Senators Carper and Coons Join Leader Schumer and Colleagues in Introducing Legislation to Stop Corrupt Practice of Judge Shopping

Today, U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons (both D-Del.) joined Leader Schumer and 37 of their Democratic colleagues in introducing legislation that would curtail judge shopping, a tactic commonly employed by special interest groups to tilt judicial decisions in their favor. The End Judge Shopping Act would require random assignment for cases involving broad injunctions and promote uniformity in district courts to ensure greater fairness across our judicial system. 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.

“Special interest groups have long taken unfair advantage of our judicial system. Handpicking federal judges, also known as judge shopping, greatly undermines the trust that Americans place in our judiciary, and has resulted in the attacks on reproductive freedom and environmental justice that we have seen in recent years,” said Senator Carper. “That’s why I’m proud to co-sponsor the End Judge Shopping Act with the majority of my Democratic colleagues, because it’s long past time to curtail this corrupt practice nationwide.”

“Judge shopping undermines confidence in our federal justice system,” said Senator Coons. “By assigning cases challenging federal or state laws randomly to all judges across a federal judicial district—like we do in Delaware— we can prevent the kind of brazen judge shopping that led to a single judge, sitting by himself in his own division, ordering a nationwide ban on the long-approved drug Mifepristone. I encourage my colleagues in the Senate to support the End Judge Shopping Act, and join us in sending a strong message to far-right activists trying to sway judicial decisions involving abortion access, reproductive rights, LGBTQ+ rights, immigration, and other issues.”

“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.”

After Leader Schumer raised the alarm about this unfair practice, 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. Leader Schumer wrote to the Conference to encourage them to enforce this much-needed guidance. But regrettably, the District Court for the Northern District of Texas, which has seen some of the most egregious examples of judge shopping in recent history, declined to adopt the new rule.

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 Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), John Fetterman (D-Pa.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Laphonza Butler (D-Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Tina Smith (D-MN), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Peter Welch (D-VT), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Angus King (I-Maine), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), and Bob Casey (D-Pa.).