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Remembering Judge Robert Katzmann, a Pioneer in Providing Legal Counsel for Immigrants

July 27, 2021 (1 min read)

Camille Mackler, Documented, July 27, 2021

"Judge Robert Katzmann was struck the same way we all are by the fundamental lack of fairness in immigration proceedings. It started in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in the late 2000s. Judge Katzmann was increasingly shocked at the volume of appeals filed by immigrants who had judgments against them in the immigration courts.

Katzmann was struck by the poor quality legal representation the immigrants had — if they had a lawyer at all. Uncharacteristically for a judge, he took concrete action. 

He “didn’t practice in immigration court; he didn’t have a loved one facing detention or deportation,” his former clerk and long-time friend, Lindsay Nash, remembered. “The fact that he, while sitting on the Second Circuit, saw what he saw — a real crisis of justice for immigrants in our legal system — from appellate briefs and then made it his mission to change that dynamic speaks volumes about who he was as a judge and a person.” ... "