Attorney General Barr Rails Against Activist Judges Blocking Trump’s Agenda
In a speech at the American Law Institute on Tuesday, Attorney General William Barr said that district courts should not be able to overrule the American people with nationwide injunctions against the agenda of the President. Noting that federal judges have now issued nearly 40 national injunctions against Trump, Barr said it was an unprecedented example of just how powerful the Judicial Branch had become.
“One judge can, in effect, cancel the policy with the stroke of a pen,” Barr lamented. “No official in the United States government can exercise that kind of nationwide power, with the sole exception of the President. And the Constitution subjects him to nationwide election, among other constitutional checks, as a prerequisite to wielding that power.”
To highlight how extreme the problem has become in the Trump era, he drew a comparison between the president and his predecessor.
“Since President Trump took office, federal district courts have issued 37 nationwide injunctions against the Executive Branch,” Barr said. “That’s more than one a month. By comparison, during President Obama’s first two years, district courts issued two nationwide injunctions against the Executive Branch, both of which were vacated by the Ninth Circuit.”
But, he said, even that startling statistic didn’t tell the whole story. It is not until you realize that in the whole of the 20th century, federal judges issued only 27 nationwide injunctions that you can fully appreciate how biased the courts are against President Trump.
“Some say this proves that the Trump administration is lawless,” Barr acknowledged. “Not surprisingly, I disagree.”
There is good reason for his disagreement. One, many of these injunctions have later been overturned at a higher judicial level. Two, even if there were valid legal concerns about some of Trump’s orders, it is not up to a single federal judge to decide the law for the nation. Particularly since, as Barr noted, these judges will never have to answer to voters for their decisions. In fact, in the absence of something extraordinary like impeachment or disbarment, they’ll never have to answer to anyone. This is how judges can sit the bench for years, making one terrible, unconstitutional ruling after another.
And finally, anyone with half a brain can see that in many of these cases, the activist groups suing the administration don’t even have proper standing. Their cases should be thrown out on that basis alone.
At the end of the day, liberal courts have been co-opted as the most importance avenue of “Resistance” by Trump’s enemies. This has perverted the role of the courts, trivialized the importance of meaningful litigation, and has threatened to steal power from both the Executive and Legislative branches. Judicial supremacy is a backwards, un-democratic concept even when it comes from the Supreme Court. From a lower federal court, it is an insult to the Constitution itself.