Atty. Gen. Barr slams federal judges for abusing ‘unprecedented power’

by WorldTribune Staff, May 22, 2019

Unelected federal judges are taking advantage of “unprecedented power” to block President Donald Trump’s policies, Attorney General William Barr said on May 21.

“One judge can, in effect, cancel the policy with the stroke of the pen,” Barr said in a speech to the American Law Institute.

President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr. / DOJ

“No official in the United States government can exercise that kind of nationwide power, with the sole exception of the president,” Barr said. “And the Constitution subjects him to nationwide election, among other constitutional checks, as a prerequisite to wielding that power.”

Earlier this month, Vice President Mike Pence announced the Trump administration intends to seek to end the authority of district judges to order nationwide injunctions.

In his May 21 speech, Barr detailed some of the Trump policies blocked by the courts, including the travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries, the transgender military service ban and efforts to wind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

DACA, Barr said, is emblematic of the problems caused by federal court injunctions.

“Unless the court acts quickly and decisively, we are unlikely to see a decision before mid-2020 at the earliest — that is, right before the next presidential election,” Barr said. “It is hard to imagine a clearer example of the stakes of nationwide injunctions.”

Barr added that the injunctions were brought because opponents of the Trump administration shopped for the most favorable forum to bring their case.

“Rather than an orderly pattern of litigation in which the government loses some cases and wins others, with issues percolating their way through the appellate courts, we have an inter-district battle fought with all-or-nothing injunctions,” he said.

In a May 21 report for The Washington Times, Jeff Mordock, noted that “Barr pointed the finger squarely at the American Law Institute for contributing to the problem. He blamed a 2010 commentary it published saying individual cases are the same as aggregate litigation because in both cases the relief would apply to one or several individuals. That’s wrong, Barr said, because it ignores prior legal precedent.”


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