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Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On New Letter On The Anti-Democratic Practice Of Forum Shopping Employed By MAGA Republicans

Washington, D.C.Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor regarding a new letter sent this week on the anti-democratic practice of forum shopping, recently employed by MAGA Republicans to pick favorable hearing at a court in Northern Texas. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:    

Our federal judiciary is built on the trust and confidence of the American people. But right now, sadly, Americans’ faith in the judicial system is at an all-time low, thanks to the hijacking of our courts by the MAGA hard right and the unfair practice known as forum shopping.

Forum shopping essentially allows litigants in certain cases to hand-pick judges sympathetic to their cause. At its core, forum shopping undermines the spirit of a fair and balanced judiciary.

That’s why earlier this week, I sent a letter with 18 of my Democratic colleagues to the Chair of the Advisory Committee on Civil Rights, calling on the Judicial Conference to consider reforms that would put an end to forum shopping.

If Americans want to see a clear example of why forum shopping is a serious problem, consider the Northern District of Texas. In that district, civil cases are often assigned to a single judge, if not one of just a few.

And it so happens, one of those judges is infamous, infamous, for his well-documented opposition to freedom of choice.

You know who knew that? The MAGA Republicans!

So when MAGA Republicans sought to strip away access to FDA-approved abortion medication widely available for decades, they intentionally targeted the Northern District of Texas, where only one judge sat, they knew which judge they would get. To those who don’t follow judiciary procedure, in most districts there are a bunch of judges, and they put the case on a wheel and they spin the wheel around and whoever the arrow lands on gets the case. You can’t pick your judge. But in this case, you can pick your judge, and in this case it’s an extreme MAGA judge who we know has views that are so, so deeply held that no unbiased bystander can think a fair trial will be held.

And lo and behold, of course, that judge sided with the anti-choice extremists, marking the first time ever that a judge has ordered a drug to be taken off the market, nationwide, it doesn’t just affect Amarillo and Northern Texas, it affects the whole country.

This isn’t equal justice. This isn’t a fair or impartial application of the rule of law. This is extremists using forum shopping to pull a fast one on the vast majority of Americans who opposed this ruling.

And, of course, women’s freedom of choice isn’t the only issue at stake – when extremists can manipulate our judiciary to get judges of their preference, it endangers everything form health care to immigration reform to commonsense gun safety to voting rights.

Forum shopping is a serious problem that will only worsen Americans’ crisis of faith in the judiciary.

The letter Democrats sent offers a path for sensible, good-faith reforms that will preserve an independent federal judiciary while letting in much needed fresh air into America’s halls of justice.