Skip to content

After Texas District Court Defies Necessary Judicial Conference Policy, Leader Schumer And Senate Democrats Introduce Legislation To Stop Corrupt Practice Of Judge Shopping

Washington, D.C. – Today, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), along with Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and 37 Democratic Senators, released legislation that would codify the Judicial Conference’s new policy and curtail judge shopping across the country.

After sounding the alarm on the pernicious act of judge shopping for over a year, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) introduced new legislation with 37 Democratic Senators to end the practice of judge shopping. 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.

“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.”

“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 Senator Whitehouse.  “Our End Judge Shopping Act backstops the Judicial Conference’s recently announced policy to prevent activist plaintiffs from handpicking their outcomes.”  

"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 Senator 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.”

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-RI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), 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).