A federal judge referred a complaint that Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell pressured a judge to retire earlier this year to make way for his longtime protege, The New York Times reports.
McConnell is reportedly pressuring judges to retire early so that President Donald Trump can appoint their replacements as the GOP prepares for a potential loss in November.
McConnell was instrumental in pushing the nomination of Louisville Judge Justin Walker to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals after Judge Thomas Griffith retired in March.
McConnell has known Walker since he was in high school. He brought the judge to meet Trump at the Oval Office and has advocated for his nomination even though he was rated “not qualified” by the American Bar Association.
McConnell hit with complaint:
The progressive advocacy group Demand Justice submitted a complaint to the DC court accusing McConnell of pressuring the judge to quit.
"The coordinated manner of Majority Leader McConnell's involvement in the judges' decision-making is quite unprecedented and raises significant ethical questions for the judges who heed his advice," the group said in a complaint, calling for a "thorough inquiry into the judge's announcement and scheduled retirement, including when and how the decision to retire was made, and with whose input, is crucial."
Judge calls for investigation:
Judge Sri Srinivasan, an Obama appointee, called on Supreme Court Justice John Roberts to appoint a panel from a different court to examine the allegations.
"The organization's request for an inquiry concerns the decision of a judge of this court to retire from service and the resulting creation of a vacancy on this court, which would be filled by a future colleague on this court," he said, adding that he called for a probe without "any inquiry by this court into the statements contained in the unverified correspondence or the questions posited by the organization in the correspondence about the possibility of judicial misconduct."