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Hirono, Schumer, and Whitehouse Lead Colleagues in Introducing Legislation to Stop Harmful Practice of Judge Shopping

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) led 37 of their colleagues in introducing legislation that would curtail judge shopping across the country by codifying the Judicial Conference’s recently-announced policy requiring the random assignment of judges in major federal cases.

“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.”

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.

Last month, the Judicial Conference announced a new rule to discourage judge shopping by ensuring high-profile lawsuits seeking to overturn statewide or national policies are randomly assigned to a judge. Despite broad support for this change, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas declined to adopt the new rule.

In addition to Senators Hirono, Schumer, and Whitehouse, this legislation is co-sponsored by 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).

The full text of the legislation is available here.

As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Hirono has consistently championed more robust ethics and accountability for the federal judiciary. In May 2023, Senator Hirono introduced the Stop Judge Shopping Act, legislation to combat judge shopping in federal courts by giving the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (D.D.C.) exclusive jurisdiction over cases that would have national implications. In July 2023, Senator Hirono voted to advance the Supreme Court Ethics, Recusal, and Transparency Act out of committee. This legislation, which she is an original cosponsor of, would require the Supreme Court to adopt an enforceable code of ethics. In May 2022, Senator Hirono also introduced a new version of the Twenty-First Century Court Act to promote accountability and increase transparency in federal courts. She also introduced the Judiciary Accountability Act of 2021, legislation to protect employees of the Federal judiciary from discrimination and harassment.