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Attorney General Sessions Delivers Remarks at the Federalist Society’s Student Symposium:Thank you, Professor Barnett, for that kind introduction, and thank you for your leadership at the Center for the Constitution.I want to express my gratitude once again to the Federalist Society.  For 35 years the Federalist Society has been an eloquent voice—perhaps the most eloquent voice—in defense of the rule of law.That is an idea that always deserves—and always needs—defending.Our Founders set up a marvelous system in which Congress writes our laws, the Executive Branch carries out our laws, and the Judiciary applies those laws to cases and controversies.But this group knows well that there is always a serious risk that some judges will fail to respect our representatives in Congress and the Executive Branch and, instead, claim the power to set policy—a power courts do not have.For example, we recently had a judge tell one of our fine lawyers openly in court that “you can’t come into court to espouse a position that is so heartless.”  Not illegal.  Not unlawful.  Heartless.
When I said publicly that it is not a judge’s job to decide what is “heartless,” –that it’s the job of the American people and its representatives to establish what the law is—this same judge then said that I “seem to think the courts cannot have an opinion.”That’s wrong.  Judges should issue opinions—legal opinions that pertain to the legal questions of the case, not to politics or policy or personal sentiment.As Attorney General of the United States, I am shocked by the actions of certain judges who fail to respect the constitutional responsibilities of the executive and legislative branches.  These branches are coequal and the courts are not superior. Although the courts are empowered to decide specific cases and controversies, they do not have the final word on every policy dispute.  On matters of policy, the branches that are directly accountable to the people must be given proper respect.The new vehicle used by activist judges to direct executive policy is the issuing of nationwide injunctions—orders that block the entire United States government from enforcing an executive branch policy or executing a statute.  And not just in one district, but nationwide.  Not just to parties before the court, but against everyone, everywhere.Courts have been calling them nationwide injunctions, but it would be just as fitting to call them non-party injunctions or limitless injunctions—since they bind all of America and grant relief to those who are not parties to the case.

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