While the Senate is about to hold a hearing for an unqualified Republican nominee for a seat on the influential D.C. circuits Court of Appeals, the chief judge has asked John Roberts to assign a different circuit to investigate a complaint that Mitch McConnell improperly pressured another judge to retire in order to create the vacancy. Via the New York Times:
In an order dated May 1, Judge Sri Srinivasan asked Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. to assign another circuit to look into a complaint filed by the progressive advocacy group Demand Justice, which questioned the timing and circumstances of Judge Thomas B. Griffith’s retirement announcement in early March.
The advocacy group acted in March after disclosures that Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader who has focused intently on conservative judicial confirmations the past three years, had been contacting appeals court judges nominated by Republican presidents to encourage them to retire. In the case of Judge Griffith, his retirement opened the way for President Trump to nominate Justin Walker, a 37-year-old protégé of Mr. McConnell’s whom the senator had ardently promoted for the seat.
With the number of federal judicial vacancies to fill nearly exhausted, Mr. McConnell has been urging those contemplating retirement to step aside this year if they want to assure that their successors will be nominated by a Republican president and confirmed by a Republican-controlled Senate.