Democrats Continue Partisan Attacks On Federal Judiciary

‘This will have no practical effect in the venues favored by liberal activists, but Democrats are salivating at the possibility of shutting down access to justice in the venues favored by conservatives.’

WASHINGTON, D.C.U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding national injunctions:

“I’d like to speak briefly on a practice in our nation’s courts that has confounded administrations of both parties with increasing frequency over the past decade – the issuance of nationwide injunctions.

“Time after time, district judges will respond to a case challenging a federal law by preventing its application not just to the parties before them or within their jurisdictions, but nationwide.

“During the last Administration, Attorneys General Sessions and Barr issued policy and litigation guidance on the issue to try and pare it back. Senator Cotton introduced a bill to eliminate the practice by statute. And Chairman Graham was eager to move the Cotton bill.

“But Senate Democrats were not. In fact, their star witness in support of nationwide injunctions is now a federal judge in the District of Columbia.

“Rather than working with Republicans to eliminate a practice that gores the oxen of both parties, it turns out our colleagues preferred to preserve it just for themselves.

“Now that nationwide injunctions are being used against the Biden Administration, liberal allies in the academy and the media have started to target ‘single judge divisions,’ where they think conservative plaintiffs are likely to get favorable rulings from sympathetic judges.

“The Democratic Leader even wrote to the Judicial Conference demanding action against the scourge of judges who don’t rule in favor of the Biden Administration. In other words, he urged the conference to keep the injunctions and just restrict access to conservative judges.

“Well, it seems the Judicial Conference took the bait. On Tuesday, they instructed district courts to assign all cases seeking to invalidate state or federal law randomly across the district in which they were brought.

“This will have no practical effect in the venues favored by liberal activists, but Democrats are salivating at the possibility of shutting down access to justice in the venues favored by conservatives.

“What will this do in practice? It means a young woman challenging Texas’s abortion laws in Austin can now be forced for no good reason to have her case heard in El Paso. A veteran defending his Second Amendment rights in Youngstown can be sent to Toledo to have his day in court.

“In Kentucky, a coal miner challenging labor regulations in London could find his case handed to a judge in Covington.

“All to prevent so-called ‘judge shopping.’

“But, Mr. President, didn’t Chief Justice Roberts say, quote, ‘there are not Obama judges or Trump judges’? What, exactly, is the problem that demands such a drastic solution? 

“Here’s what this policy won’t do: it won’t solve the issues caused by nationwide injunctions. If Democrats are right about the practical effects of this policy, any remaining incentive they have to work with Republicans on this issue will vanish.

“‘Nationwide injunctions for me, but not for thee’.

“And, needless to say, if Republicans see a federal judiciary that is using its procedural independence to wade into political disputes, any incentive we may have to defend that procedural independence will vanish, as well.

“This was an unforced error by the Judicial Conference. I hope they will reconsider. And I hope district courts throughout the country will instead weigh what is best for their jurisdictions, not half-baked 'guidance' that just does Washington Democrats’ bidding.”


Related Issues: Judicial Nominations