Washington, D.C. — On Thursday, November 30, 2017 at 2:00 p.m., the Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet Subcommittee will hold a hearing entitled “The Role and Impact of Nationwide Injunctions by District Courts.”

Currently, when a district court issues a preliminary injunction against a federal agency or the President, it can apply nationwide, even despite potential conflicting decisions in other jurisdictions.  Thursday’s hearing will examine this issue, including the recent trend of plaintiffs filing cases in judicial districts that align with the political viewpoint of the plaintiff in an effort to have a federal district judge issue a nationwide injunction to stop the actions of a federal agency or the President.

While the first use of a nationwide injunction occurred in 1963, their use by Administration opponents has grown significantly during the Obama and Trump presidencies.  Most recently, a district court judge in the Northern District of California issued a nationwide injunction blocking the Trump Administration’s efforts to stop sanctuary cities from receiving federal funds.

The witnesses for Thursday’s hearing are:

  • Professor Samuel Bray, UCLA School of Law, Notre Dame Law School
  • Professor Amanda Frost, American University Washington College of Law
  • Professor Michael T. Morley, Assistant Professor of Law, Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law at Barry University
  • Mr. Hans von Spakovsky, Manager, Election Law Reform Initiative and Senior Legal Fellow, Institute for Constitutional Government, The Heritage Foundation

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet Subcommittee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) issued the following statements in advance of this hearing.

Chairman Goodlatte: “Despite the lack of specific Congressional authorization for nationwide injunctions, their use by Administration opponents has exploded in recent years.  It has become commonplace for opponents of the sitting President to file a lawsuit in the hopes of having a judge issue a nationwide injunction to block federal policies and orders.

“This raises serious concerns about the impact of nationwide injunctions upon the federal judicial and regulatory system as well as the ability of current and future Presidents to direct the federal government as they see fit.”

Subcommittee Chairman Issa: “This hearing is an important first step in better understanding the proper way to deal with injunctions and our options for reform. We must consider the implications of nationwide injunctions from district courts on the rule of law and their effect on public policy. When duly enacted laws or regulations are stifled for the entire nation by a single ruling in one judicial district, it raises the prospect that our legal system is not functioning as it should.”

This hearing will take place in 2141 Rayburn House Office Building and will be webcast live at judiciary.house.gov.  Camera crews wishing to cover must be congressionally credentialed and RSVP with the House Radio-TV Gallery at (202) 225-5214.

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