Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York has filed an ethics complaint against U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell. Howell was the chief judge of the federal court in Washington, D.C. until March of 2023, and is the judge who indicted former President Donald Trump over his actions on January 6 of 2021.
Rep. Stefanik, in her ethics complaint, alleges that Judge Howell engaged in inappropriate political speech that violated her judicial ethics commitment, particularly her attacks on former President Trump and claims that he would bring about fascism in America.
Judge Howell made such remarks about Trump and fascism at the 2023 Women’s White Collar Defense Association Gala, saying that there were “big lies” about January 6 and that such “big lies are springboards for authoritarians.” She added, “We are having a very surprising and downright troubling moment in this country when the very importance of facts is dismissed or ignored.”
Rep. Stefanik then filed an ethics complaint in response, saying, “Judge Howell’s speech is plainly inappropriate, consisting of partisan statements, election interference and improper extrajudicial statements while criminal cases are pending — all barred by Canon 2B.” And, explaining why the complaint was important in a statement to The Hill, she said, “election interference by judges destroys public confidence in the federal judiciary, tears apart the fabric of our Republic and is illegal.”
Howell isn’t the first judge against whom Rep. Stefanik has filed a complaint. She also filed a complaint against Judge Arthur Engoron. Announcing it, she said, “I filed an official judicial complaint against Judge Arthur Engoron for his inappropriate bias and judicial intemperance in New York’s disgraceful lawsuit against President Donald J. Trump and the Trump Organization.”
Continuing, Rep. Stefanik added, “Americans are sick and tired of the blatant corruption by radical Leftist judges in NY. All New Yorkers must speak out against the dangerous weaponized lawfare against President Trump.”
In the complaint itself, she wrote, “I write today to express my serious concerns about the inappropriate bias and judicial intemperance shown by Judge Arthur F. Engoron in New York’s lawsuit against President Donald J. Trump and the Trump Organization. This judge’s bizarre behavior has no place in our judicial system, where Judge Engoron is not honoring the defendant’s rights to due process and a fair trial. These serious concerns are exacerbated by the fact that the defendant is the leading candidate for President of the United States, and it appears the judicial system is being politicized to affect the outcome of the campaign. Simply put, Judge Engoron has displayed a clear judicial bias against the defendant throughout the case, breaking several rules in the New York Code of Judicial Conduct.”
After giving numerous examples of what she claimed were examples of Judge Engoron’s inappropriate conduct, Rep. Stefanik said, “This case is so much bigger than President Donald J. Trump. If Judge Engoron can railroad a billionaire New York businessman, a former President of the United States, and the leading presidential candidate, just imagine what he could do to all New Yorkers. Judge Engoron’s lawlessness sends an ominous and illegal warning to New York business owners: If New York judges don’t like your politics, they will destroy your business, the livelihood of your employees, and you personally. This Commission cannot let this continue. Thank you for your prompt consideration of this judicial complaint against Judge Arthur F. Engoron for his inappropriate bias and judicial intemperance in New York v. Trump (452564/2022).”
Featured image credit: By Office of Congresswoman Elise Stefanik – https://stefanik.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/president-trump-signs-stefanik-initiatives-law-fort-drum, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=77697253
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