Drain the Swamp

Obama Judge Stops Trump Order for Draining Deepest Part of the Swamp

Spokesman for the Dept. of Justice declined to say if a federal court's decision will be appealed or other actions will be taken by the chief executive

Image Credit: Alexandros Michailidis / Shutterstock.com

Department of Justice (DOJ) officials said Monday they are studying their options following a late Friday federal court ruling against most of President Donald Trump’s recent move to start draining the deepest part of the Washington, D.C., swamp.

“We are disappointed in the ruling and are considering the appropriate next steps to ensure the president is able to fulfill his constitutional duties, run an effective and efficient government, and protect taxpayers from waste and abuse.” Department of Justice (DOJ) spokesman Andy Reuss told LifeZette.

Reuss declined to say whether DOJ will appeal the ruling issued late Friday by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Jackson’s lengthy decision upending two key provisions in Trump’s May 25 Executive Order (EO) is a huge blow to his attempt to enact tougher management controls of the 2.1 million-strong career civil service government workforce.

Jackson was appointed in 2012 by former President Barack Obama.

Trump’s EO would make it easier for federal managers to fire incompetent employees and curtail the ability of federal employee union leaders to work on union business during official business hours while drawing their regular civil service salary and benefits , a privilege known as “Official Time.”

The order also encouraged federal agency managers to renegotiate agreements with the unions. The unions are now allowed to negotiate with the government on pay and benefits, but are free to bargain collectively on all other working conditions.

Career federal workers are paid on average 80 percent more in salary and benefits than private sector employees, according to a study by the Cato Institute’s Chris Edwards.

“Since the 1990s, federal workers have enjoyed faster compensation growth than private sector workers. In 2016 federal workers earned 80 percent more, on average, than private sector workers,” he said.

And federal workers earned 42 percent more, on average, than state and local government workers. The federal government has become an elite island of secure and high-paid employment, separated from the ocean of average Americans competing in the economy,” according to Edwards, writing on Cato’s “Downsizing the Federal Government” website.

Jackson’s decision upended an executive order that made it easier to fire poorly performing workers through a streamlined review process and canceled restrictions on the time it takes to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement and requiring written communications during negotiations.

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE),which filed two lawsuits against Trump’s EO, was quick to declare Jackson’s decision a victory.

“President Trump’s illegal action was a direct assault on the legal rights and protections that Congress specifically guaranteed to the public sector employees across this country who keep our federal government running every single day,” AFGE President J. David Cox Sr. said in a statement on Saturday.

“We are heartened by the judge’s ruling and by the huge outpouring of support shown to federal workers by lawmakers from both parties, fellow union workers, and compassionate citizens across the country,” Cox said.

Cox’s union is the largest of the federal workers’ organizations, but the AFGE suits were joined by the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE), the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).

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