AFJ Action Campaign is tracking the votes of every senator up for reelection in 2020 on Trump’s worst of the worst judges. Each senator who voted to confirm these judges owns the decisions—these decisions are harming people every day. See how your senator voted for some of the worst of the worst judges here.
In Hall v. United States Department of Agriculture, Ninth Circuit judge Eric Miller affirmed a District Court ruling against California beneficiaries of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) who have been denied access to emergency federal funding meant to support families during the deadly Covid-19 pandemic. The plaintiffs sought an injunction against enforcement of the Department of Agriculture’s rule that the neediest families, those qualifying for the maximum amount of SNAP benefits, may not access additional emergency funding despite the additional burdens that the pandemic has placed on those families. The court acknowledged that the Department’s rule was not the most fair or effective way to disburse emergency funding, but still ruled against the plaintiffs, ignoring the plain language of the statute which states that all SNAP households are eligible for emergency aid.
In In Re: Michael T. Flynn, D.C. Circuit judge Neomi Rao argued that a district court judge must immediately dismiss a case against Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security advisor. The move came after the Justice Department took the extraordinary step of deciding it no longer wanted to pursue charges against Flynn, despite the fact that he had twice pleaded guilty.
In English v. Trump, D.C. district court judge Timothy Kelly refused to block President Trump from installing his budget director, Mick Mulvaney, as the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, even though the Dodd-Frank Act stipulated that the deputy director of the CFPB, Leandra English, should lead in the case of directors absence. English had been made deputy director prior to the resignation of Richard Cordray, who had been appointed by President Obama.
In Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives v. Treasury Dept, et. al, D.C. district court judge Trevor McFadden repeatedly delayed ruling on a lawsuit brought by the House to enforce a subpoena of Trump’s tax returns, despite his prior acknowledgment that Democrats had a “really strong argument” that the law was on their side. This helped Trump continue to dodge releasing incriminating financial records that would hurt his chances of re-election.
In U.S. v. Internet Research Agency et. al, D.C. district court judge Dabney L. Friedrich approved the Justice Department’s request to end a two-year-long prosecution of a Russian company charged with conspiring to defraud the U.S. government by orchestrating a social media campaign to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. The Russian firm had been indicted in Mueller’s election interference probe.
In U.S. House of Representatives v. Mnuchin, D.C. district court judge Trevor McFadden dismissed a lawsuit brought by the House of Representatives to block Trump from using $2.5 billion of military funds to build an “emergency” border wall. According to McFadden, the House did not have standing to sue the Executive Branch for diverting billions of dollars that were appropriated for other purposes.
Although not in the majority, in Trump v. Mazars, D.C. Circuit judges Neomi Rao and Gregory Katsas, dissenting, would have denied Congress the ability to obtain President Trump’s tax returns. Rao argued that allegations of illegal conduct against the President cannot be investigated by Congress except through impeachment.
In Make the Road New York v. Wolf, D.C. Circuit judge Naomi Rao would have held that the court did not have jurisdiction to hear a challenge brought against a Trump Administration policy that subjects hundreds of thousands of immigrants to expedited removal without a hearing and other procedural protections. According to Rao, immigration law “expressly bars the courts” from reviewing legal challenges to certain immigration regulations. The majority strongly disagreed that such cases are unreviewable.
In Sierra Club v. Trump, Ninth Circuit judge Daniel Collins argued in dissent that it was lawful for President Trump to divert appropriated funds to construct a wall along the southern border in California, New Mexico, and Arizona. As the majority pointed out, such a move was unconstitutional because the “[a]ppropriations Clause of the U.S. Constitution exclusively grants the power of the purse to Congress.”
In Cook County v. Wolf, Seventh Circuit judge Amy Coney Barrett argued in dissent that the Trump administration’s “public charge” rule was lawful and should be upheld. The rule would deny immigrants permanent residence if they received any form of public assistance, including Medicaid or food stamps, for more than 12 months in a three-year period, even though Congress has made these benefits available to them.
In National Urban League v. Ross, Ninth Circuit Judge Patrick Bumatay would have allowed the Trump Administration to end Census fieldwork one month early, preventing millions of people from being counted and considered during redistricting and in the allotment of government funds. Though the majority noted the compelling evidence on the record that the accelerated process would prevent the Census from being completed in a timely and effective fashion, Bumatay nevertheless argued that the Secretary’s determination that the Census would remain accurate under the shortened timeline was well-reasoned and entitled to deference, making an injunction inappropriate. As the majority correctly stated, Bumatay’s argument relied on an “unsupported premise,” limited to just one conclusory statement by the Secretary with no factual evidence on the record.
In Sierra Club v. Trump, Ninth Circuit judge DanielCollins dissented from a panel ruling that President Trump was not authorized to reallocate funds Congress appropriated for necessary military construction to instead build a wall along the border between Mexico and the United States. The panel held that “power to legislate for emergencies belongs in the hands of Congress,” and declined to usurp that legislative authority and give it to the President to build a border wall over Congress’s clear disagreement. In dissent, Collins argued that the president has statutory authority to reappropriate military funds when he determines it is necessary to do so to address a national emergency in an area under military jurisdiction. However, as Chief Judge Thomas pointed out in the opinion, such an interpretation would empower the president to “reallocate military construction funds to build anything they want, anywhere they want, provided they first obtain jurisdiction over the land where the construction will occur.”
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