People For the American Way

“Confirmed Judges, Confirmed Fears” Highlights January Rulings


Contact: Press Department at People For the American Way

Email: [email protected]

Phone Number: (202) 467-4999

Washington, D.C. – As People For continues its work during the new Biden administration on promoting a strong, fair, and effective response to the coronavirus crisis 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 15 cases from PFAW’s “Confirmed Judges, Confirmed Fears” blog series for January 2021.

Several trends emerge from the January cases: seven Supreme Court and other cases where Trump nominees cast disturbing votes to try to continue to implement Trump policies, even after President Biden’s inauguration, and five in which Trump judges have voted against efforts to hold corporations accountable for misconduct concerning consumers, workers, and others. Specifically:

  • As was the case last month, although even Trump judges rejected Trump’ s efforts to try to overturn the results of the November election, a number have voted to try to continue to help carry out some of Trump’s restrictive policies. These have included rulings and votes by Trump justices and judges to support Trump Administration efforts to restrict access to medical abortions during the pandemic; put as many federal prisoners to death as possible before January 20; and uphold a Trump reversal of an important EPA clean power rule and protections for miner safety.
  • Even after the inauguration, Trump judges halted an order that prohibited enforcement of a Trump rule harming unaccompanied minors at the US border. Coupled with a Trump district judge order that blocked President Biden’s 100-day pause on deportations, these cases  reinforce serious concerns about possible efforts by Trump judges to block other Biden administration efforts.
  • In five January cases, Trump appellate judges voted against efforts to hold corporations accountable for misconduct and other actions harming workers, consumers, and others, and mostly succeeded. In addition to the mine safety case referred to above, these included decisions stopping people from getting fair hearings of claims that corporations committed fraud or deceptive practices against them; allowing a corporation to bar a fired employee from working elsewhere in his chosen field; and stripping an individual of damages awarded by a jury when she was run over by a corporation vehicle.

All these cases and more, including cases concerning police misconduct and reproductive rights, underline 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 constitutionalists 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.