Since President Donald Trump took office, federal judges have issued dozens of national injunctions to stop some of the administration’s most divisive policies from taking effect.
In the best-known example, judges blocked a series of travel bans against immigrants from certain Muslim-majority countries. Other immigration-related injunctions stymied Trump’s efforts to withhold funds from sanctuary cities and, more recently, blocked the administration’s “public charge” rule. The rule, which would have taken effect Oct. 15, aims to make it harder for immigrants to get visas if they are deemed likely to use public assistance programs.
The injunctions have rankled critics who claim the courts are overstepping their judicial authority and issuing the orders as a partisan weapon. At least 40 of the wide-reaching injunctions have been issued to halt Trump administration policies, while Obama only faced half that number during his two terms as president, U.S. Attorney General William Barr said in a September op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.
While the Trump administration has been slapped with a record number of the controversial court orders, there’s nothing inherently partisan about national or nationwide injunctions, as they’re often called, said University of Colorado Law Professor Suzette Malveaux during a talk titled “National Injunctions: Judges Gone Wild or Just Doing Their Jobs?” on Nov. 6.
“What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” Malveaux said during the CU Law Talks lecture at Polsinelli in Denver. She said federal orders were also issued, albeit less frequently, to stop several Obama policies from taking effect, including a policy requiring public schools to let transgender students use bathrooms that fit their gender identity.