William Barr the Attorney General has taken another leaf from Donald Trump’s book as he railed against the judges who has issued rulings that will block the nationwide policies.
Barr decided to make the broad judicial power his target on Tuesday during his speech. He argued that federal judges who have issued the nationwide injunctions are really hampering what the president is trying to do with immigration, health care and other issues with absolutely “no clear end in sight.”
This is the latest example of William Barr moving to embrace the political talking points of President Donald Trump. The office of the Attorney General is traditionally expected to carry out the agenda of the president, as a member of the Cabinet while consistently trying to avoid political bias. Barr has been criticized by the Democrats as an attorney general who acts more like the personal lawyer of Trump than chief law enforcement officer for the nation.
At a re-election rally earlier this month, Trump railed against “activist judges who issue nationwide injunctions based on their personal beliefs,” which he said “undermine democracy and threaten the rule of law.”
Administration officials have often complained about the proliferation of nationwide injunctions since Trump became president. Vice President Mike Pence said a few weeks ago that the administration intends to challenge the right of federal district courts to issue such rulings.
“The legal community and the broader public should be more concerned, particularly about this trend of nationwide injunctions,” Barr said.
The Justice Department, under former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, argued that the Obama administration acted unlawfully when it implemented DACA. Texas and other Republican-led states eventually sued and won a partial victory in a federal court in Texas. Civil rights groups, advocates for immigrants and Democratic-led states all have sued to prevent the end of the program. A three-judge panel of the federal appeals court in San Francisco ruled that the administration decision to end DACA was arbitrary and capricious.
In the words of Barr, Trump has “lost much of his leverage” in the negotiations with the congressional Democrats, who were pushing for a permanent solution for DACA recipients, this after a district court judge issued an order which would force the administration to maintain the nationwide program. “Unsurprisingly, those negotiations did not lead to a deal,” Barr said.
Barr, in his speech to the American Law Institute, argued it isn’t about partisanship, however the approach taken by judges who issue these nationwide rulings departs not only from the limitations of the Constitution and also from the “traditional understanding of the role of courts.” According to Barr, The Justice Department will continue to oppose such rulings.
“Nationwide injunctions not only allow district courts to wield unprecedented power, they also allow district courts to wield it asymmetrically,” Barr said.