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Are national injunctions creating ‘judge shopping’? Debating their use and legality




Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson gives a press conference asking a federal judge to block US President Donald Trump's revised travel ban by affirming an order blocking the first ban, in Seattle, Washington on March 9, 2017.
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson gives a press conference asking a federal judge to block US President Donald Trump's revised travel ban by affirming an order blocking the first ban, in Seattle, Washington on March 9, 2017.
JASON REDMOND/AFP/Getty Images

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In 2015, it was a Texas federal judge who blocked then President Barack Obama’s plans to expand DACA and implement DAPA using a national injunction. Last week, a San Francisco federal judge also issued a nationwide injunction to temporarily block President Donald Trump’s move to end DACA.

The latter has once again sparked arguments concerning the legality of using local cases to halt national orders, and whether or not these injunctions have become a partisan tool to diminish an impartial judiciary.

Until the Obama and Trump administrations, national injunctions had been used sparingly. But in the last 10 years, federal judges have hampered executive actions of the presidency on policies ranging from overtime pay, to transgender rights, to recent travel bans and more.

Because there exists no clear rule for either authorizing or prohibiting the use of such injunctions, legal scholars have become increasingly split. Some argue the injunctions are unconstitutional and create “judge shopping” among lawyers who will seek after politically sympathetic judges for their cases. Others say universal injunctions offer necessary benefits to ensure complete remedies to a plaintiff.

We hear from experts on both sides.

Guests:

Howard M. Wasserman, professor of law at Florida International University; his expertise includes civil procedure, federal courts and civil rights

Amanda Frost, professor of law at American University and director of its SJD program; her expertise includes civil procedure, federal courts and immigration