Justice For All? Or Only Non-Muslims?
Lawyers are generally taught that deliberately using race, religion or ethnicity in prosecuting a defendant violates Equal Protection rights guaranteed by the 14th Amendment. In light of his repeated anti-Arab and anti-Muslim statements, it seems that Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon Kromberg needs to be reminded of this fundamental principle.
Gordon Kromberg, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, has made repugnant statements about Muslim women, has suggested to a jury that Muslims believe it's religiously acceptable to lie, and has promoted the notion that Muslims are killers due to their nature. MPAC today filed a complaint with the Office of Professional Responsibility calling on the Department of Justice to review Mr. Kromberg's statements and to investigate the discriminatory remarks made by him about Arabs and Muslims.
Representing the U.S. government, Kromberg argued before a district judge last fall that Dr. Sami Al-Arian should not be released in to his daughter's custody because, "in this particular culture," a woman could not prevent her father from fleeing.
When Al-Arian's Tampa attorney, Jack Fernandez, asked Kromberg to delay the defendant's transfer 30 days until after the Islamic religious holidays of Ramadan, Kromberg responded: "If they can kill each other during Ramadan, they can appear before the grand jury. All they can't do is eat before sunset. I believe Mr. Al-Arian's request is part of the attempted Islamization of the American Justice System. I am not going to put off Dr. Al-Arian's grand jury appearance just to assist in what is becoming the Islamization of America."
The motion released by Dr. Al-Arian's attorneys calling in to question the bias of Prosecutor Kromberg states that Kromberg joked about the torture of a Virginia man name of Ahmed Abu Ali, who was then being held in Saudi Arabia. The suspect's lawyer, Salim Ali, said that when Mr. Kromberg was asked about Abu Ali's prospects for returning to America, Kromberg smirked and stated "He's no good for us here. He has no fingernails left." Kromberg later stated in a declaration that he had no recollection of making the statement.
In the trial of Virginia cancer researcher and Muslim religious leader Ali al-Timimi, who was accused of exhorting others to wage war against America by joining the Taliban, Kromberg said, "If you are a kaffir, Timimi believes in time of war, he's supposed to lie to you."
Discriminatory statements have no place in our courts and Mr. Kromberg has become a stain on the great standing and reputation of the Department of Justice and the American judicial system. As the Supreme Court in Yick Wo v. Hopkins (118 U.S. 356, 1886) stated over a century ago, when "laws are applied and administered by public authority with an evil eye and an unequal hand, so as practically to make unjust and illegal discriminations between persons in similar circumstances, material to their rights, the denial of equal justice is still within the prohibition of the Constitution."
We are confident that Attorney General Holder will make clear that the Department of Justice will not tolerate its attorneys making generalizations about members of a particular race, religion or ethnic group in our courts.