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Cotton, Meadows Introduce Bill to Stop Judicial Injunction Abuse

September 11, 2019

Contact Caroline Tabler or James Arnold (202) 224-2353

Washington, D.C. - Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Congressman Mark Meadows (R-North Carolina) today introduced the Nationwide Injunction Abuse Prevention Act, a bill to put an end to nationwide injunctions and prevent lawful policy changes from being blocked based on the activist agendas of individual, unaccountable district court judges.

The bill follows a decision earlier this week by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California that reinstated a nationwide ban on enforcement of the Trump administration's new asylum rules, defying a ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that the district court's nationwide injunction was overly broad. It should not require an often-lengthy appeals process to correct unlawful injunctions that should never have been issued in the first place. This legislation would restore the appropriate role of district court judges by prohibiting them from issuing nationwide injunctions broader than the parties to the case or the geographic boundaries of the federal district in which the judge presides. With the new change, lawful administration policy changes would no longer hinge on the opinion of one unelected judge.

"Policy decisions ought to be made by elected representatives accountable to the American people, not activist judges with lifetime appointments. In the past few years, we've seen an explosion of activist forum shopping and nationwide injunctions to thwart the administration's priorities and grind government to a halt. This bill will restore respect for the system of government outlined in the Constitution by limiting the use of nationwide injunctions by district court judges," said Cotton.

"Our laws need to be vigorously vetted through the courts, but it makes zero sense for the legality of a nationwide law to rest entirely on the opinion of one judge, or one district court," Rep. Meadows said. "A district court in California should not be given sweeping authority to issue a ruling-let alone on dubious legal reasoning-striking down policy from a duly elected President. Current law inadvertently empowers detrimental judicial activism, and it needs to change. This is a common-sense reform that returns our system of checks and balances where it was intended to be. I want to thank Senator Cotton for joining me in the effort," said Meadows.