Conservative states are succeeding in getting friendly federal judges to issue broad—often nationwide—injunctions reining in federal government actions, thwarting key parts of President Barack Obama’s agenda and imperiling some aspects of Hillary Clinton’s platform.
The tactic—amplified by the 4-4 deadlock in the Supreme Court—has already frozen Obama’s immigration policy, is limiting his efforts to protect transgender rights and could hamstring Clinton’s planned executive actions on immigration, labor and environmental issues if she wins the White House.
The shorthanded Supreme Court is expected to start adding new cases to its docket as soon as Thursday, with the new term set to open Monday. But many legal experts say that if the high court remains split down the middle on key issues, the more important action will be in the lower courts, where the red-state-led onslaught is playing out..
In its waning days, the Obama administration is continuing to push back against the conservative legal assault, with the Justice Department repeatedly opposing nationwide injunctions and pressing judges to rein in their rulings.
“With so many conservative judges being called on to rule against second-term Obama administration actions, it has become white hot, this issue of judges’ discretion to issue nationwide relief,” said Jamison Colburn, a Penn State law professor and former Environmental Protection Agency lawyer. “It has become a complete slugfest.”
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