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Deregulation Run Amok

Trump-Era Regulatory Suspensions and the Rule of Law

For the first year and a half of the Trump administration, deregulatory efforts focused on suspending regulations across many agencies. But those suspensions flouted public input requirements, ignored statutory mandates, and failed to fully and honestly address the impact of the delays on the valuable benefits conferred by the original regulations. As a result, many have been struck down in court.

Our report provides a survey of the legality of the Trump administration’s regulatory suspensions. Looking at a number of cases, we discuss the administration’s disregard for notice-and-comment requirements, statutory restrictions, and the reasoned explanation requirement. We also lay out some of the challenges facing advocates, and the strategies by which agencies have evaded review. It is worth reflecting on the era of suspensions as the administration moves into repealing rules. The legal principles that applied to suspensions will also apply to repeals, and the same flaws are already appearing in many of the proposals to repeal regulations.