Clinton-Appointed Judge Denies Trump Request to Recuse in Hillary Suit Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump (AP)
By Jack Gournell | Thursday, 07 April 2022 04:23 PM
A federal judge appointed by former President Bill Clinton on Thursday denied a request from former President Donald Trump to recuse himself in his lawsuit against his 2016 presidential rival Hillary Clinton.
In the five-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks says he has never met the Clintons and hinted that Trump was judge-shopping, the Daily Mail reports.
"Every federal judge is appointed by a president who is affiliated with a major political party, and, therefore, every federal judge could theoretically be viewed as beholden, to some extent or another," Middlebrooks wrote.
"As judges, we must all transcend politics."
He said his only connection to Bill Clinton is when he appointed him to the bench.
Trump sued Clinton and several other Democrats in March, saying they framed him and accused him and his 2016 campaign of colluding with Russia.
The case was assigned to Middlebrooks, who was nominated by President Clinton in 1997 to the Southern District of the Florida federal court.
Middlebrooks noted in his ruling that all judges could be considered to have political backgrounds simply by virtue of their appointments, but lacking any evidence to the contrary that he should be considered impartial. He added that judges do have a responsibility to recuse themselves if there are any grounds for a claim of partiality, but they also had a duty not to step aside if the complaints were simply being made as part of "litigation strategies" — known more popularly as judge shopping.
The judge's order was a response to a motion filed Monday by Trump's attorneys Alina Habba and Peter Ticktin.
"There is no question that Judge Middlebrooks' impartiality would be questioned by a disinterested observer, fully informed of the facts, due to Judge's relationship with the Defendant, either, individually, or by the very nature of his appointment to the Federal Bench, by the Defendant's husband. The most important issue is not simply that justice must be done, but also that justice must appear to be done. This could not be more important in a case like the above styled cause, where wrongs in regard to a presidential election are to be redressed," the motion read.