Senator Mitch McConnell is reportedly executing a GOP scheme to encourage federal judges to retire early in order to create vacancies for President Trump to fill, which raises serious questions of impropriety. On March 16, 2020, The New York Times reported that McConnell and his Republican colleagues Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham spoke to many judges eligible for a semiretirement that would allow them to continue hearing cases while opening up their seat for a new nominee.
Trump has also continued to rely on dark money-funded special interest groups like The Federalist Society and the Article III Project for influencing his judicial nominee picks. The public deserves to know just how much sway special interest groups have on members of Congress and our courts.
CREW has requested Department of Justice communications between Senators McConnell, Graham, and Grassley and Federalist Society executive Leonard Leo and Article III Project executive Mike Davis.
Lobbying federal judges to retire raises questions of impropriety, especially if it turns out that McConnell offered them anything to take retirement earlier than planned. The public deserves an impartial justice system, and an effort to shape the courts by creating new vacancies could significantly undermine that interest. The requested records would shed light on outside influence and an apparent scheme to reshape the federal judiciary.