The Trump administration has managed an abysmal track record when it comes to winning legal battles over rule changes, according to Salon, with many of its losses resulting from the administration’s failure to follow the rules.
The Washington Post reported that federal judges have ruled against the administration at least 63 times since President Donald Trump took over the White House, and two-thirds of those cases were born of complaints that federal agencies ran afoul of the Administrative Procedure Act.
Passed in 1946, the law lays out procedural requirements for agencies when they unilaterally change policies or regulations, Salon noted.
Generally speaking, the federal government’s “win rate” for such cases is about 70 percent, according to the Post, but Trump’s win rate is a mere 6 percent.
Georgetown Law professor William Buzzbee told the Post that the administration is consistently “short-circuiting the process,” and by failing to provide adequate justifications for rule changes is “making it very easy for the courts to reject them because they’re not doing their homework.”
In other cases, Trump has shot himself in the foot, so to speak, as his own tweets and statements have derailed the government’s arguments.
For example, last year “a federal judge ruled against the administration’s move to end temporary legal status for immigrants from Central America, Haiti and Sudan because Trump’s “shithole countries” remark suggested the policy was motivated by ethnic or racial bias,” Salon noted.
In another case, which involved the Department of Health and Human Services’ attempt to roll back funding for certain teen pregnancy programs, Washington U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson said the administration’s lack of justification for its abstinence-only stance made her decision “quite easy.”
“This much is clear: A federal agency that changes course abruptly without a well-reasoned explanation for its decision or that acts contrary to its own regulations is subject to having a federal court vacate its action as ‘arbitrary [and] capricious,’ ” she said, referencing part of the Administrative Procedure Act.