Congressmen Want to Halt Nationwide Injunctions by Activist Judges

‘A district court in California should not be given sweeping authority to issue a ruling—let alone on dubious legal reasoning—striking down policy from a duly elected President…’

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(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) Two influential conservative congressmen and Trump allies introduced a bill Wednesday to rein in the activist courts that have constantly hindered President Donald Trump’s agenda with costly legal battles.

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-NC, and Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., unveiled the Nationwide Injunction Abuse Prevention Act in response to a California district court attempting to reinstate an earlier nationwide injunction on President Donald Trump’s immigration policy that was ruled overly broad by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

“[I]t makes zero sense for the legality of a nationwide law to rest entirely on the opinion of one judge, or one district court,” Meadows said in a statement jointly issued by the two Republicans.

“A district court in California should not be given sweeping authority to issue a ruling—let alone on dubious legal reasoning—striking down policy from a duly elected President,” he said.

The decision blocked the Trump administration from moving forward on policies that would require asylum-seeking migrants traveling through Mexico to first seek safe harbor in that country, effectively limiting their ability to claim U.S. refuge simply because it has nicer perks.

Radical activist District Court Judge Jon Tigar, who originally blocked the policy in July following a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union, reinstated the injunction on Monday, but the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately overruled him on Wednesday in a 7-2 decision.

The absurdly partisan intervention by the Obama-appointed Berkeley Law School grad proved a bridge too far for the legislators, however, amid outrage over the nonstop legal obstructions.

Activist groups have used lawsuits to block countless other efforts, from construction of the southern border wall to the defunding of Planned Parenthood.

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“In the past few years, we’ve seen an explosion of activist forum shopping and nationwide injunctions to thwart the administration’s priorities and grind government to a halt,” said Cotton.

Meadows said he recognized the need for laws to be “vigorously vetted” by the courts, but the judicial abuse of power actually undermined the system of jurisprudence that the courts were duty-bound to uphold.

“Current law inadvertently empowers detrimental judicial activism, and it needs to change,” said Meadows, giving partisan benches the benefit of the doubt that their assault on the U.S. Constitution was unintentional. “This is a common-sense reform that returns our system of checks and balances where it was intended to be.”

The new bill would set forth to limit the scope of injunctions to the specific cases and regions that fell within the judges’ jurisdiction.

“This legislation would restore the appropriate role of district court judges by prohibiting them from issuing nationwide injunctions broader than the parties to the case or the geographic boundaries of the federal district in which the judge presides,” said the statement.

Congressional Republicans have attempted previously to block judges from abusing injunctions but have failed to gain traction with their Democratic colleagues.

After now-retired House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., introduced the Injunctive Authority Clarification Act last year with a similar goal in mind, opponents on the Left called it an affront to civil liberties.

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Jerrold Nadler/Photo by Jerry Nadler (CC)

“There are good reasons, of course, to act cautiously before issuing such a broad remedy, but we should not completely dismantle this important tool and risk depriving Americans of the protections they deserve,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-NY.

With Nadler now chairing the House Judiciary Committee, hope of passing meaningful legislation likely faces long-shot odds at best.

U.S. attorneys general William Barr and his predecessor, Jeff Sessions, have both condemned the pernicious practice.

Barr noted in a May speech to the American Law Institute that one of the most egregious abuses was an injunction that prevented Trump from using executive action to end the non-enforcement of underage illegal immigrants known as Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals.

Judges in California and New York forced the reinstatement of the policy, even though former President Barack Obama had originally instated it through executive order and not through the legislative process.

The judges inserting themselves into the political process established a frightening precedent, Barr said.

“[O]nce a district judge forced the Executive Branch to maintain DACA nationwide for the indefinite future, the President lost much of his leverage in negotiating with congressional leaders who wanted him to maintain DACA nationwide for the indefinite future,” he said. “Unsurprisingly, those negotiations did not lead to a deal.”