(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik has a new hobby, and it’s not pickle ball. Instead the New York Republican, who chairs the House Republican Conference, has taken up filing performative judicial complaints against jurists who are mean to Trump.

Last month, she whined to the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct about Justice Arthur Engoron, who is presiding over Trump’s civil fraud trial in New York. Naturally the complaint, which Stefanik fed to the media, included the name of the judge’s law clerk, who has suffered an avalanche of antisemitic threats and harassment. Because if there’s one person in Congress who cares about antisemitism, it’s Elise Stefanik.

Yesterday Congressional Karen was back at it with a complaint about Judge Beryl Howell of the US District Court in DC.

“I write today to express my serious concerns about, and request an ethics investigation of, DC U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell for her highly inappropriate political speech she gave last month, at which she suggested reelecting President Trump will lead to fascism in America,” she huffed in a letter addressed to DC Circuit Chief Judge Sri Srinivasan.

Stefanik is GRRRR SO MAD that Judge Howell got an award on November 27, 2023 from the Women’s White Collar Defense Association. Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch served as master of ceremonies and Judge Howell was introduced by Obama White House Counsel Kathy Ruemmler, who said nice things about her. Plus Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco shared the honor with the judge, so obviously, this is evidence of judicial misconduct.

This is a real quote:

Lynch, Ruemmler, Monaco (the senior DOJ official prosecuting January 6 cases), and Judge Howell (overseeing January 6 cases) even huddled and wrapped their arms around each other on stage, to applause and with dramatic music playing, as Judge Howell received her “champion award.” They repeated this after Monaco received hers.

Was Judge Howell supposed to spit on her fellow attendees to demonstrate non-partisanship? What is even happening here?

Stefanik is also pissed that Judge Howell warned against the creeping tide of fascism and discussed historian Heather Cox Richardson’s recent book about the rising dangers of authoritarianism in America and said nice things about former Acting AG Sally Yates. How dare she!

“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 [Judicial] Canon 2B,” she fumed. “Judge Howell promoted the Democrat political campaign theme that the re-election of Donald Trump equates to America choosing authoritarianism. This is conduct unbecoming of a federal judge.”

Surely the Congresswoman will be cosponsoring a Supreme Court ethics resolution any time now.

Oh, and PS, no, Stefanik is not on the House Judiciary Committee. She just does this shit for clout.


Liz Dye lives in Baltimore where she writes the Law and Chaos Substack.

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