Civil Action No. 14-435 (CKK)

(April 15, 2014)

On April 10, 2014, Plaintiffs’ Counsel filed a [7] Motion for Reconsideration of the
Court’s April 8, 2014, [4] Order and [5] Memorandum Opinion denying Plaintiffs’ [3] Motion to
Transfer this matter to another district court judge “in light of the ongoing litigation between
Plaintiffs’ counsel and [the undersigned judge].” Pls.’ Mot. to Transfer, at 1. Plaintiffs
challenge the Court’s characterization of Plaintiffs’ Motion to Transfer as a Motion for Recusal
since Plaintiffs did not ask this Court to recuse itself, but moved the Court to transfer the case to
any other consenting judge pursuant to Local Civil Rule 57.13(a). Pls.’ Mot. for
Reconsideration, at 2. While Local Civil Rule 57.13(a) permits a judge “upon written advice to
the Calendar and Case Management Committee . . . [to] transfer directly all or part of any case
on the judge’s docket to any consenting judge,” the transferring judge should have a reason for
reassigning the case to another judge. In their Motion for Reconsideration, Plaintiffs argue that
this matter should be reassigned because Plaintiffs’ Counsel is “embroiled in heated litigation
with [the undersigned judge]” “plac[ing] [the undersigned judge] in a clear conflict of interest . .
. .” Id. at 2-3. Plaintiffs ascribe personal animus to the undersigned judge based on their
Case 1:14-cv-00435-CKK Document 10 Filed 04/15/14 Page 1 of 3

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assumption that the undersigned judge would harbor animus due to Plaintiffs’ Counsel’s lawsuit
against her.
However, Plaintiffs point to no evidence of any such animus towards Plaintiffs’
Counsel or the parties and so rely on a non-existent personal bias. The genesis of Plaintiffs’
Counsel’s lawsuit against the undersigned judge is legal rulings made by the undersigned judge
in two cases in which Plaintiffs’ Counsel was involved: Sataki v. Broadcasting Board of
Governors, No. 10-534 (D.D.C. filed Apr. 2, 2010) and Klayman v. Judicial Watch, Inc., No. 06-
670 (D.D.C. filed Apr. 12, 2006). In both of these cases, Plaintiffs’ Counsel’s motions to
disqualify the undersigned judge on the basis that her legal rulings were motivated by personal
bias against Plaintiffs’ Counsel were denied. In addition to naming the undersigned judge as a
defendant, Plaintiffs’ Counsel’s lawsuit also names former Chief J udge David Sentelle of the
D.C. Circuit, the J udicial Council of the D.C. Circuit, and the Office of the Circuit Executive as
defendants. Plaintiffs’ Counsel’s lawsuit was dismissed by J udge Richard J . Leon. Klayman v.
Kollar-Kotelly, 892 F.Supp.2d 261, 264 (D.D.C. 2012). The Court of Appeals for the District of
Columbia Circuit affirmed J udge Leon’s dismissal on May 20, 2013. 2013 WL 2395909 (D.C.
Cir. May 20, 2013).
Plaintiffs also argue that the undersigned judge “harbors an animus against [Plaintiffs’
Counsel] for his legal activism which is seen as conservative and which has taken on a president,
Bill Clinton, who appointed J udge Kotelly to the federal bench.” Pls.’ Mot. for Reconsideration,
at 3. Courts have regularly rejected the theory that appointment by a particular president,
without more, is sufficient to create an appearance of impartiality. See Karim-Panahi v. U.S.
Congress, 105 Fed.Appx. 270, 274-275 (D.D.C. 2004) (affirming lower court’s denial of motion
for recusal based on allegations that the judge was “biased because of her ‘political-religious
connections’ and her alleged loyalty to those who selected, confirmed and appointed her”); see
also MacDraw, Inc. v.CIT Grp. Equip. Fin., Inc., 138 F.3d 33, 38 (2d Cir. 1998), cert. denied,
525 U.S. 874 (1998) (Plaintiff’s allegation that “a judge is not impartial solely because an
attorney is embroiled in a controversy with the administration that appointed the judge” is
insufficient grounds for recusal). Even when the President responsible for nominating the judge
is actually a party to the litigation, courts have held that recusal is not warranted. See, e.g., In re
Executive Office of President, 215 F.3d 25, 25 (D.C. Cir. 2000).
Case 1:14-cv-00435-CKK Document 10 Filed 04/15/14 Page 2 of 3

Plaintiffs’ Motion for Reconsideration cites a series of state court cases and one federal
court case in which a judge’s recusal from presiding over a matter was found to be appropriate.
These cases—along with the one federal court case Plaintiffs cite from the Northern District of
Ohio—have no precedential value or are inapposite. Plaintiffs also challenge this Court’s
reliance on In re Taylor, 417 F.3d 649 (7th Cir. 2005), where a district court judge refused to
recuse himself despite the fact that the defendant had previously filed a lawsuit against the judge.
Plaintiffs argue that this Court erroneously relied on In re Taylor because the lawsuit filed
against the Taylor judge was factually distinct from the lawsuit filed by Plaintiffs’ Counsel
against the undersigned judge. This Court, however, did not rely on In re Taylor for the specific
facts of that case, but for the general proposition that “[t]here is no rule that requires a judge to
recuse himself from a case, civil or criminal, simply because he was or is involved in litigation
with one of the parties” since such a rule would “allow litigants to judge shop.” Taylor, 417 F.3d
at 652. This Court, as have many courts in other circuits, agrees that such a rule would
encourage counsel and litigants to file complaints and/or lawsuits in order to disqualify a judge
who had ruled adversely to counsel and/or parties on legal matters.
As Plaintiffs have presented no evidence of an alleged judicial bias, the Court finds that
there is no reason to transfer this case to another district court judge. Accordingly, it is, this 15th
day of April, hereby
ORDERED that Plaintiffs’ [7] Motion for Reconsideration is DENIED.
United States District J udge
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