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Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday that the Trump administration intends to challenge the right of federal district courts to issue rulings blocking nationwide policies, arguing that such injunctions are obstructing President Donald Trump’s agenda on immigration, health care and other issues.

In a speech at the Federalist Society conference in Washington, Pence argued that nationwide injunctions issued by federal judges “prevent the executive branch from acting, compromising our national security by obstructing the lawful ability of the president to stop threats to the homeland where he sees them.”

He said the administration will seek opportunities to put this question before the Supreme Court “to ensure that decisions affecting every American are made either by those elected to represent the American people or by the highest court in the land.”

Top administration officials have often complained about the proliferation of nationwide injunctions since Trump became president, so the idea of pushing back is not new.

Indeed, the administration has asked the Supreme Court to deal with nationwide injunctions in the past, including in the travel ban case. But the court never addressed the nationwide extent of the injunction against the ban issued by lower courts because the justices upheld the ban in its entirety.

For the Supreme Court to issue a definitive ruling on nationwide injunctions, it would first have to rule against the administration on the underlying merits of the case before it. Only at that point could the court consider whether a lower court order should apply nationwide or only to the people who are challenging an administration policy.

A nationwide injunction has the effect of stopping “a federal policy everywhere,” the administration told the Supreme Court in the travel ban case. The more common practice is for a judge to issue an order that gives only the people who sued what they want.

A White House official said the administration would be looking for potential relevant cases to press the issue, and said Pence also discussed it at the end of the Cabinet meeting convened by the president on Wednesday.

In his remarks, Pence quoted from an opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas, who joined the majority opinion upholding the Trump travel ban last June, but also wrote separately to say nationwide injunctions “are legally and historically dubious” and that the high court would have to step in “if federal courts continue to issue them.”

Trump has long railed against district courts, especially the 9th Circuit, for blocking his initiatives, including efforts to overhaul the nation’s immigration system.

At a re-election rally Wednesday night in Florida, Trump said, “Activist judges who issue nationwide injunctions based on their personal beliefs undermine democracy and threaten the rule of law.”

But Trump won a 2-1 ruling from the 9th Circuit on Tuesday that allows the administration to make asylum seekers wait in Mexico for immigration court hearings while a court challenge continues.


A federal appeals court raised concerns Friday that power lines with towers nearly as high as the Statue of Liberty could spoil the view in one of the nation's most historically rich areas, a stretch of river in Virginia where England founded its first permanent settlement.

The power lines cross the James River near Jamestown Island. And they began transmitting 500,000 volts of electricity on Tuesday.

Despite the project's completion, the court directed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to prepare a full environmental impact statement for the project. The agency previously deemed it to be unnecessary.

The appeals court found that the Corps failed to fully consider the project's impact before issuing a permit to Dominion Energy. The ruling also said the Corps failed to resolve concerns that were raised in many of the 50,000 public comments that were submitted and by other federal agencies over the years.

For instance, the National Park Service has said utility lines should be run underground in the area, allowing people to experience views similar to what English explorer John Smith saw in the early 1600s.


female Cuban-American appellate judge to become the state's newest justice.

Barbara Lagoa, for the past 12 years a judge on the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Miami, was introduced by DeSantis at an event at Miami's Freedom Tower. The site is highly symbolic for Cuban-Americans because so many immigrants who fled the communist reign of Cuban leader Fidel Castro were processed into the U.S. through that building.

"In the country my parents fled, the whim of a single individual could mean the difference between food and hunger, liberty or prison, life or death," Lagoa said. "Unlike the country my parents fled, we are a nation of laws."

DeSantis, who just took office on Tuesday, said Lagoa, 51, has an impeccable judicial background and that her Cuban-American upbringing gives her extra appreciation for the rule of law. He noted that she has considered more than 11,000 cases and written 470 legal opinions.

"She has been the essence of what a judge should be" the governor said. "She understands the rule of law, how important that is to a society."

Lagoa, who grew up in the heavily Cuban-American suburb of Hialeah, attended Florida International University and Columbia University law school where she was associate editor of the Columbia Law Review. She also is a former federal prosecutor in Miami. Her father-in-law is Miami senior U.S. District Judge Paul C. Huck and her husband, Paul C. Huck Jr., is a prominent Miami attorney.



Three months after a ruling halted the impeachment process involving most of West Virginia's Supreme Court justices, the state Senate president is seeking a second opinion.

Senate President Mitch Carmichael said Friday at the annual Legislative Lookahead forum he's asked state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey to look into handling a possible appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Carmichael, a Republican, is still steamed at a panel of state Supreme Court stand-ins that ruled impeachment efforts of the justices were a violation of the separation of powers doctrine. The process was officially derailed when the presiding judge didn't show up to Justice Margaret Workman's trial in the state Senate in light of the court's ruling blocking it.

"We believe it is totally, completely wrong," Carmichael said. The acting justices ruled the Senate lacked jurisdiction to pursue Workman's trial and later applied the decision to trials involving justices Robin Davis and Allen Loughry, who had petitioned the court to intervene.

Davis retired after the House approved impeachment charges against her. Loughry resigned after being convicted of felony fraud charges in federal court.


The partial government shutdown has prompted the chief judge of Manhattan federal courts to suspend work on civil cases involving U.S. government lawyers. The order suspends action in several civil lawsuits in which President Donald Trump is a defendant.

Judge Colleen McMahon said in a written order that the suspension will remain in effect until the business day after the president signs a budget appropriation law restoring Justice Department funding.

The Manhattan courts, with several dozen judges, are among the nation’s busiest courts.

In one case involving Trump, a judge last week ruled that a group of people suing Trump and his three eldest children can remain anonymous because they fear retaliation by the president or his followers.

Back from a 29-hour trip to visit U.S. troops in Iraq, President Donald Trump is returning his attention to the ongoing partial U.S. government shutdown, which is in its sixth day.

In a morning tweet, Trump says “we desperately need” a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, funding for which has been a flashpoint between the White House and Congress ever since Trump took office.

The president is calling on Democrats in Congress to fund his wall, saying the shutdown affects their supporters. He says: “Do the Dems realize that most of the people not getting paid are Democrats?”

Hundreds of thousands of federal workers are on unpaid furlough and even more are required to work without pay after Trump and Congress could not reach consensus on a short-term funding bill last week.


Legal groups suing the Trump administration over its ban on asylum for anyone who illegally crosses the U.S.-Mexico border have argued their case before a federal judge in San Francisco.

U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar did not immediately rule Monday on the groups' request to stop the administration from enforcing the ban.

President Donald Trump issued a proclamation on Nov. 9 that says anyone who crossed the southern border would be ineligible for asylum. That would potentially make it harder for thousands of people who enter the U.S. to avoid deportation.

Trump issued the proclamation in response to the caravans of migrants that have started to arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border. The American Civil Liberties Union quickly sued, saying U.S. law makes clear that people can seek asylum regardless of how they enter the country.



Maryland is challenging the appointment of Matthew Whitaker as the new U.S. acting attorney general.

A draft filing obtained by The Associated Press argues that President Donald Trump sidestepped the Constitution and normal procedure by naming Whitaker to the position in place of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (ROH'-zen-styn).

Whitaker was appointed Nov. 7 after the White House demanded the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Whitaker had been Sessions' chief of staff.

The Maryland filing was expected to be made Tuesday in a legal dispute with the Trump administration over the Affordable Care Act. That lawsuit names Sessions as a defendant. The state seeks to name Rosenstein as a defendant over Whitaker. Spokespeople for the Justice Department haven't responded to an email seeking comment.

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