President Trump is moving forward with a plan that would limit the power of judges to dictate national policy.
The administration is looking for ways to challenge the judicial tyranny of lower level federal judges in deciding on national injunctions, with Vice President Pence addressing the issue on Wednesday.
The authority of federal district court judges to issue national injunctions, which have previously halted policies that have been advocated by the president, is being targeted by the administration, The Hill reported.
Pence argued at an event hosted by the Federalist Society on Wednesday that the nationwide injunctions “prevent the executive branch from acting, compromising our national security by obstructing the lawful ability of the president to stop threats to the homeland where he sees them.”
“Nationwide injunctions undermine the rule of law and separation of powers.” @VP Michael R. Pence #FedSocEvents pic.twitter.com/KwVzErSaJ3
— Federalist Society (@FedSoc) May 8, 2019
The vice president revealed that the Trump administration will be moving ahead to find ways to get the issue before the U.S. Supreme Court “to ensure that decisions affecting every American are made either by those elected to represent the American people or by the highest court in the land.”
Earlier today I told @FedSoc: Nationwide injunctions, issued by federal judges, undermine the rule of law & the separation of powers at the heart of our Constitution. For the sake of our liberty, our security, & our prosperity: This era of judicial activism must come to an end. pic.twitter.com/LMdrU1kkch
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) May 9, 2019
“So I say to all those gathered here: For the sake of our liberty, our security, our prosperity and the separation of powers, this era of judicial activism must come to an end,” Pence said. “The Supreme Court of the United States must clarify that district judges can decide no more than the cases before them.”
On several occasions, Trump has seen national injunctions against some of his policies – including the controversial travel ban – reversed as the Supreme Court has upheld his move.
“It’s remarkable to think a Supreme Court justice has to convince four of their colleagues to uphold an injunction, but a single district court judge can issue one, effectively preventing the duly elected president of the United States from fulfilling what he believes is a constitutional duty,” the vice president said.
“This obstruction at the district level is unprecedented,” Pence added.
He quoted Justice Clarence Thomas from the majority opinion last June upholding the travel ban, in which he argued that courts “have begun imposing universal injunctions without considering their authority to grant such sweeping relief.”
“These injunctions are beginning to take a toll on the federal court system—preventing legal questions from percolating through the federal courts, encouraging forum shopping, and making every case a national emergency for the courts and for the Executive Branch,” Thomas wrote.
“I am skeptical that district courts have the authority to enter universal injunctions. These injunctions did not emerge until a century and a half after the founding. And they appear to be inconsistent with longstanding limits on equitable relief and the power of Article III courts,” he added. “If their popularity continues, this Court must address their legality.”
While activists have argued in favor of the injunctions, citing the protection of those who would allegedly be harmed by the proposed policies, critics echo Thomas’s view that federal judges are overstepping their authority – and usually in a political move against the president.
See Vice President Pence’s remarks in the Federalist Society video below:
(Video: YouTube/The Federalist Society)
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