A Northern Texas federal court’s refusal to abide by new guidance aimed at curbing the harmful “judge shopping” strategy underscores the politics behind the tactic — highlighting it as a means to get conservative judges to rubber-stamp right-wing causes at the expense of everyday Americans. U.S Chief District Judge David Godbey’s refusal of the policy sparked calls this week by Senate Majority Leader Schumer for further action to curtail the strategy, which has enabled such contrived cases as the recent abortion pill challenge to make it up to the Supreme Court.

Judge Godbey’s sheer refusal to honor this new guidance further underscores what we’ve known to be true: judge shopping is a purely political strategy that conservatives use to manipulate the judicial system for political gain. Senate Majority Leader Schumer is importantly holding the Northern District of Texas accountable for allowing this harmful practice to continue — a tactic which threatens to erode the credibility of our judiciary, and ultimately, our democracy.”

Accountable.US executive director Tony Carrk

Recent Accountable.US research identified key examples of judge shopping in the Fort Worth division of the Northern District of Texas, multiple of which were brought by plaintiffs with little to no connection to the area simply seeking a favorable outcome. The antidemocratic practice has ramped up in recent years, as the vast majority of the identified cases were filed just within the past year.

With no enforcement mechanism for the recent guidance, many of these cases will still be able to travel up the far-right judicial pipeline to the Supreme Court with barely any scrutiny and with judges willing to overturn precedent or invoke fringe legal arguments in their rulings. One of the latest examples comes from the 5th Circuit of Appeals, whom the US Chamber of Commerce asked to intervene in a case to invalidate the CFPB’s credit card late fee rule. This blatant dismissal of a previous federal judge’s ruling to send the case back to a DC Court is taking judge shopping to a new level.


back to top