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Conservative Legal Group Files Misconduct Complaint Against Federal Judges Over “Oral-Argument Affirmative Action”

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Conservative Legal Group Files Misconduct Complaint Against Federal Judges Over "Oral-Argument Affirmative Action"

In a move that has stirred controversy, conservative legal group America First Legal has lodged a misconduct complaint against three federal judges in Illinois. The complaint challenges orders issued by the judges that aimed to promote inclusivity by encouraging “newer, female, and minority attorneys” to argue motions in court.

The complaint, submitted to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals based in Chicago, alleges that the judges’ actions violate federal judicial conduct rules, as well as the equal protection clause of the Fifth Amendment. It further accuses the judges of engaging in discriminatory practices based on race and sex, according to a press release from America First Legal. News outlets such as Reuters and Law360 have reported on the matter.

Conservative Legal Group Files Misconduct Complaint Against Federal Judges Over "Oral-Argument Affirmative Action"

The three judges at the centre of the controversy are Nancy J. Rosenstengel, Staci M. Yandle, and David W. Dugan, all serving in the Southern District of Illinois. Judge Rosenstengel holds the position of chief judge.

Under their policies, once a motion has been briefed, a party may inform the court of their intention to have a newer, female, or minority attorney argue the motion if granted. In response, the court grants the request if feasible, strongly considers providing extra time for argument, and allows more experienced lawyers to assist if needed.

Conservative Legal Group Files Misconduct Complaint Against Federal Judges Over "Oral-Argument Affirmative Action"

Described as “oral-argument affirmative action for lawyers,” the judges’ policies have drawn criticism from America First Legal. The complaint asserts that these policies violate judicial canons that mandate judges to uphold the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary, thereby potentially undermining public confidence in the legal system.

Notably, America First Legal has also targeted diversity initiatives implemented by corporations and a law review as part of its broader efforts to address perceived inequalities.

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Conservative Legal Group Files Misconduct Complaint Against Federal Judges Over "Oral-Argument Affirmative Action"

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