Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday railed against federal judges for blocking Trump administration policies, arguing rulings have been driven by political views and not the interpretation of the law.
“The Constitution gives judges no right to veto a president’s actions because they disagree with him on policy grounds,” Sessions said during a speech at the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington.
Sessions, the nation's top law enforcement officer, cited a federal judge in Brooklyn who heard the arguments on a challenge to the federal government’s winding down of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, immigration program. The judge, he said, called the government’s position “heartless.’
“With respect: it is emphatically not the province or duty of courts to say whether a policy is compassionate,” Sessions said. “That is for the people and our elected representatives to decide. The court’s role is to say what the law is.”
Added Sessions, “A judge’s comments on policy like this are highly offensive, and disrespectful of the legislative and executive branches.”
He also spoke out against judges who issue nationwide injunctions, as has been done against the president’s travel ban.
“Today, more and more judges are issuing these lawless nationwide injunctions and in effect, single judges are making themselves super-legislators for the entire United States,” he said. “We have nearly 600 federal district judges in the United States—each with the ability to issue one of these overreaching nationwide orders.”
Sessions said the judiciary is not a “superior or policy-setting branch” but is “co-equal.”
“Those who ignore this duty and follow their own policy views erode the rule of law and create bad precedents and, importantly, undermine the public respect necessary for the courts to function properly,” he said.
Fox News’ Jake Gibson contributed to this report.