Trump Gains Steam Against Judges Who Block His Orders Nationwide

(Bloomberg) -- The Trump administration won another small victory in its campaign to stop individual judges from issuing sweeping orders that block the president’s policies nationwide.

A federal appeals court in San Francisco on Wednesday voted 2-1 to uphold a lower-court ruling that declared unconstitutional an executive order by President Donald Trump to withhold federal funding from counties that operate as sanctuaries for undocumented immigrants.

But the appeals panel also said the lower-court judge went too far when he blocked the president’s policy from taking effect nationwide, not just in the two counties that sued, San Francisco and Santa Clara.

Wednesday’s ruling echoes a decision in June by the U.S. appeals court in Chicago finding that a nationwide injunction issued by a judge in that city over the same policy was too broad. In that case, too, the appeals panel limited scope of the injunction to make it local only.

Individual judges have shown increasing willingness to block Trump administration policies nationwide, including the travel ban targeting several mostly Muslim nations, a mass deportation of Iraqi nationals and the forced separation of migrant families during a border crossing crackdown. Trump and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whose policies have been blocked nationwide more often than any prior administration, have accused the judges of overstepping their authority.

The Ninth Circuit panel on Wednesday didn’t go as far as Trump and Sessions would like, saying “we are unpersuaded by the administration’s arguments in favor of a blanket restriction on all nationwide injunctions.” The panel also invited the San Francisco judge who issued the nationwide injunction to consider more evidence and possibly reinstate his original ruling.

One judge dissented from Wednesday’s ruling, saying he wasn’t convinced the president’s order is unconstitutional.

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