Judge Accused of Religious Bias

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Southern Florida lawyers are supporting a federal judge in Fort Lauderdale who was accused of bias stemming from his religious beliefs.

U.S. District Judge William Zloch last month denied a motion for his recusal that cited ties to Ave Maria Law School and his attendance at judicial junkets sponsored by conservative organizations, the Daily Business Review reports. The motion claimed Zloch is showing bias in two employment cases.

Fort Lauderdale lawyer Loring Spolter filed the motion. It says the judge has hired three law clerks from the Roman Catholic law school, more than any other in the nation. The school also put Zloch on its “honor roll of donors” for contributing $100 to $500 in 2004.

“Having faculty with strong beliefs favoring one end of the political spectrum would not be troublesome in and of itself,” the motion said. “It does, however, become problematic when a judge rewards and endorses a law school– through monetary contributions and by aggressively hiring its graduates as law clerks–when the faculty is comprised solely of those advocating a certain limited range of political and religious beliefs.”

Guy Lewis, a lawyer in Coral Gables, Fla., said the motion is “absolutely silly.” Lewis told the legal publication that Zloch “calls balls and strikes as good as anybody. There’s no question he’s a devoutly religious man, but to suggest that affects his rulings is over the top.”

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