Two federal judges appointed by former Democrat President Barack Obama blocked funding for President Donald Trump’s border wall and a “heartbeat” abortion bill in Mississippi on Friday.
“U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam in Oakland, Calif., said President Trump’s plans to divert federal money to build a border wall, absent appropriations from Congress, exceeded the executive’s authority,” The Wall Street Journal reported. “The judge issued a preliminary injunction that blocks the administration from proceeding on projects slated for immediate construction.”
“If and when the Trump administration announces additional projects at the border, the challengers in the case—environmentalists and southern border community organizations—can come back to court and seek an injunction against those as well,” the Journal added. “The ruling is the first of its kind on the issue. Several other border-wall cases are pending around the country, including one in Washington, D.C., where the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives is suing the Trump administration.”
The announcement came after U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves issued an injunction on Friday blocking Mississippi’s “heartbeat” abortion law.
“Reeves’ order will combine the lawsuit against Mississippi’s fetal heartbeat ban with an ongoing one against the state’s previous 15-week abortion ban,” the Clarion-Ledger reported. “Attorneys for the state — and political leaders including Gov. Phil Bryant — argue Mississippi has an interest in protecting unborn children.”
“Here we go again,” Reeves wrote. “Mississippi has passed another law banning abortions prior to viability. The latest interpretation bans abortions in Mississippi after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is as early as 6 weeks.”
These rulings come after Attorney General William Barr warned earlier this week that judges who are acting as activists are a major threat to the U.S.
Barr made the remarks in a speech on Tuesday to the American Law Institute, where he slammed judges over their “improper use of nationwide injunctions against policies of all stripes,” noting that it gives them “unprecedented power.”
“Nationwide injunctions not only allow district courts to wield unprecedented power, they also allow district courts to wield it asymmetrically. When a court denies a nationwide injunction, the decision does not affect other cases. But when a court grants a nationwide injunction, it renders all other litigation on the issue largely irrelevant,” Barr said. “Think about what that means for the Government. When Congress passes a statute or the President implements a policy that is challenged in multiple courts, the Government has to run the table—we must win every case. The challengers, however, must find only one district judge—out of an available 600—willing to enter a nationwide injunction. One judge can, in effect, cancel the policy with the stroke of the pen.”
“No official in the United States government can exercise that kind of nationwide power, with the sole exception of the President,” Barr added. “And the Constitution subjects him to nationwide election, among other constitutional checks, as a prerequisite to wielding that power. Even the Chief Justice of the United States must convince at least four of his colleagues to bind the Federal Government nationwide.”
Read Barr’s full speech here.