Home Finance & Investing Attorney Chief Justice Roberts Tried To Save The Credibility Of The Judiciary, But Some Judges Just Want To Watch The World Burn – Above the Law

Chief Justice Roberts Tried To Save The Credibility Of The Judiciary, But Some Judges Just Want To Watch The World Burn – Above the Law

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Chief Justice Roberts Tried To Save The Credibility Of The Judiciary, But Some Judges Just Want To Watch The World Burn – Above the Law

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When the Judicial Conference announced its new rules to curb forum shopping last month, the Chief Justice really must’ve thought he’d pulled his branch out of an ethical cesspool. While the announcement didn’t identify Roberts as the architect of the new recommendations, it bore all the hallmarks of the Chief’s unending quest to shore up the credibility of the federal courts.

The new rules would clarify the judiciary’s existing commitment to random judge assignment as a matter of procedural fairness, explaining that assignment is not “random” if there’s only one judge in the courthouse and therefore any matter implicating state or national injunctive relief must spin the wheel district-wide to remove the appearance of plaintiffs trying to rig the system.

It wouldn’t preclude the possibility that plaintiffs could end up with an ABA unqualified chud hearing the case, but it would make the process look more fair and inject some much needed credibility to a branch of government struggling in the public’s perception.

But what Roberts didn’t learn was the Alfred Pennyworth Principle:

Some men — and women — just want to watch the world burn.

The Judicial Conference had declared the new policy discretionary to avoid any thorny questions over the scope of its authority. That said, the policymaking body carefully crafted the announcement to paint objectors into a corner. No matter how discretionary, every district would have to adopt the new rules because the release left potential critics no way to object to the rules without openly declaring that they want to encourage cheating the judicial system.

And, much to the horror of old-school conservatives like Roberts, the critics went right ahead and said, yeah, we actually do like cheating. That they could not summon a defense of status quo forum shopping better than, “well, yeah, but what about patent cases” — a known problem that had already been addressed by policies just like this — underscored the Judicial Conference’s bittersweet victory. In seeking to preserve the judiciary’s reputation, they had successfully robbed the detractors of any good argument for the practice… but failing any good arguments, the critics were more than happy to embrace bad ones.

Some judges just want to watch the world burn.

All of which culminated in the Northern District of Texas — a district with only one judge appointed by a Democratic president — deciding on Friday that it will not be following the new federal rules. Meaning the home of the abortion pill case that the Supreme Court spent last week laughing out of court and relatedly the district that most directly inspired the new rules will not be taking the credibility lifeline Roberts extended.

Flame on!

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

Earlier: Judicial Conference Shocked SHOCKED To Find Forum Shopping In This Establishment
Right-Wing Judges Rage Over Anti-Forum-Shopping Rule Because Hit Dogs Holler


HeadshotJoe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.



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