Executive Branch

Court dockets will shrink as Donald Trump rescinds Obama administration actions

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Donald Trump. Photo by a katz / Shutterstock.com

Lawsuits stemming from executive actions and legal interpretations by the Obama administration are likely to be removed from the U.S. Supreme Court docket and lower federal courts as a result of a shift in policies when Donald Trump takes office.

Likely changes will affect cases involving immigration, the Affordable Care Act, climate change and transgender rights, according to stories by the National Review, Bloomberg View, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) and Lyle Denniston Law News.

“Though the Supreme Court will expand with a Trump nominee to replace Justice Scalia, its docket will get a lot smaller,” South Texas College of Law Houston professor Josh Blackman writes in his article for the National Review.

The cases include:

• A challenge to President Barack Obama’s power to implement by executive action a deferred deportation program, known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court split 4-4 in the case, leaving in place a nationwide injunction blocking the initiative. The case is back before a federal court in Brownsville, Texas. Trump is likely to rescind the program and the government will move to dismiss the case. The case is United States v. Texas.

• A transgender teen’s lawsuit claiming his high school’s ban on his use of the boys’ restroom violates Title IX, the federal law that bars schools that receive federal funds from discriminating on the basis of sex. The case is pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. A federal appeals court that ruled for the teen cited a federal interpretation of Title IX that concludes the law requires schools to treat transgender students consistent with their gender identity. The interpretation was made in a “Dear Colleague” letter to schools. Trump could retract the letter, and the Justice Department could ask the Supreme Court to remove the case from its docket. The teen is also claiming an equal protection violation, but lower courts haven’t ruled on that issue yet. The case is Gloucester County School Board v. G.C.

• A challenge to the opt-out procedure for religiously affiliated organizations that don’t want to provide contraceptive insurance coverage for their employees. At issue were rules interpreting the Affordable Care Act issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court noted a potential compromise in the case and remanded. In his article at Bloomberg View, Harvard law professor Noah Feldman says the agency could rewrite the rules, though it would require notice and public comment. There is also a chance that the entire health-care law will be rescinded.

• A challenge to the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Trump could withdraw the plan and the EPA could begin a rewrite of the rules. The Justice Department could ask the court to stay the litigation until the new rules are adopted.

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