Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is suggesting that the nation's highest court may need to review the use of nationwide injunctions issued by federal trial court judges to block presidential executive orders and other laws and policies from taking effect.

The Federalist says activists judges on both sides have issued universal injunctions, but the practice has been particularly effective in trying to block a host of Trump Administration initiatives, including the travel ban, an order denying certain federal funds from sanctuary cities, the abolition of DACA and a ban on transgender individuals serving in the military.

Justice Thomas says the universal injunctions have become increasingly common, suggesting they may be politically motivated and perhaps even illegal:

"I am skeptical that district courts have the authority to enter universal injunctions. These injunctions did not emerge until a century and a half after the founding. And they appear to be inconsistent with longstanding limits on equitable relief and the power of Article III courts. If their popularity continues, this Court must address their legality," he said.

In many cases, it is abundantly clear that federal judges are attempting to influence national policy. That is not the role of a judge. Universal injunctions should only be issued in cases of national emergency, or when the best interest of the nation is in question. That is clearly not the case in the matters listed above.

Litigation for purposes of advancing or derailing a political agenda ties up the court system and is costly. Justice Thomas is correct to put the bench on notice.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. 

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