Washington, D.C. – As People For the American Way continues to promote qualified Biden-Harris executive branch and judicial nominees, we have continued our research and reporting on the troubling votes and decisions by Trump appellate judges and justices. Our focus is on the broad, systemic impact of such rulings and opinions, beyond their effect on individual litigants. Linked below are 16 posts concerning cases from People For’s “Confirmed Judges, Confirmed Fears” blog series for August 2021. In addition, we have written about two cases in which Trump district court judges have issued rulings that mandated returns to several harsh Trump immigration policies.
Several important trends emerge from the August cases. These include 1) five cases harming women’s rights, including four relating specifically to abortion care; 2) four cases excusing or limiting liability for police misconduct; and 3) three Supreme Court “shadow docket” rulings harming efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 and immigration. Specifically:
- In four cases, Trump judges issued or cast key votes in decisions that authorized state laws that severely restrict abortion care to take effect, sometimes overruling decisions by district courts. These include laws in Tennessee, Indiana, and two in Texas, including the ban on abortions after six weeks that the Supreme Court declined on September 1 to take action on. In addition, Trump judges harmed women’s rights by ruling that charter schools in Virginia cannot be sued for gender discrimination against students under the Constitution.
- With respect to police misconduct, Trump judges in one case reversed a district court and granted qualified immunity to police charged with improperly arresting and using excessive force against 12 and 14 year-old boys. In two cases, Trump judges approved questionable police conduct concerning interrogation and stop and search tactics. In a fourth case, a Trump judge tried in dissent to cut by a third the damages provided to the family of a man improperly killed by police.
- Even before the September 1 “shadow docket” ruling by the Supreme Court including Trump justices on the Texas abortion ban, August saw two such orders that blocked or struck down temporary eviction bans by federal and state authorities to try to limit the dangerous spread of COVID-19. Another such order refused to stay a Trump district court mandate that the government reinstate the troubling Trump “remain in Mexico” asylum policy.
All these August cases and more, including rulings on racial discrimination in jury selection and school desegregation, underline the importance of efforts to counteract harmful votes by Trump judges by confirming fair-minded constitutionalists with a demonstrated commitment to civil and human rights nominated by President Biden as federal judges. The Supreme Court and appellate cases have all been entered in our Confirmed Judges, Confirmed Fears tool, which you can search by judge or by issue.