On Wednesday, August 16, 2023, CT Insider reported that a complaint was filed against U.S. District Judge Brantley Starr by court watchdog group Fix the Court, criticizing his decision to order “religious-liberty training” for three Southwest Airlines lawyers.

The punishment was imposed on the attorneys for not fully complying with the judge’s orders in a case involving speech about abortion. Fix the Court, which primarily focuses on monitoring the U.S. Supreme Court, filed a judicial misconduct petition with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeal in New Orleans, calling Judge Starr’s choice of training conducted by a Christian legal advocacy group “strange and unprecedented.”

The executive director of Fix the Court, Gabe Roth, expressed concern over the judge’s selection of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) to conduct the day-long training. ADF is a conservative organization known for representing clients who oppose abortion, same-sex marriages, and transgender rights. While Roth acknowledged that ethics training would have been acceptable, he criticized the judge for ordering training associated with a specific faith, stating that it sets a dangerous precedent. Roth further argued that Judge Starr should face sanctions for what he deemed to be a poor judgment call.

The judge’s decision to order the training came after Southwest Airlines modified the language of a notice that he had mandated for distribution to employees regarding the legal prohibition against religious discrimination. Southwest, headquartered in Dallas, has appealed both the sanctions order and the trial verdict favoring the fired flight attendant. Initially, a jury had awarded her $5.1 million from Southwest and her union, but Judge Starr reduced the amount to approximately $800,000.

Brantley Starr was nominated by former President Donald Trump in 2019 to serve as a federal judge. The complaint lodged by Fix the Court highlights concerns over the judge’s choice of religious training and raises questions about the potential implications of such a decision.

 

Source: CT Insider