- The Washington Times - Friday, May 8, 2020

Chief Justice John G. Roberts on Friday declined to order a judicial misconduct investigation into a federal judge’s retirement and whether Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had anything to do with it.

D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Sri Srinavasan had previously asked the chief justice to assign a court to investigate the retirement of fellow D.C. Circuit Judge Thomas Griffith, and whether Mr. McConnell had any involvement in the matter so as to free up an appellate vacancy for President Trump to fill.

The allegation originated with Demand Justice, a liberal advocacy group focused on the courts, which did not provide verification of its accusations against Judge Griffith or Mr. McConnell.

“The Order transmitted in Judicial Misconduct Complaint No. DC-20-90011 purports to identify a complaint under Rule 5 “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”,” wrote Jeffrey P. Minear, counselor to Justice Roberts. “Nor does the Order reflect a determination of probable cause, or provide sufficient indicia to infer such a finding. Because the Order does not meet the prerequisites for identification of a complaint under Rule 5, the Chief Justice has determined that a transfer of the matter is not appropriate at this juncture in the proceeding.”

Judge Griffith told NPR on Tuesday that his decision to retire involved no discussion with the White House nor the Senate and was attributable to his spouse’s ongoing illness.

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing this week on the nomination of Judge Justin Walker to replace retiring Judge Griffith.

Demand Justice has mounted an advocacy campaign against Judge Walker and in support of delaying anyone selected by President Trump from filling the vacancy.

Asked about D.C. Circuit Judge Srinivasan’s decision to request the Supreme Court assign out the investigation into whether Mr. McConnell interfered with Judge Griffith’s retirement, Mr. McConnell spokesperson David Popp said earlier this week that the Kentucky senator was looking forward to watching Judge Walker’s “confirmation hearing.”

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