U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions instructed Department of Justice lawyers in a memo Thursday to resist the nationwide injunctions issued by federal judges that have hindered or halted some of the Trump administration’s signature policies, including the border separation of families and various travel bans.
Sessions stated in an official press release accompanying the memo that the guidance would help standardize the reasoning litigators use when arguing against injunctions.
“The Constitution does not grant to a single district judge the power to veto executive branch actions with respect to parties not before the court,” Sessions said in the release. “Nor does it provide the judiciary with authority to conduct oversight of or review policy of the executive branch.”
Sessions argued that his motivation was not partisan, but aimed at maintaining the traditional balance of power in the U.S. government.
“Increasingly, we are seeing individual federal district judges go beyond the parties before the court to give injunctions or orders that block the entire federal government from enforcing a law or policy throughout the country. This kind of judicial activism did not happen a single time in our first 175 years as a nation, but it has become common in recent years.”
Sessions specifically instructed government lawyers to argue that nationwide junctions violate constitutional limits on judicial power, stop other courts from debating the law, have no basis in judicial history, and interfere with judgments from the legislative and executive branches.