Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) could soon find himself under investigation for improperly pressuring a judge to retire so he could fill the opening with a 37-year-old protégé.
NEW: A top federal judge has asked Chief Justice Roberts to assign a formal investigation into whether McConnell unethically pressured a sitting judge to retire so McConnell could install his protege Justin Walker in his place. https://t.co/z3NQF3ZIRi
— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) May 4, 2020
According to The New York Times, “Just days before a high-profile Senate confirmation hearing to fill a vacancy on the prestigious U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the court’s chief judge has opened the door to an inquiry into whether ethical improprieties occurred in the creation of the coveted opening.”
More from the report:
In an order dated May 1, Judge Sri Srinivasan asked Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. to assign another circuit to look into a complaint filed by the progressive advocacy group Demand Justice, which questioned the timing and circumstances of Judge Thomas B. Griffith’s retirement announcement in early March.
The advocacy group acted in March after disclosures that Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader who has focused intently on conservative judicial confirmations the past three years, had been contacting appeals court judges nominated by Republican presidents to encourage them to retire. In the case of Judge Griffith, his retirement opened the way for President Trump to nominate Justin Walker, a 37-year-old protégé of Mr. McConnell’s whom the senator had ardently promoted for the seat.
With the number of federal judicial vacancies to fill nearly exhausted, Mr. McConnell has been urging those contemplating retirement to step aside this year if they want to assure that their successors will be nominated by a Republican president and confirmed by a Republican-controlled Senate.
Mitch McConnell has hijacked the courts
Improperly pressuring a judge to retire so he could fill the opening with his buddy is par for the course for Mitch McConnell.
After all, this is the guy who led the effort to steal a Supreme Court seat from Barack Obama with a year left in his presidency, then handed it to Donald Trump in 2017.
And late last year, when the country had its eyes fixed on Trump’s impeachment, McConnell rammed through the confirmation of an alarming number of judicial nominees.
Mitch McConnell has damaged American institutions in countless ways, but his shameless and potentially unethical hijacking of the U.S. courts is something that will take a generation to undo.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.