Rep. DeLay: Hypocrisy on Parade as Indicted Former Majority Leader Seeks a Friendlier Judge, Different Court to Hear His Case

Oct. 25, 2005

Rep. DeLay: Hypocrisy on Parade as Indicted Former Majority Leader Seeks a Friendlier Judge, Different Court to Hear His Case

Texas Congressman Voted Against “Forum Shopping,” But When He’s the One in Trouble, He Thinks It’s Just Fine for Him

WASHINGTON, D.C.   – Rep. Tom DeLay, the indicted former majority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, thinks he should be able to shop around to find a judge and court more friendly to his case.  

But not so for the rest of America, DeLay believes.

When DeLay made his initial court appearance in Texas on Oct. 21, his arraignment on conspiracy and money laundering charges was delayed pending a hearing on his request for a new judge and a different court in a more hospitable county. The Texas congressman’s attorney questioned the fairness of the judge assigned to DeLay’s case.

Yet last Feb. 17, DeLay voted in favor of Senate Bill 5, which became Public Law 109-2 and restricts the ability to file class action lawsuits. A major argument for the bill, signed into law by President Bush, was to prevent so-called “forum shopping,” in which parties to litigation seek to steer their cases to judges or courts thought likely to provide more favorable treatment. But its real purpose was to take away many rights from consumers as well. Forum shopping is exactly what DeLay is now seeking with his request for a new judge and court.

“DeLay’s action shows the depths of his ethical depravity and arrogance,” said Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook. “He’s quite happy to restrict the rights of ordinary Americans who want to seek justice in the courts. But when he’s the one in trouble, all of a sudden, it’s a different story. Behavior like this is a big reason Americans have become so cynical about their elected officials.”

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