Sessions Takes On Activist Judges: It's About Time
I've written about the overreach of the federal judiciary in this space often -- here and here -- so it's great to finally see the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, doing something about it. At this point, it's just a lawsuit, but at least it's a warning shot over the heads not only of rogue judges but of rogue states like California who seem hell-bent on forcing a constitutional crisis:
Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Saturday slammed “activist judges,” whom he accused of overreaching and paralyzing the government by shutting down Trump-era policies they object to via nationwide injunctions. At a Federalist Society event at Georgetown University, Sessions blasted judges who have shut down controversial Trump-era policies such as denying funding for so-called “sanctuary cities” and repealing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
“The court is not superior; the court does not get to have the final word in every dispute, give me a break,” he said.
He said the vehicle of choice for "activist judges" is nationwide injunctions -- orders that block the federal government from enforcing a law or policy across the entire country. "It would be fitting to call them nonparty injunctions or limitless injunctions, since they bind all of America and grant relief to those who are not parties to the case," he said.
The words in bold above are crucial: the courts do not, in fact, have the final say in every political dispute; if they did, we would be ruled by little more than a berobed, unelected oligarchy. Congress, in fact, has constitutional oversight of every federal court in the land except the Supreme Court, and could abolish the lot of them tomorrow if it so wishes.
As for California and the Democrats, I wrote in a recent American Greatness column:
The very least we should expect from one of the two major political parties is a minimal pretense of upholding the laws of the United States. After all, that is what our elected representatives and judges swear to do when they take office. And yet, as things stand now, this isn’t a sure bet. As President Trump attempts to reassert American national sovereignty through the simple expedient of enforcing current immigration laws, the Democratic Party has decided to thwart him at every turn, primarily via its control of the lesser federal judiciary. It’s a move they’ll come to regret.
Take for example, the recent ruling by two federal judges that Trump has no right to countermand an executive order issued by his predecessor regarding the lifelong illegal aliens and non-American citizens the Left has touchingly decided to sentimentalize as “Dreamers.”
The first “order”—as if a federal judge, whose entire job both in its creation and in its continuance, is dependent on Congress’s power under Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution, has any authority to interfere with the proper functioning of the executive branch—blocked the president from ending the “DACA” program, which had been conjured into existence via Barack Obama’s pen and phone back in the founding prehistory of 2012. The second order, issued just the other day, took issue with Trump’s reasoning and motive behind his executively ordered end to the executively ordered program; “arbitrary and capricious,” opined the solon regarding Attorney General Jeff Session’s defense of the order.
The administration’s proper response to this latest judicial power grab should be to echo Andrew Jackson’s possibly apocryphal but apposite retort to the chief justice back in 1832: “John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it!” (Although I prefer Alec Baldwin’s rejoinder to Ed Harris in “Glengarry, Glen Ross“.)