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Some 150 Days Later, Complaint Against Judge Starr Remains in Abeyance for Silly Reasons

On Aug. 15, 2023, Fix the Court filed a complaint against N.D. Texas Judge Brantley Starr for requiring three Southwest Airlines attorneys to attend “religious liberty training” by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a partisan, sectarian organization.

The complaint asserts that “under no circumstances should a sectarian organization such as ADF, or any sectarian organization of any faith, be responsible for carrying out any aspect of attorney sanctions.” It continues:

“Of course, ‘training’ can at times be a fair sanction, especially in the realm of ethics, so it’s worth considering the various examples of court-mandated training Judge Starr cites in his order […]. As you can see, not one is religion-based, underscoring the unprecedented nature of the sanction.”

The problem is that the Fifth Circuit, per its rules on judicial conduct proceedings, will not consider the complaint until the underlying litigation is completed. Judge Starr is a district court judge, meaning this has to go through the appeals stage at the Fifth Circuit and possibly at the Supreme Court.

In other words, we’re nowhere near the end of the case (which was first filed in Aug. 2017), and it’ll be months, if not years, before the complaint will be adjudicated. In the meantime, it’s possible that more judges will assign more “trainings” to be conducted by sectarian groups — not a good situation.

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