Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts walks out of the Senate chamber on February 5, 2020. (Photo by Mandel Ngan / AFP via Getty Images)

Progressive Group Denounces Roberts' Refusal to Investigate Federal Judge's Retirement

Demand Justice accused Roberts of "covering up Mitch McConnell's court-packing project."

Julia Conley

In what the advocacy group Demand Justice called a "Friday news dump," U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts said he would not direct a federal court to conduct an ethics inquiry into the retirement of Judge Thomas Griffith from the second-highest court in the country.

Demand Justice had called for the investigation into Griffith's decision to step down from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which leaves a seat open for Trump's right-wing appointee, Judge Justin Walker. 

As Common Dreams reported earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been reaching out to veteran conservative judges like Griffith to assure them that if they step down now, "they would have a worthy successor."

The group has demanded to know whether McConnell was in touch with Griffith before he decided to retire. 

Judge Sri Srinivasan, the chief judge of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, urged Roberts this week to direct another court to conduct the inquiry, a request Roberts rejected on the grounds that there was no "probable cause."

Demand Justice accused Roberts of "covering up Mitch McConnell's court-packing project."

"The highly respected chief judge of the nation's second-highest court thought this matter should be referred for further investigation, and now Roberts is ignoring that recommendation and blocking any further look into McConnell's campaign to pressure federal judges to retire," executive director Brian Fallon said in a statement Friday.

McConnell has openly said that although the country is facing the coronavirus pandemic, his top priority now that the Senate has reconvened is to push through as many of President Donald Trump's judicial nominees as possible.

"After bragging about those efforts as recently as two months ago, McConnell ducked every question this week about what conversations he had," Fallon said. "Judge Srinivasan was right to forward this matter along, and Roberts' decision to turn a blind eye to McConnell's conduct shows how deeply politicized the courts have become."

Earlier this week Demand Justice called on the Senate to halt consideration of Trump's nominee for Griffith's seat—Judge Justin Walker, who was rated "not qualified" by the American Bar Association last year when Trump nominated him for his current seat on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky—until the question of McConnell's contact with Griffith is resolved.  

Griffith's retirement is "beyond suspicious," the group said.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Spain Approves 'Solidarity' Tax to Make Nation's Top 0.1% Pay a Fairer Share

The country's finance minister said that looming changes are bound to make the tax code "more progressive, efficient, fair, and also enough to guarantee social justice and economic efficiency."

Kenny Stancil ·

'Time to Take to the Streets': Working Class Hold 'Enough Is Enough' Rallies Across UK

"Does a CEO need an extra zero at the end of their salary—or should nurses, posties, and teachers be able to heat their homes?" said one supporter ahead of the #EnoughIsEnough National Day of Action.

Julia Conley ·

Ukraine Responds to Putin Annexations With Fast-Track NATO Application

Lamenting the lack of any progress toward a diplomatic settlement, one anti-war campaigner asked: "Will the world stand idly by as we careen towards nuclear apocalypse?"

Jake Johnson ·

'Their Price Strategies Are Bearing Fruit': Oil and Coal Profits Surge 340%

A leading economist urged policymakers to "address corporate profiteering as a driver of inflation by reining in megacorporations and addressing the unsustainably high prices facing families around the country."

Kenny Stancil ·

'Don't Look Away': Tlaib Ties Death of 7-Year-Old Palestinian to US Aid to Israel

"$3.8 billion+ of our money is funding this. Enough. It must stop."

Jessica Corbett ·

Common Dreams Logo