Two Federal Courts Block Proposals to Restrict Access to Birth Control

Last week, two federal judges issued back-to-back decisions which block Trump administration rules (“Final Rules”) from taking effect; these Final Rules would have made it significantly easier for employers to deny many women contraceptive coverage under the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) based on either religious or moral grounds.  The ACA, in a provision known as the Women’s Health Amendment, mandates that preventive care and screenings, including contraception, be offered without cost in all group health plans.  These Final Rules would have significantly expanded the ability of employers to obtain a “religious exemption” based upon objection to contraceptive care, and would also have created a new “moral exemption” to the contraceptive care mandate.

Supreme Court Update: Court Stays Injunction on Transgender Military Ban

On January 22, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court in an unsigned order granted the Trump administration’s application to lift injunctions blocking the ban on transgender individuals from the military “pending disposition of the Government’s appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and disposition of the Government’s petition for a writ of certiorari, if such writ is sought.”

Supreme Court Update: Court’s Inaction Leaves DACA Intact For Now

On January 22, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court opted not to act on Trump administration’s appeal in DACA II, which leaves DACA intact for now after the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’s affirmation of the District Court’s preliminary injunction on the termination of the DACA program. The Justices’ next private conference to consider petition seeking review is scheduled for February 15.

District Court Judge Blocks 2020 Census Citizenship Question

On January 15, 2019, U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman ruled against the Trump administration’s decision to the question “Is this person a citizen of the United States” to the 2020 census.

Judge Furman enjoined the government from implementing Secretary Ross’s March 26, 2018 decision or from adding a question to the 2020 census questionnaire “without curing the legal defects” identified in the 277-page opinion.

Appeals Court Vacates Injunction Against Trump Transgender Military Ban

Earlier this month, the Trump administration won a battle in its push to ban transgender individuals from the military, when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia vacated a preliminary injunction against the ban. The government had lost in its previous effort to move ahead with the ban in August 2018, when the District Court for the District of Columbia denied a Trump administration motion to “dissolve” the injunction. The original injunction was issued in October, 2017 by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

Immigration: Supreme Court Maintains Ban on Proposed Asylum Restrictions

A few days before the Christmas holiday, the United States Supreme Court voted to maintain a ban on new immigration restrictions proposed by the Trump administration. The December 21 vote, in which Chief Justice Roberts joined Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Kagan and Sotomayor, blocked new rules that would limit applications for asylum by those seeking to enter the United States.

A decision by Judge Jon S. Tigar on November 19 imposed the nationwide injunction on the proposed restriction, which would affect asylum seekers entering the United States solely through “designated ports of entry.” Judge Tigar found that this proposed rule contravened the language of the Immigration and Naturalization Act, which permitted asylum applications to be filed by immigrants who arrive in this country “whether or not at a designated port of arrival.”