Washington, D.C. – As People For continues its work during the Biden Administration on promoting qualified executive branch and judicial nominees, especially women of color, as well as a strong, fair, and effective response to the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing problems of far-right extremism, police misconduct and racial discrimination, 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 posts concerning 18 cases from People For’s “Confirmed Judges, Confirmed Fears” blog series for February 2021.
Several trends emerge from the February cases: three Supreme Court and other cases where Trump nominees cast deciding votes to damage government efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and seven in which Trump justices and judges have voted against efforts to hold corporations accountable for misconduct concerning consumers, workers, and others. Specifically:
- In three February cases, Trump nominees cast deciding votes to harm efforts to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. This included two Supreme Court rulings that created special exemptions for churches from rules in California that limited indoor gatherings, events which have been proven to dangerously spread the virus.
- In seven February cases, Trump justices and appellate judges voted against efforts to hold corporations accountable for misconduct and other actions harming workers, consumers, and others. This underlines the recent Senate testimony by People For President Ben Jealous on corporate capture of the federal courts. Trump judges in February provided key votes to dismiss claims against corporations for failing to provide warnings to consumers concerning medical products, secretly recording and using consumer statements, and withdrawing job offers to Black individuals because of past convictions on a blanket basis, with no chance to explain.
All these cases and more, including cases concerning abortion, gun safety, and the death penalty, demonstrate the importance of judicial nominations as a critical issue and of efforts to counteract harmful decisions by Trump judges, including by legislation and by confirming fair-minded jurists with a demonstrated commitment to civil and human rights as federal judges. These cases have all been entered in our Confirmed Judges, Confirmed Fears tool, which you can search by judge or by issue.
- Trump justices try to prevent any judicial review of federal boards refusal to reopen denial of railroad workers claims – Gorsuch, Barrett
- Trump justices again cast deciding votes to grant dangerous special exemption to churches from COVID-19 limits – Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Barrett
- Trump judge writes decision authorizing courthouses Christmas nativity scene even though it sends a message of government endorsement of religion – St. Eve
- Trump judge casts deciding vote to send Black man back to prison despite COVID-related compassionate release – Nalbandian
- Trump judge writes decision excusing manufacturer for failing to warn consumers of risks of using medical product – Stras
- Trump judge tries to prevent requiring unpublished immigration decisions to be publicly released – Park
- Trump justices split in unusual case on religion and the death penalty – Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Barrett
- Trump judges approve exclusion of expert evidence in trial of woman sentenced to death – Ho, Willett, Engelhardt, Duncan, Oldham
- Trump judges try to limit and weaken ninth circuit post conviction review in death penalty cases – Bennett, Nelson, Bade, Lee, Collins, Bress, Hunsaker, Bumatay, VanDyke
- Trump judge tries to protect corporation from false advertising claim – Bennett
- Trump judge tries to dismiss claim against corporation for renting defective product that caused serious injury – Scudder
- Trump judge tries to stop permanent injunction against restrictive state abortion law – Thapar
- Trump judge tries to create good behavior exception to federal law prohibiting those convicted of domestic violence from possessing firearms – Richardson
- Trump judges cast deciding votes to leave in effect a ruling that prevented African Americans from seeking relief from employment discrimination – Sullivan, Bianco, Park, Nardini, Menashi
- Trump judge casts deciding vote to dismiss class action claim against corporation for improper secret recordings of consumers – Bumatay
- Trump judge argues that claim against corporation for failing to make pension payments should be dismissed – Thapar
- Trump justices again cast deciding votes to exempt churches from COVID-19 rules – Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Barrett
- Trump judge tries to authorize cutoff of social security disability benefits without giving claimants a chance to rebut negative evidence – Quattlebaum
About People For the American Way
People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and build a democratic society that implements the ideals of freedom, equality, opportunity and justice for all. We encourage civic participation, defend fundamental rights, and fight to dismantle systemic barriers to equitable opportunity. Learn more: https://www.pfaw.org