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Roundup: Trump-Era Agency Policy in the Courts

The Institute for Policy Integrity 1 tracks the outcomes of litigation over the Trump administration's use of agencies to deregulate as well as to implement its other policies. 2 This Roundup includes litigation over agency actions such as regulations, guidance documents, and agency memoranda. 3

  • Unsuccessful
    An outcome is considered unsuccessful for the Trump administration if (1) a court ruled against the agency or (2) the relevant agency withdrew the action after being sued. 4 If there are different rulings on the same agency action, the entry is assigned an "X" as long as one court ruled against the agency. 5

  • Successful
    An outcome is considered successful for the Trump administration if the agency won the lawsuit without having to withdraw the challenged action. 6

Results based on chosen filters.
Overall record is Successful, Unsuccessful.

Last updated September 14, 2020. Download PDF.

132 outcomes total.
  • Case
    Categories 7
    Judge Appointment 8
  • Ramos v. Nielsen, No. 18-16981 (9th Cir. Sept. 14, 2020).

    Sept. 14, 2020: A federal appeals court in California reversed a lower court injunction, 336 F. Supp. 3d 1075 (N.D. Cal. 2018), of the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to terminate Temporary Protected Status for individuals from Haiti, Sudan, Nicaragua, and El Salvador, holding that plaintiffs' Administrative Procedure Act claim was unreviewable and rejecting the Equal Protection claim. 

    Immigration
    Republican
  • Wild Virginia et al v. Council on Environmental Quality et al, Docket No. 20-00045 (W.D. Va. Jul 29, 2020)

    September 11, 2020: A federal district court in Virginia denied plaintiffs’ motion for an order enjoining new regulations governing environmental reviews.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation
    Democratic
  • Gomez v. Trump, No. 20-1419 (D.D.C. Sept. 4, 2020)

    September 4, 2020: A federal district court in D.C. enjoined several of the State Department's policies implementing President Trump’s Proclamation barring foreign guest workers from entering the United States, holding that the policies were in excess of the agency's statutory authority and that the agency failed to provide a reasoned explanation.

    Immigration
    Democratic
  • New York v. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, No. 19-2395, 2020 WL 5103860 (2d. Cir. Aug. 31, 2020)

    August 31, 2020: A federal appeals court in New York held that NHTSA's rule reducing penalties that automakers pay for violating fuel-economy standards was not authorized under the 2015 Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation
    Republican
  • Samma v. Department of Defense, No. 20-1104, 2020 WL 5016893 (D.D.C. Aug. 25, 2020)

    August 25, 2020: A federal district court in D.C. vacated the Department of Defense’s 2017 policy, which created new, additional hurdles to naturalization based on military service, concluding that the Department lacked authority for the rule and that the Department had failed to provide a reasoned explanation for the policy.

    Immigration
    Democratic
  • Washington v. Devos, No. 20-1119, 2020 WL 5079038 (W.D. Wash. Aug. 21, 2020)

    August 21, 2020: A federal district court in Washington enjoined a Department of Education interim final rule that favored private schools when disbursing funding under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, finding that the Department lacked authority to promulgate the rule and that the Act unambiguously directed funding to be allocated with a focus on those in greatest need, such as low-income children and disadvantaged communities.

    Consumer Protection & Education; Health
    Democratic
  • Walker v. Azar, No. 20-2834, 2020 WL 4749859 (E.D.N.Y. Aug. 17, 2020)

    August 17, 2020: A federal district court in New York enjoined the Department of Health and Human Services’ repeal of a rule defining discrimination on the basis of “sex” under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act to include discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual stereotyping, finding that the agency had failed to consider an important aspect of the problem, specifically, the impact of the Supreme Court’s interpretation of similar language in Bostock v. Clayton Cty., Ga., 140 S. Ct. 1731 (2020).

    Health
    Democratic
  • Environmental Integrity Project v. Environmental Protection Agency, 969 F.3d 529 (5th Cir.  2020)

    August 13, 2020: A federal appeals court held that EPA was not required to review whether a Title V permit issued by a Texas complied with all applicable requirements under the Clean Air Act, and was permitted to review just whether it contained the state’s permitting requirements.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    Republican
  • Natural Resources Defense Council v. Department of the Interior, No. 18-4596, 2020 WL 4605235 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 11, 2020)

    August 11, 2020: A federal district court in New York vacated a Department of the Interior memorandum and subsequent guidance, which had abandoned the agency’s prior, more protective, interpretation of prohibited “takings” and “killings” of migratory birds imposed under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, after finding the agency’s new interpretation was contrary to the purpose of the Act.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    Democratic
  • New York v. Department of Labor, No. 20-3020, 2020 WL 4462260 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 3, 2020)

    August 3, 2020: A federal district court in New York vacated major components of a Department of Labor rule which limited the availability of family leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, after finding that the rule contravened Congress's intent in the Act.

    Worker Protection & Discrimination
    Democratic
  • Meritor, Inc. v. Environmental Protection Agency, 966 F.3d 864 (D.C. Cir. 2020)

    July 28, 2020: A federal appeals court in D.C. upheld EPA’s decision to list a site on the Superfund list in the face of an industry challenge.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    Republican
  • New Jersey v. Wheeler, 20-1425, 2020 WL 4331604 (S.D.N.Y. July 28, 2020)

    July 28, 2020: A federal district court in New York ordered EPA to comply with a court-ordered schedule in promulgating federal plans requiring states to comply with a 2008 limit on emissions that contribute to downwind ozone problems, after finding that EPA failed to comply with a nondiscretionary duty under the Clean Air Act.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    Democratic
  • New York v. Wolf, No. 20-1127 (S.D.N.Y. 2020)

    July 23, 2020: The Department of Homeland Security withdrew a prohibition on New York State residents’ access to Trusted Traveler programs, after being sued for violating the Fifth Amendment, Tenth Amendment, and Administrative Procedure Act.

    Consumer Protection & Education; Immigration; Public Safety
    N/A
  • California v. Department of Health and Human Services, No. 20-00682, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127490 (N.D. Cal. July 20, 2020)

    July 20, 2020: A federal district court held that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' rule requiring health-insurance issuers to collect separate payments from policy holders for abortion and non-abortion services by requiring enrollees to receive two separate bills, and to make two separate payments, was arbitrary and capricious for failure to provide a reasoned explanation, and therefore in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.

    Health
    Democratic
  • Grace v. Barr, 965 F.3d 883 (D.C. Cir. 2020)

    July 17, 2020: A federal appeals court in D.C. held that certain policy changes to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services "credible fear" asylum interview standards violated the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA), the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), and the Administrative Procedure Act for failure to provide reasoned decisionmaking. However, it reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment on the circularity rule.

    Immigration
    Republican
  • California v. Bernhardt, No. 18-05712, 2020 WL 4001480 (N.D. Cal July 15, 2020)

    July 15, 2020: A federal district court in California vacated the Department of Interior's rescission of the Waste Prevention Rule. The court held that the agency failed to meet its obligations under the Mineral Leasing Act and National Environmental Policy Act, failed to provide a reasoned explanation for its recission, and violated notice and comment requirements under the Administrative Procedure Act. (Two previous delays were also struck down in court. See the entries below dated February 22, 2018 and October 4, 2017).

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation
    Democratic
  • New York v. Department of Homeland Security, No. 20-05439 (S.D.N.Y. July 13, 2020)

    July 14, 2020: Immigration and Customs Enforcement withdrew a policy that would have stripped international college students of their U.S. visas if their coursework was entirely online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, after being sued for failing to comply with the Administrative Procedure Act’s notice-and-comment requirements by New YorkHarvard, and MIT.

    Health; Immigration
    Democratic
  • New York v. Environmental Protection Agency, 964 F.3d 1214 (D.C. Cir. 2020)

    July 14, 2020: A federal appeals court in D.C. vacated an EPA decision that denied New York State's petition for the agency to find that power plants in nine nearby states were violating the Good Neighbor Provision of the Clean Air Act.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    Democratic
  • Am. Coll. of Obstetricians & Gynecologists v. Food and Drug Administration, No. 20-1320, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1220172 (D. Md. July 13, 2020), appeal filed (4th Cir. 20-1824)

    July 13, 2020: A federal district court in Maryland enjoined the Trump administration from enforcing the in-person requirements for prescriptions of the non-surgical abortion drug during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Health
    Democratic
  • Clean Wisconsin v. Environmental Protection Agency, 964 F.3d 1145 (D.C. Cir. 2020)

    July 10, 2020: A federal appeals court in D.C. held that EPA's reviews of area attainment designations (as required by the Clean Air Act for National Ambient Air Quality Standards) that did not require stricter pollution controls for smog were not sufficient in at least seven counties and required additional explanation. Some violated the Clean Air Act's requirement of reasoned decision making.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    Democratic
  • Little Sisters of the Poor Saints Peter and Paul Home v. Pennsylvania, 140 S.Ct. 2367 (July 8, 2020)

    July 8, 2020: The Supreme Court reversed a lower court order enjoining rules that allow more employers to claim exemptions from the requirement that their health plans cover contraceptive services at no cost under the Affordable Care Act. The Court found that the agencies did not violate the Administrative Procedure Act’s notice-and-comment requirements or the Affordable Care Act. 

    Health
    Republican
  • Sierra Club v. Environmental Protection Agency, 964 F.3d 882 (10th Cir. 2020) 

    July 2, 2020: A federal appeals court vacated EPA's decision on a Utah Title V permit after holding that EPA’s own regulations unambiguously required the agency to review whether a Title V permit issued by a state under the Clean Air Act complied with all applicable requirements under the statute, not just the requirements that the state included in the permit.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    Democratic
  • New York v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 20-3714 (S.D.N.Y.)

    June 29, 2020: After being sued for failing to comply with the Administrative Procedure Act’s notice-and-comment requirements, acting outside of the agency’s statutory authority, and failing to provide a reasoned explanation, EPA announced that its policy of non-enforcement due to COVID-19 would be terminated as of August 31, 2020.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation
    N/A
  • Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future v. Wheeler, No. 19-02004, 2020 WL 3481425 (N.D.Cal. June 29, 2020)

    June 29, 2020: A federal district court in California held that EPA violated its duty under the Clean Air Act to regulate coke ovens. The court dismissed plaintiffs’ claim that EPA also had a recurring duty to update the standards, for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    Democratic
  • California v. Wheeler, No. 20-3005, 2020 WL 3403072 (N.D.Cal. June 19, 2020)

    June 19, 2020: A federal district court in California denied a motion for a preliminary injunction enjoining the Navigable Waters Rule. Separately, a federal district court in Colorado enjoined the rule in Colorado only. See Colorado v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 20-cv-1461, 2020 WL 3402325, at (D.Colo. 2020).

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation
    Democratic
  • Friends of Animals v. Bernhardt, 961 F.3d 1197 (D.C. Cir. 2020)

    June 16, 2020: A federal appeals court in D.C. upheld a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service policy allowing the agency to proceed through informal adjudication when deciding whether to allow trophy imports of species classified as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act. (A previous and related policy was struck down. See the entry dated March 1, 2018.) 

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    Republican
  • N.Y. Stock Exchange LLC v. Securities & Exchange Commission, 962 F.3d 541 (D.C. Cir. 2020)

    June 16, 2020: A federal appeals court in D.C. vacated the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Pilot Program Rule (Rule 610T), a rule that created a pilot program in order to explore a possible problem in the market, after finding that the rule exceeded the agency’s authority under the Securities Exchange Act.

    Consumer Protection & Education
    Democratic
  • Natural Resources Defense Council v. Environmental Protection Agency, 961 F.3d 160 (2d Cir. 2020)

    June 5, 2020: A federal appeals court held that EPA's rule exempting certain importers of products that have mercury-containing components from reporting requirements was unlawful under the Toxic Substances Control Act. The court upheld two other mercury importer exemptions after finding that the additional reporting requirements sought by petitioners would have been duplicative.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation
    Republican
  • National Family Farm Coal. v. Environmental Protection Agency, 960 F.3d 1120 (9th Cir. 2020)

    June 3, 2020: A federal appeals court vacated EPA's approval of conditional amended registrations for dicamba-based herbicides for violating the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    Democratic
  • In re Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 956 F.3d 1134 (9th Cir. 2020)

    April 22, 2020: A federal court of appeals in California held that EPA unreasonably delayed regulating tetrachlorvinphos, a pesticide found in household pet products and which poses a serious risk to the neurodevelopmental health of children, in violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    Democratic
  • Montana Wildlife Federation v. Bernhardt, No. 18-69, 2020 WL 2615631 (D.Mont. 2020), appeal filed (9th Cir. No. 20-35658)

    May 22, 2020: A federal district court in Montana held that 440 oil and gas leases of federal land in sage-grouse habitat were invalid, because the Bureau of Land Management had failed to follow its own rules designed to protect the species, and the leases were therefore in violation of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act. On August 25, 2020, the district court partially stayed its order pending appeal.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    Democratic
  • Maryland v. Environmental Protection Agency, 958 F.3d 1185 (D.C. Cir. 2020)

    May 19, 2020: A federal appeals court held that EPA’s rejection of a petition from Maryland, which sought tighter pollution limits on coal-fired power plants in upwind states, was arbitrary and capricious for failure to provide a reasoned explanation.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    Republican
  • Wildearth Guardians v. Bureau of Land Management, No. 18-73, 2020 WL 2104760 (D. Mont. May 1, 2020)

    May 1, 2020: A federal district court in Montana invalidated a series of oil and gas leases that were issued by the Bureau of Land Management after finding that the agency had not adequately addressed the environmental impacts of the planned oil drilling and fracking under the National Environmental Policy Act.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    Democratic
  • Cty. of Maui v. Haw. Wildlife Fund, 140 S.Ct. 1462 (2020)

    April 23, 2020: The U.S. Supreme Court adopted a new test for determining if a facility's discharge into groundwater violated the Clean Water Act. In doing so, the court rejected EPA's Interpretive Statement, which would have allowed for easy evasion of the statute's purposes.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    Republican
  • New York v. Environmental Protection Agency, 921 F.3d 257 (D.C. Cir. 2019)

    April 23, 2019: A federal appeals court in D.C. held that EPA did not abuse its discretion in denying state petition seeking to expand the Ozone Transport Region to include more upwind states.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    Republican
  • Gulf Restoration Network v. Bernhardt, No. 18-1674, 2020 WL 1930470 (D.D.C. Apr. 21, 2020), appeal filed (D.C. Cir. 20-5179)

    April 21, 2020: A federal district court upheld two offshore oil lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico. The court found that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management had met its obligations under the National Environmental Policy Act. 

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    Republican
  • La. Envtl. Action Network v. Environmental Protection Agency, 955 F.3d 1088 (D.C. Cir. 2020)

    April 21, 2020: A federal appeals court held that the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2017 emissions standards for hazardous air pollutants did not include all of the toxic substances that were necessary to include. The court remanded the rule to EPA for the agency to set limits on the missing pollutants.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    Republican
  • Waterkeeper Alliance, Inc. v. Wheeler, No. 18-2230, 2020 WL 1873564 (D.D.C. 2020)

    April 15, 2020: A federal district court in D.C. rejected plaintiffs’ claim that EPA was required to issue enforceable public participation guidelines for state programs governing coal combustion residuals and that EPA was required to issue only time-limited permits. The court also vacated EPA's approval of the portion of Oklahoma’s coal ash permitting program that had allowed unlined surface impoundments in line with a 2015 rule that was vacated in Util. Solid Waste Activities Grp. v. EPA, 901 F.3d 414, 420 (D.C. Cir. 2018).

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    Republican
  • Northern Plains Resource Council v. Army Corps of Engineers, No. 19-44, 2020 WL 1875455 (D.Mont. 2020), amended 2020 WL 3638125 (D. Mont. May 11, 2020), appeal filed (9th Cir. No. 20-35412), partial stay entered (U.S.S.C. No. 19A1053)

    April 15, 2020: A federal district court held that the Army Corps of Engineers' reissuance of a nationwide permit necessary for projects involving utility lines and associated facilities (known as "Nationwide Permit 12"), without the appropriate environmental review violated the Endangered Species Act.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    Democratic
  • Center for Science in the Public Interest v. Perdue, 438 F. Supp. 3d 546 (D. Md. 2020)

    April 13, 2020: A federal district court vacated an Agriculture Department rule that reversed nutrition standards for school meals because the agency violated the notice and comment requirements.

    Health; Deregulation
    Democratic
  • Natural Resources Defense Council v. Wheeler, 955 F.3d 68 (D.C. Cir. 2020)

    April 7, 2020: A federal appeals court vacated the Environmental Protection Agency's 2018 rule eliminating restrictions on the use of HFCs, which are known to be powerful greenhouse gases. The court found that the agency violated notice and comment requirements.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation
    Democratic
  • California v. Bureau of Land Management, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53958 (N.D. Cal. 2020), appeal filed (9th Cir. 20-16158)

    March 27, 2020: A federal district court held that a repeal of fracking regulations was not arbitrary and capricious.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation
    Democratic
  • District of Columbia v. Department of Agriculture, No. 20-119, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43853 (D.D.C. March 13, 2020)

    March 13, 2020: A federal district court enjoined a U.S. Department of Agriculture rule that would cause approximately 700,000 people to lose access to their benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The court found that the agency violated its governing statute and failed to provide a reasoned explanation for the rule.

    Housing & Public Assistance
    Democratic
  • Environmental Justice Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 19-2516 (S.D.N.Y.)

    March 12, 2020: After being sued for failing to issue worst-case spill regulations as required under the Clean Water Act, EPA agreed to a court-ordered consent decree requiring the agency to issue a proposed rule and final rule within a set timeframe.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    Democratic
  • Washington v. Department of State, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39608 (W.D. Wash. March 6, 2020), appeal filed (9th Cir. 20-35391)

    March 6, 2020: A federal district court in Washington enjoined the Department of State and the Department of Commerce’s rules that would have allowed wide publication of technical data files related to 3D-printed guns, because the agencies ignored prior findings regarding the danger of such publication, violated notice-and-comment requirements, and failed to make their decision based on factors required by Congress. On November 12, 2019, the district court had vacated a prior attempt to release the files.

    Deregulation; Public Safety
    Republican
  • California v. Azar, 950 F.3d 1067 (9th Cir. 2020)

    February 24, 2020: A federal appeals court in California upheld a rule that imposed restrictions on healthcare providers receiving grants for family-planning services under Title X of the Public Health Service Act. This decision reversed three 2019 district court decisions that had enjoined the rule. Separately, the rule is enjoined in Maryland. See Mayor v. Azar, 439 F. Supp. 3d 591 (D. Md. 2020), aff'd (4th Cir. 19-1614).

    Health
    Republican
  • Natural Resources Defense Council v. Environmental Protection Agency, 438 F. Supp. 3d 220 (S.D.N.Y. 2020)

    Feb. 10, 2020: A federal district court in New York held that an EPA directive illegally prohibited EPA grant recipients from sitting on the EPA's science advisory committees.  The court found that EPA had failed to provide a reasoned explanation for its changed policy.  In April, the district court vacated the directive. See NRDC v. EPA, No. 19-5174, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66162 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 15, 2020). Separately, a federal appeals court in Massachusetts has also held that EPA's directive is judicially reviewable. A federal appeals court in D.C. made a similar holding

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    Democratic
  • Renewable Fuels Association v. Environmental Protection Agency, 948 F.3d 1206 (10th Cir. 2020)

    January 24, 2020: A federal appeals court vacated EPA’s decision extending small refinery extensions to three refineries under the Clean Air Act’s renewable fuel standards.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    Democratic
  • Columbia Riverkeeper v. Wheeler, 944 F.3d 1204 (9th Cir. 2019)

    December 20, 2019: A federal appeals court in Washington held that EPA violated the Clean Water Act by failing to issue temperature Total Maximum Daily Loads for the Columbia and Snake Rivers.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    Democratic
  • California v. Trump, 407 F. Supp. 3d 869 (N.D.Cal. 2019), affirmed 2020 WL 3480841 (9th Cir. June 26, 2020)

    December 11, 2019: A federal district court held that the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2019 did not authorize the Department of Defense to transfer funds for the construction of a wall on the southern border in California and New Mexico. The court found that the border wall was not an unforeseen military requirement, as required by the act, and that the wall's construction would cause injury to the states' environmental interests. The federal appeals court subsequently upheld the ruling. See 2020 WL 3480841 (9th Cir. June 26, 2020). Previously, the district court had granted a preliminary injunction, see Sierra Club v. Trump, 929 F.3d 670 (9th Cir. 2019), but that injunction was stayed by the Supreme Court. Trump v. Sierra Club, 140 S.Ct. 1 (Mem) (2019).

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Immigration
    Democratic
  • Northern Alaska Environmental Center v. Department of the Interior, No. 19-35008, 2018 WL 6424680 (D. Alaska), affirmed 965 F.3d 705 (9th Cir. 2020).

    December 6, 2019: A federal district court in Alaska rejected a challenge to the Trump administration's decision to rely on the Obama administration's prior environmental review of two lease sales in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, holding that plaintiffs had waived their claims. The court of appeals affirmed, holding that the Trump administration decision was justified and that plaintiffs had waived a claim that the administration was required to supplement that analysis.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    Republican
  • Invenergy Renewables LLC v. United States, 422 F. Supp. 3d 1255 (CIT 2019)

    December 5, 2019: The U.S. Court of International Trade granted a preliminary injunction preventing the termination of an exemption from tariffs for bifacial solar panels. The solar panels had previously been excluded from tariffs on solar panel imports, but the Trump administration sought to end this exemption. In May 2020, the court declined to lift the injunction. Invenergy Renewables LLC v. United States, 2020 WL 2759665 (CIT 2020).

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    Democratic
  • Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families v. Environmental Protection Agency, 943 F.3d 397 (9th Cir. 2019)

    November 14, 2019: A federal appeals court vacated a portion of EPA’s Risk Evaluation Rule as violating the Toxic Substances Control Act, which would have categorically excluded consideration of legacy uses when regulating dangerous chemicals. The court rejected two of petitioners' other claims after finding that the rule did not do as petitioners alleged. 

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    Democratic
  • Washington v. Department of State, 420 F. Supp. 3d 1130 (W.D. Wash. 2019) 

    November 12, 2019: A federal district court vacated the Department of State’s decision to remove a licensing requirement that would allow the wide release of technical files for 3D-printed guns.  The court found that the agency failed to provide a reasoned explanation for the new policy and violated the Arms Export Control Act.

    Deregulation; Public Safety
    Democratic
  • New York v. Department of Health & Human Services, 414 F. Supp. 3d 475 (S.D.N.Y. 2019)

    November 6, 2019: A federal district court vacated a Department of Health and Human Services rule that, among other things, allowed healthcare providers to refuse service based on a religious or moral objection. The court found that the agency failed to provide adequate notice to interested parties and failed to give a reasoned explanation for the rule.

    Health
    Democratic
  • Conservation Law Foundation v. Ross, No. 18-1087, 422 F. Supp. 3d 12 (D.D.C. 2019), appeal dismissed, No. 19-5365, 2020 WL 2610894 (D.C. Cir. Apr. 27, 2020)

    October 28, 2019: A federal district court restored prohibitions on gillnet fishing in two regions that serve as whale feeding grounds after the National Marine Fisheries Service illegally promulgated rules lifting those prohibitions in violation of the Endangered Species Act.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation
    Democratic
  • Western Watersheds Project v. Schneider, 417 F. Supp. 3d 1319 (D. Idaho 2019), appeal dropped (9th Cir. 19-36065)

    October 16, 2019: A federal court enjoined the Bureau of Land Management’s 2019 Sage-Grouse Plan Amendments, which weakened the 2015 Plans and allowed expanded drilling, mining, and other destructive activity in sage-grouse territory in violation of the National Environmental Protection Act, the Federal Land Policy Management Act, and the National Forest Management Act.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation
    Democratic
  • New York v. Department of Homeland Security, 408 F. Supp. 3d 334 (S.D.N.Y. 2019), stayed (U.S.S.C. Jan. 27, 2020), affirmed as modified, 969 F.3d 42 (2d Cir. 2020)

    October 11, 2019: A federal district court granted a preliminary injunction and stay of a rule that would substantially expand the Department of Homeland Security’s ability to deny applications for lawful permanent residency by deeming immigrants likely to become “public charges.”  The court found that the agency failed to provide a reasoned explanation for changing the definition of “public charge” and exceeded its statutory authority in choosing the new definition. In August 2020, the appeals court limited the injunction to the states of New York, Connecticut, and Vermont. Separately, in July 2020, the district court granted a new nationwide preliminary injunction limited to the time of the national public health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. New York v. Department of Homeland Security, No. 19-7777, 2020 WL 4347264 (S.D.N.Y. July 29, 2020). In August 2020, the Second Circuit stayed the new injunction in all states but New York, Connecticut, and Vermont. And in September, the Second Circuit stayed the new injunction. 

    Immigration
    Democratic
  • Sierra Club v. Environmental Protection Agency, 939 F.3d 649 (5th Cir. 2019)

    October 3, 2019: A federal appeals court rejected industry and environmental challenges to EPA’s approval of Louisiana’s state implementation plan for controlling regional haze, rejecting claims that the agency provided an unreasonable explanation for the decision and that it violated notice-and-comment requirements.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    Republican
  • Mozilla Corp. v. Federal Communications Commission, No. 18-1051, 940 F.3d 1 (D.C. Cir. 2019)

    October 1, 2019: A federal appeals court largely denied petitions for review of the Federal Communications Commission’s “Restoring Internet Freedom” Order. The court remanded certain sections of the order for reconsideration and vacated the section that preempted states from requirements that are inconsistent with the order’s “deregulatory approach.”

    Consumer Protection & Education; Deregulation
    Democratic
  • New York v. Environmental Protection Agency, 781 F. App'x 4 (D.C. Cir. 2019)

    October 1, 2019: A federal appeals court held that EPA had impermissibly allowed upwind states to continue emitting air pollution that significantly contributes to downwind air quality problems in violation of its statutory authority.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    Republican
  • Natural Resources Defense Council v. Bernhardt, 19-00078 (D.D.C.)

    September 24, 2019: After being sued for violating the Endangered Species Act by failing to designate critical habitat for the rusty patched bumblebee, the Department of Interior entered into a settlement promising to abide by a schedule in determining whether and where to designate critical habitat for the bumblebee. (See also the entry dated March 21, 2017).

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    N/A
  • Prometheus Radio Project v. Federal Communications Commission, 939 F.3d 567 (3d Cir. 2019)

    September 23, 2019: A federal appeals court held that the Federal Communications Commission had failed to adequately analyze and consider the impact that its new rule would have on broadcast media ownership by women and racial minorities.

    Worker Protection & Discrimination
    Democratic
  • East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Barr, 385 F. Supp. 3d 922 (N.D. Cal. 2019)stayed Barr v. East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, 140 S. Ct. 3 (2019), affirmed East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Trump, 950 F.3d 1242 (9th Cir. 2020), 2020 WL 3637585 (9th Cir. July 6, 2020) 

    September 9, 2019: A federal district court in California enjoined a rule that categorically denied asylum to those entering the United States at the southern border who did not first apply for asylum in another country. The court found that the Department of Justice violated the Administrative Procedure Act’s notice-and-comment requirement, failed to provide a reasoned explanation for the rule, and violated Congress’ underlying statutory regime. A separate federal district court in D.C. later vacated the rule for failure to comply with notice-and-comment requirements.

    Immigration
    Democratic
  • American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers v. Environmental Protection Agency, 937 F.3d 559 (D.C. Cir. 2019)

    September 6, 2019: A federal appeals court in D.C. held that EPA violated its obligations under the Endangered Species Act in finalizing its 2018 Renewable Fuel Program rule and remanded the rule without vacatur.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    Republican
  • Clean Water Action v. Environmental Protection Agency, 936 F.3d 308  (5th Cir. 2019)

    August 28, 2019: A federal appeals court held that EPA’s postponement of compliance dates for restrictions on toxic-metal wastewater discharges from power plants was not arbitrary and capricious. (This is the second delay of that rule. A previous delay was withdrawn. See the entry dated September 18, 2017.)

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation
    Republican
  • Philbrick v. Azar, 397 F. Supp. 3d 11 (D.D.C. 2019)

    July 29, 2019: A federal district court in DC held that Health and Human Service’s November 20, 2018, decision approving New Hampshire’s Medicaid work requirement plan—an effort to roll back the Medicaid expansion in the Affordable Care Act—was arbitrary and capricious for failure to address the lost coverage that would occur under the decision.  The court also found that the agency’s decision failed to advance the purposes of the Medicaid Act.

    Health; Housing & Public Assistance
    Democratic
  • Idaho Conservation League v. Wheeler, 930 F.3d 494 (D.C. Cir. 2019)

    July 19, 2019: A federal appeals court in D.C. upheld EPA's decision not to finalize a proposed Obama-era rule that would have required hard-rock mine operators to establish and maintain evidence of financial responsibility to prove they could pay for cleanup in the event of toxic disasters or hazardous spills. The court rejected arguments that the decision contravened the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, was arbitrary and capricious, and was procedurally defective.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation
    Republican
  • Association for Community of Affiliated Plans v. Department of the Treasury, 392 F. Supp. 3d 22 (D.D.C. 2019), affirmed 2020 WL 4032806 (D.C. Cir. July 17, 2020)

    July 17, 2019: A federal district court in D.C. held that the updated “short-term limited duration insurance” (STLDI) rule is consistent with the Affordable Care Act. In July 2020, a federal appeals court affirmed

    Health
    Republican
  • Merck & Co., Inc. v. Department of Health & Human Services, 385 F. Supp. 3d 81 (D.D.C. 2019), affirmed 962 F.3d 531 (D.C. Cir. 2020)

    July 8, 2019: A federal district court in D.C. held that a Department of Health and Human Services rule requiring drug manufacturers to post drug prices in T.V. ads was not statutorily authorized.

    Consumer Protection & Education; Health
    Democratic
  • Department of Commerce v. New York, 139 S.Ct. 2551, 2575 (2019)

    June 27, 2019: The U.S. Supreme Court held that the Secretary of Commerce’s decision to reinstate a question concerning citizenship status on the census was arbitrary and capricious for failure to provide a reasoned explanation.

    Immigration
    Republican
  • Center for Biological Diversity v. Bureau of Land Management, No. 17-8587, 2019 WL 2635587, (C.D. Cal. June 20, 2019)

    June 20, 2019: A federal district court in California held that the Bureau of Land Management had failed to adequately explain its decision to withdraw the agency’s prior opinion requiring federal review for projects that could affect national parks and other public lands.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation
    Republican
  • United Steel v. Mine Safety & Health Administration, 925 F.3d 1279 (D.C. Cir. 2019)

    June 11, 2019: A federal appeals court in D.C. vacated the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s amended rule on safety inspections, and reinstated the prior stricter safety standard.  The court found that the amended rule violated the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act by illegally reducing mine safety, and held that the agency had failed to provide a reasoned explanation for the amended rule. 

    Deregulation; Worker Protection & Discrimination
    Republican
  • American Academy of Pediatrics v. Food and Drug Administration, 379 F.Supp. 3d 461 (D. Md. 2019)

    May 15, 2019: A federal district court in Maryland held that the Food and Drug Administration had illegally failed to follow notice-and-comment requirements and the governing statute when the agency delayed a rule that would have required e-cigarette manufacturers to obtain pre-approval before marketing their products.

    Consumer Protection & Education; Deregulation
    Democratic
  • California v. Environmental Protection Agency, 385 F.Supp.3d 903 (N.D. Cal. 2019)

    May 6, 2019: A federal district court in California ordered EPA to stop delaying the implementation of a rule designed to limit methane emissions at landfills, finding that the delay was in violation of the Clean Air Act.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation
    Democratic
  • EDF v. Environmental Protection Agency, 922 F.3d 446 (D.C. Cir. 2019)

    April 26, 2019: A federal appeals court held that the Environmental Protection Agency's 2017 "Inventory Rule" violated the Toxic Substances Control Act by failing to ensure that companies meet certain requirements prior to claiming confidentiality under the Act.  The court rejected several other claims brought by plaintiffs. 

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    Democratic
  • Center for Biological Diversity v. Zinke 18-02857 (D.D.C.)

    April 26, 2019: After being sued for failing to respond to a petition to protect giraffes under the Endangered Species Act, the Department of Interior and Fish and Wildlife Service initiated the requested review to determine if giraffes should be listed as endangered.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    N/A
  • Citizens for Clean Energy v. Department of the Interior, 384 F. Supp. 3d 1264 (D. Mont. 2019)

    April 19, 2019: A federal district court in Montana remanded Interior’s decision to lift the existing moratorium on coal leasing of federal lands after finding that the agency had violated the National Environmental Protection Act by failing to conduct a proper environmental impact analysis. After the agencies prepared a new Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact, plaintiffs requested an injunctiom but the court denied it holding that any assessment of the new documents must await a new complaint. See 2020 WL 2615527 (May 22, 2020).

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation
    Democratic
  • Natural Resources Defense Council v. Ross, No. 19-431 (D.D.C.)

    April 15, 2019: After being sued for violating the Endangered Species Act and the Administration Procedures Act, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) listed the Gulf of Mexico Bryde’s whale as endangered.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    N/A
  • Innovation Law Lab v. Nielsen, 366 F.Supp.3d 1110, 1114 (N.D. Cal. 2019), stayed (U.S.S.C. March 11, 2020)

    April 8, 2019: A federal district court in California enjoined the “Migrant Protection Protocols,”a Department of Homeland Security rule requiring non-Mexican asylum-seekers to remain in Mexico for the duration of their immigration proceedings. The injunction was stayed by the Supreme Court on March 11, 2020. An appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit remains pending.

    Immigration
    Democratic
  • Potomac Riverkeeper, Inc. v. Wheeler, 381 F. Supp. 3d 1 (D.D.C. 2019), aff’d 2020 WL 2610887 (D.C. Cir. 2020)

    March 31, 2019: A federal district court in D.C. rejected plaintiffs challenge to EPA’s approval of Virginia’s impaired waters list, holding that the approval was not contrary to the Clean Water Act.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    Republican
  • Friends of Alaska v. Bernhardt, 381 F. Supp. 3d 1127 (D. Alaska 2019), appeal dropped (9th Cir. 19-35451)

    March 29, 2019: A federal district court in Alaska vacated the Department of Interior’s decision to reverse course and open an Alaskan refuge to road construction. The court found that the agency had illegally ignored its prior determination regarding the road’s environmental impact and failed to provide a reasoned explanation for departing from the decision not to build the road.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    Democratic
  • California v. Department of the Interior, 381 F. Supp. 3d 1153 (N.D. Cal. 2019)

    March 29, 2019: A federal district court in California vacated Interior’s repeal of the Valuation Rule reforming the procedures governing royalties, finding that the agency failed to provide a reasoned explanation for repealing the rule. 

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation
    Republican
  • New York v. Department of Labor, 363 F.Supp. 3d 109 (D.D.C. 2019), appeal filed (D.C. Cir. 19-5125)

    March 28, 2019: A federal district court in D.C. held that the Department of Labor’s rule regarding association health plans was designed to circumvent the healthcare market requirements imposed by the Affordable Care Act and exceeded the agency’s statutory authority under Employee Income Retirement Security Act.

    Health
    Republican
  • Stewart v. Azar, 366 F. Supp. 3d 125, 130 (D.D.C. 2019), appeal dismissed Stewart v. Azar, Nos. 19-5095, 19-5097, 2020 U.S. App. LEXIS 535 (D.C. Cir. Jan. 8, 2020).

    March 27, 2019: A federal district court in DC held that Health and Human Service’s November 20, 2018, decision approving Kentucky’s Medicaid work requirement plan—an effort to roll back the Medicaid expansion in the Affordable Care Act—was arbitrary and capricious for failure to address the lost coverage that would occur under the decision. Additionally, the court found that the decision violated the governing statute. (A previous and similar rule was also vacated. See the entry dated June 29, 2018.)

    Health; Housing & Public Assistance
    Democratic
  • Gresham v. Azar, 363 F. Supp. 3d 165 (D.D.C. 2019), affirmed Gresham v. Azar, 950 F.3d 93 (D.C. Cir. 2020)

    March 27, 2019: A federal district court in DC held that Health and Human Service’s March 2018 decision approving Arkansas’s Medicaid work requirement plan—an effort to roll back the Medicaid expansion in the Affordable Care Act—was arbitrary and capricious for failure to address the lost coverage that would occur under the decision.

    Health; Housing & Public Assistance
    Democratic
  • Upper Missouri Waterkeeper v. Environmental Protection Agency, 377 F. Supp. 3d 1156, 1169–70 (D.Mont. 2019)

    March 25, 2019: A federal district court in Montana held that EPA violated the Clean Water Act in allowing a seventeen-year timeline to meet a water quality standard. See also Upper Missouri Waterkeeper v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2019 WL 7020145 (D.Mont. 2019) (denying EPA’s motion to amend the judgment).

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    Democratic
  • National Women’s Law Center v. Office of Management and Budget, 358 F. Supp. 3d 66 (D.D.C. 2019), appeal dismissed as moot (D.C. Cir. 19-5130)

    March 4, 2019: A federal district court in DC vacated the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) stay of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s 2016 wage discrimination data collection effort for failure to comply with OMB’s own regulations. In June 2020, the appeal was dismissed as moot “in light of the parties’ agreement that the government has substantially complied with the district court’s post-judgment orders.” 

    Deregulation; Worker Protection & Discrimination
    Democratic
  • California v. Azar, 351 F. Supp. 3d 1267 (N.D. Cal. 2019), affirmed 941 F.3d 410 (9th Cir. 2019)

    January 13, 2019: A federal district court entered a non-nationwide preliminary injunction enjoining enforcement of two rules that would have allowed more employers to claim exemptions from the requirement that their health plans cover contraceptive services at no cost under the Affordable Care Act. The court held that plaintiffs were likely to succeed at showing that the new rules were not in accordance with the Affordable Care Act and thus violated the Administrative Procedure Act. Another federal district court in Pennsylvania blocked the suspensions on a nationwide basis. See Pennsylvania v. President, 351 F. Supp. 3d 791 (E.D. Pa. 2019), affirmed 930 F.3d 543 (3d Cir. 2019). (The two new rules had replaced a rule that had previously been enjoined. See the entry dated December 15, 2017.)

    Health
    Democratic
  • East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Trump, 349 F. Supp. 3d 838 (N.D. Cal. November 19, 2018), affirmed East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Trump, 932 F.3d 742 (9th Cir. 2018)

    November 19, 2018: A federal district court enjoined an Interim Final Rule which barred asylum for immigrants who entered the country outside of a designated port of entry, finding that the rule violated the controlling statute.

    Immigration
    Democratic
  • Regents of the University of California v. Department of Homeland Security, 908 F.3d 476 (9th Cir. 2018), affirmed (U.S.S.C. Nos. 18-587, 18-588, 18-589)

    November 8, 2018: A federal appeals court affirmed a decision enjoining the Department of Homeland Security’s rescission of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) on the grounds that plaintiffs were likely to succeed in demonstrating that the rescission was arbitrary and capricious under settled law. A different federal district court separately enjoined the rescission. Batalla Vidal v. Nielsen, 279 F. Supp. 3d 401, 429 (E.D.N.Y. 2018). Another court vacated the rescission. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People v. Trump, 315 F. Supp. 3d 457, 461 (D.D.C. 2018). A third district court denied a motion to enjoin the rescission, but the rescission remains enjoined given the multiple decisions ruling against the agency. See Casa De Maryland v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 284 F. Supp. 3d 758, 779 (D. Md. 2018). On June 18, 2020, the Supreme Court found that the rescission was arbitrary and capricious. 

    Immigration; Deregulation
    Democratic
  • Oceana, Inc. v. Ross, No. 17-05146, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 185369 (C.D. Cal. Oct. 24, 2018), appeal dropped (9th Cir. 19-55021)

    October 24, 2018: A federal district court in California held that federal defendants’ decision to withdraw a proposed regulation protecting fish species from inadvertent death or injury through gillnets was arbitrary, capricious, and in excess of its statutory authority under the Magnus-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation
    Republican
  • Paralyzed Veterans of America v. Department of Transportation, Nos. 17-1272, 18-5016 (D.C. Cir.)

    October 23, 2018: The Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that airlines should comply with the Reporting Rule, a rule designed to make air travel safer and easier for passengers with disabilities, after the Paralyzed Veterans of America filed a lawsuit, alleging that DOT violated the Administrative Procedure Act’s notice-and-comment requirements and failed to provide an adequate explanation for its decision to delay implementation of the rule.

    Consumer Protection & Education; Deregulation
    N/A
  • Organization for Competitive Markets v. Department of Agriculture, 912 F.3d 455 (8th Cir. 2018)

    September 26, 2018: A federal appeals court found that it was not arbitrary and capricious for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to withdraw an interim final rule and proposed regulations related to the marketing of livestock, meat, and poultry.

    Consumer Protection & Education; Deregulation
    Republican
  • Crow Indian Tribe v. United States, 343 F. Supp. 3d 999, 1004 (D.Mont. 2018), affirmed No. 18-36030, 2020 WL 3831636 (9th Cir. July 8, 2020)

    September 24, 2018: A federal district court in Montana that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's decision to delist a population of grizzly bears in Yellowstone National Park from the federal list of endangered species violated the Endangered Species Act because the agency had not studied the effects that delisting that population would have on other populations of the species. The Ninth Circuit upheld that decision.  

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation
    Democratic
  • Western Watersheds Project v. Zinke, 336 F. Supp. 3d 1204 (D. Idaho 2018), appeal filed (9th Cir. 20-35342)

    September 21, 2018: A federal district court in Idaho enjoined a Bureau of Land Management rule limiting environmental review and public participation in oil and gas lease sales that would threaten the sage grouse for violating Administrative Procedure Act notice-and-comment requirements, for exceeding its statutory authority under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, and for violating the National Environmental Policy Act. On February 27, 2020, the district court held that the grounds for the preliminary injunction remained sound and granted summary judgment in plaintiffs’ favor.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation
    N/A (Magistrate)
  • Bauer v. DeVos, 325 F. Supp. 3d 74 (D.D.C. 2018)

    September 12, 2018: A federal district court in D.C. found that the Department of Education’s third delay of the Borrower Defense Rule was illegal because the agency failed to comply with the negotiated rulemaking requirements of the Higher Education Act.

    Consumer Protection & Education; Deregulation
    Democratic
  • Bauer v. DeVos, 325 F. Supp. 3d 74 (D.D.C. 2018)

    September 12, 2018: A federal district court in D.C. found that the Department of Education’s second delay of the Borrower Defense Rule was contrary to the Higher Education Act.

    Consumer Protection & Education; Deregulation
    Democratic
  • Bauer v. DeVos, 325 F. Supp. 3d 74 (D.D.C. 2018)

    September 12, 2018: A federal district court in D.C. found that the Department of Education’s first delay, issued under section 705 of the Administration Procedure Act, of the Borrower Defense Rule was arbitrary and capricious for failure to provide any meaningful analysis or valid reasons for the delay.

    Consumer Protection & Education; Deregulation
    Democratic
  • National Fair Housing Alliance v. Carson, 330 F. Supp. 3d 14 (D.D.C. 2018)

    August 17, 2018: A federal district court in D.C. granted a motion to dismiss a claim that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development had illegally withdrawn a tool necessary for compliance with fair housing requirements.

    Housing & Public Assistance; Deregulation
    Democratic
  • Air Alliance Houston v. Environmental Protection Agency, 906 F.3d 1049 (D.C. Cir. 2018)

    August 17, 2018: A federal appeals court held that the Environmental Protection Agency’s suspension of the Chemical Disaster Rule violated the Clean Air Act and was arbitrary and capricious for failure to provide a reasoned explanation.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation
    Democratic
  • South Carolina Coastal Conservation League v. Pruitt, 318 F. Supp. 3d 959 (D.S.C. 2018), appeal dropped (4th Cir. No. 18-1988)

    August 16, 2018: A federal district court in South Carolina enjoined the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) suspension of the Obama-era Clean Water Rule. The court held that the agency failed to seek public comment on the full scope of the action, and failed to provide a reasoned analysis of the suspension. Later, a separate federal district court in Washington vacated EPA’s delay of the Clean Water Rule for the same reason. Puget Soundkeeper Alliance v. Wheeler, No. C15-1342, 2018 WL 6169196 (W.D. Wa. Nov. 26, 2018), appeal dropped (9th Cir. No. 19-35074).

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation
    Republican
  • Natural Resources Defense Council v. Department of Energy, No. 17-06989 (S.D.N.Y.)

    August 13, 2018: The Department of Energy lifted a suspension of efficiency rules for air conditioners and heat pumps after being sued for failing to comply with the law in delaying. The court later found that the suspension was arbitrary and capricious because the agency failed to provide a reasoned explanation for its action, and that the challenge was not moot, despite the agency’s decision to lift the suspension. See Natural Resources Defense Council v. Department of Energy, 362 F. Supp. 3d 126 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 22, 2019).

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation
    N/A
  • League of United Latin American Citizens v. Wheeler, 899 F.3d 814 (9th Cir. 2018)

    August 9, 2018: A federal appeals court held that the Environmental Protection Agency’s reversal of the conclusion that the pesticide chlorpyrifos should be restricted violated the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation
    Democratic
  • Natural Resources Defense Council v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 18-25 (2d Cir.)

    July 31, 2018: After being sued for violating the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the Administrative Procedure Act’s notice-and-comment requirements in issuing the Framework Rule, EPA filed a brief and affidavit in the case explaining that it was not following the Framework Rule.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    N/A
  • Environmental Defense Fund v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 18-1190 (D.C. Cir.); California v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 18-1192 (D.C. Cir.)

    July 27, 2018: The Environmental Protection Agency withdrew a memorandum promising that the agency would not enforce a 2016 rule limiting glider truck emissions after the agency was sued for failing to comply with the Administrative Procedure Act’s notice-and-comment requirements and for lack of statutory authority to put off the 2016 rule.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation
    N/A
  • Natural Resources Defense Council v. Ross, 331 F. Supp. 3d 1338 (CIT 2018)

    July 26, 2018: The Court of International Trade granted a preliminary injunction ordering the Department of Commerce and several other federal agencies to ban the importation of fish or fish products from any Mexican commercial fishery that uses gillnets within the endangered vaquita’s range in violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. 

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    Democratic
  • Ergon-West Virginia, Incorporated v. Environmental Protection Agency, 896 F.3d 600 (4th Cir. 2018)

    July 20, 2018: A federal appeals court vacated EPA’s decision denying a small refinery exemption under the renewable fuel standard program.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    Republican
  • Stewart v. Azar, 313 F. Supp. 3d 237 (D.D.C. 2018)

    June 29, 2018: A federal district court in DC held that Health and Human Service’s January 12, 2018, decision approving Kentucky’s Medicaid work requirement plan—an effort to roll back the Medicaid expansion in the Affordable Care Act—was arbitrary and capricious for failure to address the lost coverage that would occur under the decision and for failure to consider the health harms as compared to the benefits of the rollback.

    Health; Housing & Public Assistance
    Democratic
  • New York v. Pruitt, No. 18-04739 (S.D.N.Y.)

    June 22, 2018: The Environmental Protection Agency published training materials for farmers exposed to poisonous pesticides after being sued for delaying the release of those materials in violation of the agency’s own regulations. 

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation; Worker Protection & Discrimination
    N/A
  • Healthy Teen Network v. Azar, 322 F. Supp. 3d 647 (D. Md. 2018), appeal dropped (4th Cir. 18-1709)

    April 25, 2018: A federal district court in Maryland held that Health and Human Service’s decision to terminate a grant for teen pregnancy prevention was arbitrary and capricious for failure to address the relevant statutory factors. Other district courts have ruled against similar terminations for other grantees.

    Health
    Democratic
  • Natural Resources Defense Council v. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 894 F.3d 95 (2d Cir. 2018)

    April 23, 2018: On April 23, 2018, a federal appeals court vacated the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) delay of its 2016 rule adjusting penalties for violations of fuel economy standards, explaining that an opinion would follow. On June 29, 2018, the court issued its opinion, holding that NHTSA did not have statutory authority for the suspension and that NHTSA violated the Administrative Procedure Act’s notice-and-comment requirements.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation
    Republican
  • City of Chicago v. Sessions, 888 F.3d 272 (7th Cir. 2018)

    April 19, 2018: A federal appeals court granted a preliminary injunction prohibiting the conditions imposed by the Justice Department on annual federal grants from the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program, which targeted sanctuary cities, as the conditions were likely in violation of the constitutional separation of powers.

    Immigration
    Republican
  • Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste v. Pruitt, 293 F. Supp. 3d 1062 (N.D. Cal. 2018)

    March 21, 2018: A federal district court in California held that the Environmental Protection Agency’s delays of a rule designed to limit harmful pesticide use were illegal because the agency failed to comply with the Administrative Procedure Act’s notice-and-comment requirements.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation
    Republican
  • In re Ozone Designation Litigation, 286 F. Supp. 3d 1082 (N.D. Cal. 2018)

    March 12, 2018: A federal district court in California held that EPA’s delay in completing a step in the implementation of new ozone emissions rules violated the Clean Air Act.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation
    Democratic
  • Natural Resources Defense Council v. Zinke, Docket No. 17-02504 (D.D.C.)

    March 1, 2018: After being sued for violating the Administrative Procedure Act and the Endangered Species Act when reversing course on two previous findings that had blocked the imports of elephants and lions from Zambia and Zimbabwe, the Department of Interior and Fish and Wildlife Service withdrew the new policy. The agency subsequently announced that it would apply that policy in individual adjudications. (See the entry dated June 16, 2020.)

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources
    N/A
  • California v. Bureau of Land Management, 286 F. Supp. 3d 1054 (N.D. Cal. 2018), appeal dropped (9th Cir. No. 18-15711)

    February 22, 2018: A federal district court in California issued a preliminary injunction enjoining the Bureau of Land Management’s second delay of the Waste Prevention Rule. The court held that plaintiffs were likely to prevail in showing that the agency violated the Administrative Procedure Act’s notice-and-comment requirements, and that the rule was arbitrary and capricious because the agency failed to give a reasoned explanation for turning its back on the facts underlying its decision to issue the Waste Prevention Rule.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation
    Democratic
  • Sierra Club v. Pruitt, 293 F. Supp. 3d 1050 (N.D. Cal. 2018)

    February 16, 2018: A federal district court in California held that the Environmental Protection Agency’s stay of a rule limiting formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products violated the Formaldehyde Act, because the Act requires expeditious compliance with the standards.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation
    Republican
  • Natural Resources Defense Council v. Perry, 302 F. Supp. 3d 1094 (N.D. Cal. 2018), affirmed, Natural Resources Defense Council v. Perry, 940 F.3d 1072  (9th Cir. 2019)

    February 15, 2018: A federal district court in California held that the Department of Energy illegally delayed publishing stricter energy efficiency standards for industrial equipment and home appliances in violation of the agency's own regulations. The Ninth Circuit later affirmed the lower court ruling.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation
    Democratic
  • Open Communities Alliance v. Carson, 286 F. Supp. 3d 148 (D.D.C. 2017)

    December 23, 2017: A federal district court in Washington D.C. issued a preliminary injunction against the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s delay of a rule increasing access to housing for low-income tenants. The court found that plaintiffs were likely to show HUD’s delay was arbitrary and capricious because the agency failed to consider an important aspect of the problem, and that the agency had violated the Administrative Procedure Act’s notice-and-comment requirements. 

    Housing & Public Assistance; Deregulation
    Democratic
  • National Venture Capital Association v. Duke, 291 F. Supp. 3d 5 (D.D.C. 2017)

    December 1, 2017: A federal district court in Washington D.C. vacated the delay of the Entrepreneur Rule, holding that the delay violated the Administrative Procedure Act’s notice-and-comment requirements.

    Immigration; Deregulation
    Democratic
  • California v. Bureau of Land Management, 277 F. Supp. 3d 1106 (N.D. Cal. 2017), appeal dropped (9th Cir. No. 17-17456)

    October 4, 2017: A federal district court in California vacated the Bureau of Land Management’s delay of the Waste Prevention Rule, a rule limiting waste of natural gas. The court found that the agency violated the Administrative Procedure Act’s notice-and-comment requirements and that the agency had arbitrarily failed to consider the forgone benefits of the Waste Prevention Rule.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation
    N/A (Magistrate)
  • Clean Air Carolina v. Department of Transportation, No. 17-5779 (S.D.N.Y.)

    September 28, 2017: After being sued for violating notice-and-comment requirements, the Federal Highway Administration announced that it would end the indefinite delay of its greenhouse gas measurement rule.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation
    N/A
  • Center for Science in the Public Interest v. Price, No. 17-1085 (D.D.C.)

    September 27, 2017: After being sued for delaying a rule that would have required restaurants to post calorie counts, the agency agreed to allow the rule to come into effect. Plaintiffs alleged the agency had violated the Administrative Procedure Act’s notice-and-comment procedures and failed to provide a reasoned explanation for the changed approach.

    Health; Deregulation
    N/A
  • Clean Water Action v. Pruitt, No. 17-0817 (D.D.C.)

    September 18, 2017: After being sued, EPA withdrew the indefinite delay of a rule restricting toxic-metal wastewater discharges from power plants, and replaced it with a new delay. Later, a federal district court in D.C. denied summary judgment against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), finding that the challenge to the delay was moot because it had been withdrawn. 315 F. Supp. 3d 72 (D.D.C. 2018), appeal docketed (D.C. Cir. No. 18-5149).

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation
    N/A
  • Becerra v. Department of Interior, 276 F. Supp. 3d 953 (N.D. Cal. 2017)

    August 30, 2017: A federal district court in California held that the Department of Interior’s delay of a rule reforming the procedures governing royalties violated the Administrative Procedure Act in two ways: (1) the agency had failed to seek public comment on the delay and (2) the agency lacked statutory authority for the delay.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation
    Democratic
  • Natural Resources Defense Council v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 17-1157 (D.C. Cir.)

    August 29, 2017: The Environmental Protection Agency allowed a rule limiting methane emissions at landfills to come back into effect after being sued for delaying the rule without statutory authority.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation
    N/A
  • American Lung Association v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 17-1172 (D.C. Cir.)

    August 10, 2017: After being sued for acting outside of its statutory authority, and for failing to provide a reasoned explanation for its change, the Environmental Protection Agency pulled back on the delay of a rule restricting harmful ozone pollution.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation
    N/A
  • Clean Air Council v. Pruitt, 862 F.3d 1 (D.C. Cir. 2017)

    July 3, 2017: The U.S. Court of Appeals vacated the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) delay of a rule limiting methane leaks at oil and gas facilities. The rule requires companies to plug methane leaks, which would help recover valuable natural gas as well as help clean up the air. EPA delayed the rule, claiming that industry had raised objections that could not have been raised prior to the rule’s issuance. The court found that the delay was outside the agency’s authority under the Clean Air Act.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation
    Democratic
  • Natural Resources Defense Council v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 17-00751 (S.D.N.Y.)

    June 14, 2017: After being sued for failing to follow notice-and-comment procedures, the Environmental Protection Agency published a final rule setting limits on discharges of mercury from dental offices, which had been withdrawn from the Office of Federal Register in January 2017 prior to publication.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation
    N/A
  • Natural Resources Defense Council v. Perry, No. 17-916 (2d Cir.); New York v. Perry, No. 17-918 (2d Cir.)

    May 24, 2017: After being sued for failing to comply with the Administrative Procedure Act’s notice-and-comment requirements in delaying conservation standards for ceiling fans, the Department of Energy announced that the rule would come into effect as originally scheduled.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation
    N/A
  • Natural Resources Defense Council v. Department of Interior, No. 17-01130 (S.D.N.Y.)

    March 21, 2017: After being sued for failing to follow notice-and-comment procedures in its delay of protections for the rusty patched bumble bee, the Department of Interior allowed the listing to go into effect.

    Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources; Deregulation
    N/A
  1. The Institute for Policy Integrity has filed amicus briefs in several of the cases discussed in this Roundup. Policy Integrity did not represent any of the parties. ↩︎
  2. The Roundup does not include litigation over self-implementing presidential memoranda or executive orders or over project-level decisions. It includes outcomes of all cases of which we are aware and is continually updated with newly decided cases as well as new information and analysis. For questions or to submit updates, contact bethany.davisnoll @ nyu.edu. ↩︎
  3. At times, advocates have brought lawsuits over a single agency action in multiple different courts. The Roundup combines decisions from different courts regarding the same agency action in a single entry. ↩︎
  4. Some rules that went back into effect were later repealed or further suspended by the relevant agency. Brookings tracks rulemaking activity on that front. ↩︎
  5. If a ruling vacating or enjoining an agency action is not nationwide, that will be addressed in the chart. ↩︎
  6. Lawsuits that were dismissed for reasons other than a finding that the agency had complied with the law are not included. There is a small number of such dismissals and those dismissals say nothing about whether the agency’s action complied with the law. See, e.g., Make The Road New York v. Wolf, 2020 WL 3421904 (D.C. Cir. 2020) (decision was unreviewable because committed to the agency's sole discretion); California Communities Against Toxics, et al., v. Environmental Protection Agency, et al., 934 F.3d 627 (D.C. Cir. 2019) (not a final agency action); Free Press, et al. v. FCC, et al., 735 Fed. Appx. 731 (D.C. Cir. 2018) (standing); Organic Trade Association v. Department of Agriculture, 370 F. Supp. 3d 98 (D.D.C. 2019) (mootness); Sierra Club v. Environmental Protection Agency, 926 F.3d 844 (D.C. Cir. 2019) (improper venue). ↩︎
  7. A case may fall under more than one category. ↩︎
  8. This section tracks the political party affiliation of the judge’s nominating president. If the decision was issued by a panel of judges, this section tracks the political party affiliation of the nominating president for the majority of the judges on the panel. “Mixed” refers to a case where there were only two judges deciding the case and those judges were nominated by presidents of different parties. “N/A” refers to a case where the agency withdrew the action before a court could rule on the legality of the action. "N/A (Magistrate)" refers to a case where a magistrate judge issued the decision. ↩︎