As part of our efforts to promote qualified Biden-Harris judicial nominees, especially women of color as reflected in our #HerFightOurFight campaign, People For the American Way has continued our research and reporting on the troubling votes and decisions by Trump appellate judges and justices, as well as rulings by Trump district judges that improperly interfere with Biden Administration and Congressional action. Our focus has been on the broad, systemic impact of such rulings and opinions, and on how these decisions show the need for prompt confirmation of Biden judicial nominees. Linked below are posts concerning 10 cases from PFAW’s “Our Courts Our Fight” blog series for December 2021.
An overwhelming trend suggested by the December cases concerns actions by Trump judges to block efforts, particularly by the Biden Administration, to combat COVID-19. Six of the ten cases, more than half, describe votes by Trump judges to block vaccination, masking, and other anti-COVID initiatives to protect Americans’ health. Specifically:
- In three December cases, Trump district judges issued decisions that blocked Biden Administration vaccine requirements concerning COVID-19. These included an additional district court ruling freezing requirements that health care workers who see vulnerable Medicare and Medicaid patient be vaccinated, one commanding a nationwide block on vaccine requirements for federal contractors that Trump appellate judges refused to stay, and one halting a rule that called for vaccination and indoor masking at schools and elsewhere to protect vulnerable Head Start children and families. The health workers issue was heard by the Supreme Court in different cases on January 7.
- Two cases concerned Trump appellate judge opinions concerning COVID-19 efforts. In one, two Trump appellate judges on the Fifth Circuit helped block a district court ruling and reinstated an order by Texas’ governor that bans public schools from requiring the wearing of masks, even when necessary to help protect children with disabilities. In addition, Trump Sixth Circuit judge Larsen dissented from a ruling that authorized the resumption of the important OSHA rule that requires big businesses to ensure that workers are vaccinated or wear masks and are tested at least weekly. The Fifth Circuit had previously frozen the OSHA rule, and the Supreme Court also heard argument on January 7 on a motion to re-impose that freeze.
All these December cases and more, including rulings on abortion and on police misconduct, 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. Appellate cases have all been entered in our Our Courts Our Fight database, which you can search by judge or by issue. As will be discussed in a future post, People For intends in 2022 to focus more specifically on rulings that improperly interfere with the agenda that the Biden Administration and Congress are advancing, as well as on notable votes by newly confirmed Biden appellate judges.