20+ Organizations Call Out Improper Right-Wing Interference in Judicial Conference’s Attempts to Address Judge Shopping and Urge Action and Oversight


April 2, 2024

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Groups say “oversight and legislation are needed.”

WASHINGTON, DC— A coalition of more than twenty organizations wrote to Senate Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin on Tuesday urging him to direct the committee to implement oversight and legislation to address “judge shopping,” which some plaintiffs use to manipulate our judicial system by handpicking judges that are likely to rule in their favor.

The letter comes after the Judicial Conference appears to have responded to right-wing criticism by appearing to water down their support for a new policy against judge shopping. In March, the organization put in place a new policy to reduce judge shopping, only to deem the policy non-binding “guidance” three days later in the wake of  attacks by the right-wing legal movement and Republican members of Congress. The groups write: “we are concerned by the precedent this sets: allowing bad faith actors to improperly distort the administration of justice and operation of the courts.”

On Friday, the chief judge of the Northern District of Texas, a favored district for conservatives, announced that the court will not be adopting the Judicial Conference policy. 

In the letter, the groups warn: “an anti-judge shopping policy that is applied inconsistently across the country has the potential to deepen, rather than solve, concerns about the partisan and ideological imbalances in the judiciary.”

The letter argues that judge shopping is an urgent threat, noting that the Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments in FDA vs. Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, which seeks to ban the abortion pill and is “the most dramatic example of judge shopping in recent years.” 

The groups conclude: “The judicial branch is just one of three co-equal branches of government. Congress has both the tools, and responsibility, to ensure our federal courts are operating to faithfully serve the public and interests of justice…If the judiciary alone will not stand up to right-wing pressure and solve this problem, then Congress must act swiftly.” 

The full text of the letter can be found here

A full list of the signatories can be found below:

  • All* Above All Action Fund
  • Alliance for Justice
  • American Atheists
  • American Humanist Coalition
  • Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)
  • Demand Justice
  • Demos Action
  • End Citizens United//Let America Vote Action Fund
  • Freedom From Religion Foundation
  • Houston Immigration Legal Services Collaborative
  • Indivisible
  • League of Conservation Voters 
  • Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF)
  • National Association of Consumer Advocates
  • National Council of Jewish Women
  • National Association of Social Workers
  • National Partnership for Women & Families
  • People for the American Way
  • People’s Parity Project
  • Public Advocacy for Kids (PAK)
  • Reproductive Freedom for All (formerly NARAL Pro-Choice America)
  • Stand Up America
  • Take Back the Court Action Fund

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