WASHINGTON, D.C., July 15, 2019 – Alliance for Justice today released its research report on the record of Halil Ozerden, President Trump’s latest nominee for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. AFJ President Nan Aron released the following statement:
“Halil Ozerden’s record raises numerous red flags. His rulings as a district court judge on cases involving workers and consumers, as well as criminal justice issues, suggest that many critical rights of people living and working in the Fifth Circuit would be at risk. We strongly urge senators to take a close look at his record before considering awarding him a lifetime seat on a higher federal court.”
Among other things, the AFJ report finds:
- Ozerden granted summary judgment for an employer in a case in which an African-American employee claimed a hostile work environment. The employee was not permitted to have his case heard by a jury, even though his claims included the presence of nooses on the work site, and use of racist epithets by supervisors, including the N word.
- Ozerden ruled against an employee who corroborated sexual harassment claims made against a supervisor and was subsequently fired, granting a summary judgment to her employer and preventing the employee from having her case heard by a jury. His decision was overturned by the Fifth Circuit.
- Ozerden’s record on criminal justice is troubling and he has been overturned by the Fifth Circuit several times.
- Ozerden declined to hold a private prison operator liable when one of its employees, a guard, allegedly sexually assaulted multiple people incarcerated there.
- Ozerden voted to halt a lawsuit against a sheriff, in a case in which the sheriff’s employees allowed a man detained in their jail to die slowly of a gastrointestinal hemorrhage.
- Ozerden ruled against eight immigrant women who were sexually assaulted while detained in United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody, determining that they could not bring claims against either the federal government or the county that operated the ICE detention center via a private contractor.