Prevent Partisan Judge Shopping

Target: Jeffrey Sutton, Chair of Judicial Conference Executive Committee

Goal: Take further steps to end forum shopping and to promote judicial impartiality.

In the United States, politicians rather than legal experts or the general public are responsible for appointing the nation’s most consequential judges. As a consequence, confidence in courts has plummeted over the years and plaintiffs quite openly seek judges that they believe will be partial to their positions: a process known as forum shopping. Often, these cases have national ramifications for hot-button issues such as abortion and immigration. And the effects funnel down to everyday citizens just trying to get a fair and impartial hearing in court.

A judging panel that sets federal judiciary policy has recently made a key amendment that should significantly cut down on forum shopping. In short, the policy will randomly assign judges to cases with far-reaching implications. The caveat is that localized district courts still get to determine when and in what manner the new policy will be deployed. In addition, the policy is silent on another revision requested by forum shopping critics: the usage of a three-judge panel for any case that challenges a state or federal law.

Sign the petition below to call for stronger measures to ensure the objectivity of the country’s judiciary.


Dear Judge Sutton,

“No single judge should have the power to make sweeping decisions that could harm millions of Americans.” The sponsor of a senate bill targeting forum shopping reflected the concerns of many Americans with this statement. While the Judicial Conference has taken an important step in curtailing forum shopping, it has also reiterated that district courts will have “discretion” in the matter. Ending a practice that has local, regional, and national implications every day should not be an option.

And if this conference wants to set an even stronger precedent for impartiality, why not consider the aforementioned senate bill’s other recommendation of a multi-judge panel for any case involving potential changes to state or federal law? After all, the conference itself is comprised of such a panel. Help restore the public’s faith in its judicial system by taking every measure to ensure objectivity and blind justice remain central creeds.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Sora Shimazaki

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161 Signatures

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