(Jan. 4, official editorial for the Washington Examiner):

President Trump’s success in appointing conservatives throughout the federal judiciary might bedevil President-elect Joe Biden. This would, in many cases, be a very good thing.

Hostile liberal judges repeatedly gave Trump fits when he tried implementing executive orders or other controversial administrative actions. Often, they were either wrong or hypocritical (or both) in doing so. Now, Biden may face the same difficulties.

Excellent. In principle, governing largely by executive action is not desirable. When former President Barack Obama said, “I’ve got a pen, and I’ve got a phone” with which he could bypass Congress, he was asserting presidential authority beyond the original conception of the office. He did so on issues large and small, almost always giving the central government more command-and-control of private-sector activities. In the most famous example, his administration unilaterally changed immigration policy, without congressional assent, by implementing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy. In issuing far more “executive memoranda” than prior presidents, Obama also made major moves hampering religious liberty and bullying colleges into leftist social policies, among others, through administrative action alone.

The courts did little to stop Obama, even when his actions arguably hindered constitutional rights. Yet when Trump tried to undo by executive action what Obama had done by executive action, individual district judges again and again issued sweeping, often nationwide, orders to block him. Never mind that it’s illogical to say Trump could not undo with the stroke of a pen what Obama had done with the stroke of a pen: Activist judges care not for consistency or procedural niceties….

Here’s where Trump’s judicial appointees come in. His focus, and that of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, on securing confirmation of judicial nominees has resulted in 234 such confirmations, significantly outstripping the four-year records of the preceding five presidents. …

The Trump nominees, being conservative, will be more likely to strictly enforce constitutional delineations of governing authority. It’s not that they will decide to oppose some of Biden’s executive power plays based on their own policy choices but that where Biden is usurping legislative authority, they may rein him in….

[The full editorial is at this link.]



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