March 23, 2022

Judge or Legislator?

In cases involving the Trump administration, Judge Jackson blurred the lines between the judicial branch and legislative branch

In cases involving the Trump administration, Judge Jackson blurred the lines between the judicial branch and legislative branch – making highly political decisions beyond her authority. However, she frequently deferred to decisions made by the Obama administration. 

Disregarding the text and plain meaning of the law, Judge Jackson issued an unusual nationwide injunction to prevent the Trump administration from deporting illegal immigrants 
  • Congress granted the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) the “sole and unreviewable” discretion to determine whether illegal immigrants should be subject to expedited removal (See 8 U.S.C. § 1225(b)(1)(A)(iii)) 
  • Judge Jackson decided that she had the authority to strike down the policy – without citing any statutory text or precedent (See Make the Rd. New York v. McAleenan, 405 F. Supp. 3d 1, 41 (D.D.C. 2019),?rev'd and remanded sub nom.?Make The Rd. New York v. Wolf, 962 F.3d 612 (D.C. Cir. 2020))
  • A unanimous panel of the D.C. Circuit reversed Judge Jackson 
  • And in a forceful rebuke of Jackson’s opinion, an Obama appointee said “[t]here could hardly be a more definitive expression of congressional intent to leave the decision about the scope of expedited removal, within statutory bounds, to the Secretary’s independent judgment” 
Ignoring extensive historical practice, Judge Jackson halted three executive orders signed by President Trump regarding federal labor-management relations 
  • Judge Jackson acknowledged presidents have “substantial authority” under the Constitution to regulate relations between federal agencies and their employees  
  • Still, Judge Jackson ignored recent Supreme Court decisions to hold that she had the authority to dictate these labor rules  
  • The D.C. Circuit reversed Judge Jackson, criticizing her for ignoring binding precedent and exceeding her authority as a judge  
Yet Judge Jackson deferred to requests and decisions made by the Obama administration 
  • Judge Jackson sided with the Department of Energy in 2015 in a lawsuit brought by renewable energy companies, after the Department argued that judicial review wasn’t necessary (See 156 F. Supp. 3d at 189–94.) 
  • The D.C. Circuit reversed Judge Jackson saying that she improperly and effectively dismissed an energy company’s claims without assessing their merits
  • When the Trump administration tried to stop federal funding awarded under the Obama administration to Planned Parenthood and other groups providing abortion to teenagers, Judge Jackson sided with these groups to block the Trump administration in every case that came before her

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