read the full opinion here.]

Some press coverage follows: New York Times; Wall Street Journal; and The Tennessean.

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