Carolyn Kuhl’s Hearing Strengthened the Case Against Her Confirmation

Other aspects of her record on civil rights matters

In post-hearing questions, Senator Leahy observed that “[m]any Americans would not be comfortable with a judge whose intelligence and reason were not tempered by experience and compassion,” and asked, “Can you please give us an example of a situation in which you displayed, as a lawyer, understanding for the human situation, such as the sting felt by women or minorities victimized by discrimination?”41

In her response, Kuhl did not cite a single instance pertaining to her career “as a lawyer.” Instead, Kuhl focused on two rulings she has issued as a judge, the same two rulings she has cited repeatedly in other written answers and in her testimony on April 1 in an effort to dispel the serious concerns about her record on civil rights raised by her years in the Reagan Administration and in private practice.42 Apart from the fact that Kuhl has only been able to cite two rulings in her more than seven years as a state judge that she believes speak favorably to her record on civil rights, a review of these cases indicates that they do not in negate the serious concerns her record has raised.

In one of those cases, Iwekaogwu v. City of Los Angeles, 75 Cal. App. 4th 803 (1999), Kuhl, sitting by designation on the Court of Appeal, wrote a decision upholding a judgment in favor of an African American employee who had been unlawfully retaliated against by his employer when he complained that he had been subjected to employment discrimination on the basis of race and national origin. As recounted in Kuhl’s decision, the facts presented a clear case of retaliation, and the Court of Appeal was unanimous in its ruling. The issues involved in this case were totally different from those presented, for example, in Bob Jones, and Kuhl’s ruling in this clear-cut case of retaliation does not in any way change the fact that, in the Bob Jones matter, she urged that the IRS policy be reversed and a tax exemption given to a private school that practiced blatant race discrimination.
In the other case repeatedly cited by Kuhl, Grobeson v. City of Los Angeles, No. BC150151 (L.A. Superior Court, June 29, 1998), Kuhl overturned on due process grounds disciplinary action taken against an openly gay police officer because the police department had failed to give the officer proper notice of the charges against him. Kuhl’s ruling did not turn on the officer’s sexual orientation or in any way affirmatively protect the officer from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Neither of these cases repeatedly cited by Kuhl dispels the serious concerns raised by her actions in such cases as Bob Jones or other civil rights matters.43

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