Saturday, July 23, 2022

Supreme Court Asked to Punish Texas Over use of ‘Trump judges’: Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. famously declared that there were no Trump judges or Obama judges. He is about to get a real test on that matter

AP Photo/Susan Walsh
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. famously declared that there were no Trump judges or Obama judges. He is about to get a real test on that matter.
A law professor has filed a brief with the Supreme Court urging the justices to rule against Texas in a lawsuit over the Biden administration’s handling of immigration enforcement. The lawsuit claims Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has been unethically “judge shopping” by looking for Republican-appointed judges to handle his cases.
Stephen Vladeck, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law, said Mr. Paxton looks for courthouses dominated by Republican judges, many of them appointed by President Trump, to improve his chances of success.
Mr. Paxton has filed 27 cases against President Biden‘s policies, 19 of them in Texas. Of those, all but one is being overseen by a judge appointed by a Republican president, Mr. Vladeck said.
“This is more than forum-shopping, it is thinly veiled judge-shopping,” the professor wrote in a brief filed with the high court.
He said the specific case before the justices was “a perfect example.”
Texas challenged Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ policy implemented last year limiting immigration agents’ and officers’ authority to arrest and oust illegal immigrants.
He said they needed to have a reason beyond just being in the country illegally, such as a lengthy criminal record. Those with older crimes and immigrants supporting families were supposed to get a break.
Mr. Paxton brought his lawsuit to a courthouse in Victoria, Texas.
Mr. Vladeck said there is nothing special about Victoria, a moderately sized city that doesn’t sit near the U.S.-Mexico border, other than it has one judge to whom new civil cases are assigned: Judge Drew B. Tipton, a Trump appointee.
“By filing this case in Victoria, Texas was able to select not just the location for its lawsuit, but the specific federal judge who would decide this case: a judge Texas likely believed would enjoin the Guidance — and who in fact did so, even as other courts have rejected similar challenges,” Mr. Vladeck wrote.
The professor pointed to comments Chief Justice Roberts made in 2018 after Mr. Trump blasted an adverse court ruling on immigration policy from what he described as an “Obama judge.”
“We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” Chief Justice Roberts said in an interview with The Associated Press at the time. “What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them.”
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