Republicans protest a new federal court regulation against ‘judge shopping’ in national cases.

Washington— Senate Republicans criticized a new federal court regulation to limit "judge shopping," which got global prominence in a landmark abortion medicine case, Thursday. Mitch McConnell and two other GOP senators wrote to a dozen chief judges nationwide to say they don't have to obey it.

Even in smaller divisions where all cases are heard by one judge, the courts assign national cases to random judges. Critics argue private or state attorneys can choose which judge hears their cases, including national suits, in single-judge divisions.

Interest groups have always sued judges they favor, but an unexpected order preventing abortion medicine approval brought the practice greater attention. In Amarillo, Texas, a judge appointed by former President Donald Trump and a former attorney for a conservative religious-liberty legal group was almost guaranteed to hear that case.

The Supreme Court postponed the verdict and will hear arguments this month. Recent national injunction cases have increased, and Senate Republicans have worked to reduce them, McConnell noted. However, he dubbed the court's new approach “unforced error.”

“I hope they reconsider. I hope district courts nationwide will assess what's best for local jurisdictions, not half-baked 'advice' that pleases Washington Democrats, he said.

Federal court regulator U.S. Judicial Conference adopted the policy. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts preside over 26 judges, 15 of whom were nominated by Republican presidents.

Judge Jeff Sutton, leader of the conference's executive committee and 6th Circuit Court of Appeals judge in Cincinnati, announced it. President Bush appointed Sutton to clerk for late Justice Antonin Scalia. McConnell and Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn and North Carolina Republican Thom Tillis wrote to impacted chief justices that district courts can adopt their own regulations.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin hailed the policy change, saying it would “go a long way to restoring public confidence in judicial rulings.”

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