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Trump’s Agenda Takes A Beating In The Courts

December 5, 2018 3 1 No Comments


President Donald Trump is proving to be a big loser in the courts, although the steady flow of rulings against him and the administration go largely under the radar of the mainstream media. Eve though almost 1 in 6 judges currently on the bench have been appointed by Trump, he loses. A lot.


I regularly follow politics; even so, when I dug into the data I was astonished. Here are a few recent examples:

  • Trump’s rule barring migrants from applying for asylum unless they make their request at a legal checkpoint was blocked by a federal judge, whose order extends nationally.
  • A Trump-appointed judge sided with CNN against the administration’s revocation of reporter Jim Acosta’s press credentials.
  • A federal judge in Montana temporarily blocked construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, stating that the Trump administration had failed to comply with a relevant governmental act.
  • The administration has lost all but one of the legal challenges in its efforts to undo Obama-era regulations.
  • A federal judge permitted the emoluments lawsuit filed against Trump to proceed over the Department of Justice’s objections.
  • Federal courts halted the ban on transgender troops and halted the attempt to eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Most Of The Judges Ruling Against Trump Were Appointed By Republicans

These are not some kind of crazed so-called judicial activists; most of them were appointed by GOP presidents, including some by Trump.


Rather, the President’s habit of policy-by-tweet – often based on revenge or an angry flare up – means those policies are often completely at odds with established legal precedent. The administration then sends in its attorneys to twist themselves into pretzels trying to justify an ill-advised policy, making absurd legal arguments that judges aren’t at all amused by.


To be sure, now that the US Supreme Court leans right, some of the administration’s more egregious policies might still be upheld by SCOTUS. However, its docket is limited to hearing only a few dozen cases a year, and I’d be willing to bet even the current right wing court will not at all be amenable to rubber-stamping scads of poorly thought-through cases wrought by the Trump administration when there are other actual serious legal arguments to be considered.

Turns Out Judges Still Have Respect For The Law, For Now

Judges likely find it less amusing than you’d think to be subjected to untruthful or absurd legal arguments. I take comfort in their respect for the law, their willingness to uphold it, and their integrity.

But as long as Mitch McConnell draws breath, the GOP Senate will continue to rush through judicial nominees while breaching long-established norms. In their attempt to wholly remake the judiciary, their vision is one of a regressive right wing society that bears about as much resemblance to the wishes of the majority of the American people as my grandson’s finger painting does to the Mona Lisa.

In the meantime I and my fellow progressives will continue to celebrate the legal blows striking down this administration’s cruel and punitive policies along with its inhumane treatment of immigrants, its blatant attempts at voter suppression, and refutation of the ravages of climate change.

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