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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
2018 continued to be a tumultuous and troubling year for Americans who believe that our Constitution protects us from violations of free speech, free press, due process, equal protection under the law, and the arbitrary power of government to usurp the rule of law. In 2018, the federal courts demonstrated again that they serve as the safety valve, checking abuses of power by the executive branch of government, including notably President Donald Trump and his administration.
More than one thousand Americans from forty different states have joined together in declaring independence from the policies and practices of President Trump. They anticipated that President Trump and his administration would violate basic American values and are documenting the major federal lawsuits challenging the President and his administration.
By Michael Bournas-Ney On December 14, 2018, Judge Reed O’Connor of the Northern District of Texas ruled that the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA), unofficially known as “Obamacare,” is unconstitutional. However, he later issued a stay of his own ruling, which thus clarified that the […]
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.”
U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on December 17, 2018 blocked several Trump administration policies that made it more difficult for victims of gang and domestic violence to seek asylum in the United States. In a 107-page opinion, the Court rules that the policies are “arbitrary and capricious and contrary to law” and orders the government to cease their implementation
In late November, a District Court judge handed a victory to defenders of immigrants’ rights in their challenge to Trump-era restrictions on criminal justice funding. Seven states and the City of New York had argued that new Department of Justice requirements for information-sharing and “access” to undocumented detainees in local facilities exceeded federal authority and violated states rights.
Since 2006, states and localities have been eligible to apply for federal funding under the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (“JAG”) program for grants to support criminal justice programs in various categories, including law enforcement, crime prevention, mental health, victim and witness services, drug treatment and technology. These funds are allocated according to a formula based upon a particular jurisdiction’s population and violent crime statistics. On July 25, 2017, for the first time in the history of the program, the United States Department of Justice and the Attorney General (collectively “Defendants”) announced that they would be imposing three immigration-related conditions on applicants for JAG funds.