Demand Justice Calls for Delay In Walker Hearing In Response to News of Investigation Into McConnell’s Effort to Create Vacancy

05.04.20

WASHINGTON, DC— On Monday, Demand Justice Executive Director Brian Fallon issued the following statement calling for the U.S. Senate to postpone hearings for President Trump’s newest pick for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in light of new calls from within the federal judiciary for an investigation into the suspicious circumstances surrounding the retirement of the judge who currently occupies the seat:

“Justin Walker’s nomination was already controversial, but this emerging investigation means an even darker cloud is hanging over his appointment. The hearing on Walker’s nomination should not go forward until we know the truth about what ethical lines Mitch McConnell crossed to get Walker this seat. At the very least, McConnell should come clean about whether and when he contacted Judge Thomas Griffith prior to his sudden retirement.”

On Monday, the New York Times reported that the court’s chief judge, Sri Srinivasan, has referred a request for investigation from Demand Justice to Chief Justice John Roberts so it can be transferred to another circuit for review and disposition. The New York Times has previously reported that Mitch McConnell privately lobbied judges to retire in time for Donald Trump to fill their seats this term.

Demand Justice’s request for investigation reads, in part: “The coordinated manner of Majority Leader McConnell’s involvement in the judges’ decision-making is quite unprecedented and raises significant ethical questions for the judges who heed his advice.”

President Trump has nominated Walker, a McConnell family friend and protege, to fill the seat. The Washington Post recently reported that the White House has been considering Walker for a seat on the appeals court since long before Judge Thomas Griffith, who currently occupies the seat, announced his retirement.

In the Monday New York Times story, a McConnell spokesperson “would not address whether the majority leader and Judge Griffith had discussed retirement plans.”

Demand Justice’s request for investigation can be found here.

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