A Texas municipal judge has been put on leave after city officials found out she wasn’t a U.S. citizen.
According to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Judge Young Min Burkett was placed on unpaid leave this week by the city of Corpus Christi after it was determined that while she could legally work in this country, the South Korean citizen should not have been eligible for a job as a municipal court judge.
A city ordinance states that all municipal judges must be U.S. citizens. However, City Councilman Rudy Garza Jr. admitted Wednesday that there was no question on the job application asking if applicants were citizens.
While city applications typically ask if the applicant is a “qualified voter” — which would automatically mean the applicant is an American citizen — that question has been omitted from recent municipal judge applications.
In the process of vetting a recent hire, a city official noticed that the “qualified voter” question had been omitted. When they went back and checked records, they found that Burkett did not fit the bill.
KRIS-TV reported that Burkett, who has been a legal permanent resident since 2007, has been given 90 days to obtain citizenship in order to keep her job.
Burkett came from South Korea to study law, graduating from the Texas Tech University School of Law in 2005. Prior to serving as a judge, she had been a prosecutor in Nueces County from 2008 onward. Texas stipulates one must only be “lawfully admitted for permanent residence” to practice law in the state.
“The error was a city error and we don’t feel Judge Burkett was insincere or did anything in her application or interview that led to any dishonesty on her part,” Council Member Garza said. The council noted “that past rulings of this judge are not invalidated by this status.”
The fact that we’re in a time and place where cities don’t even really check whether their judges are American citizens — especially when they have laws on the books stipulating that they must be — should be deeply concerning to every American.
Thankfully, Corpus Christi’s oversight doesn’t seem to have led to any great miscarriages of jurisprudence. The next municipality that makes the same mistake may not be so lucky.
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H/T The Daily Caller