In the heady days after they won control of the U.S. House in 1994, Republicans set about correcting perceived wrongs that had accumulated during four decades of Democratic rule. There were taxes to cut, agencies to shrink — and activist judges to restrain.

One GOP congressman — Texas’ Tom DeLay — threatened to impeach federal judges who issued rulings he believed violated the doctrine of separation of powers. He backed a law to restrict activist district judges.

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