Mitch McConnell Connected To Judges’ Sudden Retirement; Federal Judge Seeks Investigation
Mitch McConnell has been accused of influencing a judge to retire, in order to make an opening for a candidate he nominated for the position. The appointment is expected to go through on Wednesday.
The appointment, if successfully confirmed, would place Justin Walker on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, replacing Judge Thomas Griffith. A political advocacy group called Demand Justice has been calling for an investigation before McConnell is allowed to fill this seat, saying that Judge Griffith’s retirement was sudden and that investigators should learn whether Mitch McConnell in any way influenced the decision.
The Senate should not consider Trump's nominee to the second most powerful court in America until the judiciary has concluded its investigation into what Mitch McConnell did to create the vacancy.
Our statement: pic.twitter.com/LnDZMxOhBK
— Demand Justice (@WeDemandJustice) May 4, 2020
On Tuesday, a Chief Judge on that same court echoed the group’s request. According to the ABA Journal, Judge Sri Srinivasan has asked Supreme Court Justice John Roberts to appoint another circuit to review the allegations.
A New York Times story in March alleged that McConnell was pressuring Republican judges to retire while the Trump administration is in place and can pick conservative judges to replace them.
According to The Hill, the American Bar Association rated Justin Walker, who served as a law clerk to Brett Kavanaugh and to Anthony Kennedy, unqualified for the position. This isn’t a new status for judges under this administration, though — by Ballotpedia‘s count, the ABA had rated nine of Trump’s nominations unqualified — earning the organization a revocation of access, with the administration sending a letter informing that the ABA will no longer get the privileged access they use to rate nominees.
The Courier-Journal reports that David Popp, a spokesman for McConnell, responded to the allegations and the call for an investigation Tuesday, saying that the confirmation will continue and that McConnell is looking forward to watching his pick confirmed.