Trump administration faces a growing mountain of lawsuits


Legal challenges continue to plague the Trump administration, with the latest court battle taking place this week over the president’s revised executive order banning nationals from six countries that sponsor terrorism from entering the U.S.

According to one report, since taking office, Trump has been sued in federal court 134 times–nearly three times more than our past three presidents.

Here’s a list of some of those lawsuits:

  • So-called sanctuary cities have filed numerous lawsuits against Trump’s plan to withhold their federal funding.
  • Trump’s order directing all federal agencies to eliminate two rules for every new rule issued is being challenged in court.
  • Trump is facing another lawsuit which claims that he violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which bars the president from receiving payments from foreign governments.
  • The Center for Biological Diversity has reportedly filed at least a dozen lawsuits challenging Trump’s approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, his plan to build a border wall and his order reversing the permanent ban on new offshore oil and gas drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans.
  • A suit was filed last week regarding Trump’s order allowing religious groups to participate in politics and still keep their tax-exempt status.

“This is not normal, and the way the courts are responding is the way I think we want the courts to respond, which is adhering to the rule of law,” said Deepak Gupta, counsel for the plaintiffs in the emoluments suit. “What’s unusual is the amount of legal problems being generated by the administration.”

Josh Blackman, a constitutional law professor at the South Texas College of Law in Houston said, “Frankly we’re seeing a continuation of what we saw during the Obama administration. People turn to the courts when they lose the ballot box, and that’s what we have here.” He called it “lawfare.”

Former President Barack Obama’s policies on immigration and healthcare were challenged in court many times, but experts say that what Trump’s been facing– and the fact that he’s been losing many of those legal battles –is unprecedented.

According to Gupta, the lower courts are unified in their rejection of Trump’s travel ban. “There’s almost a uniform set of decisions coming out quickly and striking it down,” he pointed out, although it should be noted that a federal district judge in Virginia did uphold the ban. “It’s hard to think of a precedent in American history for that.”

Dan Mahaffee, senior vice president and director of policy at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress blames Trump’s heavy-handed use of executive orders for “inviting these challenges. It’s unusual to see this pace of executive orders from an administration already,” he said, noting that Trump issued 24 executive orders in his first 100 days and is on track to issue 96 in just this year. In comparison, George W. Bush issued 36 orders in his first year in office and Obama issued 35 in his first year.

“I think it’s unusual for the party out of power to declare that their motto is going to be ‘resist,’ ” commented John Malcolm, director of the Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. “The Democratic base is furious, and they are demanding that Democratic senators and people in their different states do everything they can to resist the Trump agenda … and you are seeing this play out on Capitol Hill, you are seeing this play out in the bluest of blue states and you are seeing this play out in the courts through strategic litigation filed before activist judges.”

Malcolm said he was shocked by the actions a district court judge in Hawaii took against the president’s immigration order. “No matter what the president proposes, they will do everything they can to thwart him, including resorting to the courts.”

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