The Trump administration is losing court battles at an unprecedented rate, with many losses coming because officials failed to follow basic rules in changing policy.
Federal judges have ruled against the administration at least 63 times since Trump took office, The Washington Post reported. Two-thirds of those cases involved complaints that the administration violated the Administrative Procedure Act, a 1946 law that set procedural requirements that federal agencies must follow when unilaterally changing policies or regulations.
The normal “win rate” for the government in such cases is about 70 percent, the Post reported, but according to the Institute for Policy Integrity at the New York University School of Law, the Trump administration’s win rate in these cases is just 6 percent.
“What they have consistently been doing is short-circuiting the process,” Georgetown Law professor William Buzbee told the Post, adding that the administration doesn’t “even come close” to providing legitimate explanations for the rule changes, “making it very easy for the courts to reject them because they’re not doing their homework.”
Only some cases involve bumbling officials. Others involve the president’s innate ability to torpedo his own agenda. At least a dozen decisions in which judges have ruled against the administration have involved Trump’s tweets or comments.
Just last year, a federal judge ruled against the administration’s move to end temporary legal status for immigrants from Central America, Haiti and Sudan because Trump’s “shithole countries” remark suggested the policy was motivated by ethnic or racial bias.
Trump has repeatedly complained that he keeps losing in court because of “Obama judges,” but numerous Republican-appointed judges have reached the same conclusions as those appointed by Trump’s predecessor.