A federal judge banished a female prosecutor from his Houston courtroom last month, sparking a rare standoff between the new U.S. Attorney and a jurist with a history of sniping at lawyers, government officials and litigants.
U.S. District Judge Lynn N. Hughes, a 77-year-old appointed by President Ronald Reagan, has been criticized in the past for making comments perceived as racist or sexist in court.
The recent controversy involved Assistant U.S. Attorney Tina Ansari, the same prosecutor involved in a 2017 court session in which Hughes made remarks characterized by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals as “demeaning, inappropriate and beneath the dignity of a federal judge.”
“It was a lot simpler when you guys wore dark suits, white shirts and navy ties… We didn’t let girls do it in the old days,” he said during the court session. The judge later told the Houston Chronicle he was speaking to a group of FBI agents, at least one of whom was a woman, and not the prosecutor. He said the comments were in reference to the exclusion of women historically and were not derogatory.