Texas federal court will not adopt policy against ‘judge shopping’ By Reuters


By Nate Raymond

(Reuters) – A Texas court that has become a favorite spot for conservatives accused of blocking President Joe Biden’s nominations has decided not to follow a lawmaker’s decision to reduce the number of judges.

U.S. District Judge David Godbey of the Northern District of Texas announced the decision in a letter Friday to Democratic U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who urged him to introduce a new policy aimed at ensuring that cases challenging federal or state laws are handed down randomly. . judges.

The plan announced by the US Judicial Conference on March 12 would require that a case against a federal or state law be assigned to a random judge across the state rather than in the smaller circuit, or court, where the case was filed.

If enacted, the bill could disrupt the way conservative judges use to hold cases in four Texas counties that have one or two judges appointed by Republican presidents and often favor cases like abortion. immigration and gun control. .

Following a backlash from Senate Republicans and some conservative judges, lawmakers later clarified that the rule was discretionary, leaving it up to each district court to decide how to apply it.

In his letter, Godbey, who was appointed by former Republican President George W. Bush, said the judges in his district met on Wednesday. “This agreement was not intended to change our way of distributing news at this time,” he said.

His letter was first reported by Law360. Schumer’s spokespeople did not respond to requests for comment Saturday.

The US Supreme Court for the Northern District of Texas has 11 active judges and is divided into seven divisions. Most of the judges are in Dallas, but smaller counties like Amarillo, Fort Worth and Lubbock have only one or two judges.

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in a case that originated in one of these lower courts, where U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk — appointed by former Republican President Donald Trump in the single-judge district of Amarillo — suspended the approval of the abortion pill. mifepristone.

The Supreme Court has allowed the tablet to remain on the market while it hears the appeal. Judges signed off on Tuesday’s arguments that they could not enforce the ban.

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