April 11, 2024

Whitehouse, Schumer, Hirono & Colleagues Introduce Legislation to Stop Corrupt Practice of Judge Shopping

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and 37 Democratic Senators yesterday introduced legislation that would codify the Judicial Conference’s new policy to curtail judge shopping across the country. 

The End Judge Shopping Act would require random assignment for cases involving broad injunctions and promote uniformity and fairness in our district courts.  For too long, Americans have seen right-wing activists tilt major judicial decisions in their favor by handpicking judges for their civil cases, which has led to nationwide attacks on abortion access, birth control, LGBTQ+ rights, immigration, and the environment.

“Judge shopping twists the justice system, often in favor of dark-money-funded plaintiffs with the resources and motivation to select judges who have broadcast their ideological views,” said Whitehouse, a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate’s leading voice for restoring the integrity of the federal courts.  “Our End Judge Shopping Act backstops the Judicial Conference’s recently announced policy to prevent activist plaintiffs from handpicking their outcomes.” 

“Former President Trump and Leader McConnell stacked the courts with MAGA judges who are striking down laws, freedoms, and regulations left and right.  And now right-wing activists are exploiting the current makeup of the judicial system to circumvent the legislation process and overturn the will of the American people,” said Leader Schumer.  “The Judicial Conference published a common-sense policy to randomize case assignment when there are nationwide injunctions involved.  The American people need to believe in the fairness of our judicial branch, and this legislation would move our legal system in the right direction.  We can’t let unelected judges thrash our democracy.”

“Activist plaintiffs should not be able to hand-pick individual judges to overturn laws they dislike, which is why it’s critical we address the issue of judge shopping in our federal courts,” said Hirono.  “The End Judge Shopping Act puts statutory authority behind the Judicial Conference’s recent judge shopping policy and will strengthen trust in our federal justice system by helping to ensure major cases are assigned at random rather than based on the perceived ideological agenda of particular judges.”

The Judicial Conference – helmed by conservative Chief Justice John Roberts – announced the new policy designed to limit plaintiffs’ ability to engage in judge shopping.  Despite broad support across the political spectrum for this common-sense policy, many Republicans criticized the new rule and encouraged district courts to ignore it.  

Congress has the authority to legislate on this matter. The End Judge Shopping Act would codify the Judicial Conference’s new policy and curtail judge shopping across the nation.

The legislation is co-sponsored by Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), John Fetterman (D-PA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Laphonza Butler (D-CA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Tina Smith (D-MN), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Peter Welch (D-VT), Mark Warner (D-VA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Angus King (I-ME), Tom Carper (D-DE), Patty Murray (D-WA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Gary Peters (D-MI), Chris Coons (D-DE), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), and Bob Casey (D-PA).


Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921