People For the American Way

PFAW’s “Confirmed Judges, Confirmed Fears” Highlights July Rulings


Contact: Press Department at People For The American Way

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Washington, D.C.— People For the American Way’s “Confirmed Judges, Confirmed Fears” blog series covers troubling votes and decisions by Trump appellate judges.

Even as additional work continues on promoting a strong, fair, and effective response to the coronavirus crisis, as well as on the ongoing problems of police violence and systemic racism, PFAW has continued our research and reporting on the troubling votes and decisions by Trump appellate judges and justices. Linked below are 39 posts concerning 40 cases from PFAW’s “Confirmed Judges, Confirmed Fears” blog series for July 2020.

Three important trends emerge from the July cases: seven Supreme Court decisions where Trump justices voted in favor of policies or positions advocated by the Trump Administration, including in five summary rulings on the Court’s so-called “shadow docket”; ten cases in which Trump nominees voted in a way that threatens health care or disability rights, including an important D.C. Circuit case where a Trump judge cast the deciding vote to undermine the Affordable Care Act (ACA); and eight cases involving allegations of misconduct by police or other law enforcement officials in which Trump judges voted against efforts to hold officers accountable.


  • With the exception of one vote by Justice Gorsuch in a case concerning Native American tribal sovereignty, Trump SCOTUS justices Kavanaugh and Gorsuch consistently voted in seven cases in favor of policies or positions of the Trump Administration. Five of these cases were summary rulings concerning requests for stays of lower court decisions on the Court’s “shadow docket.” These include rulings staying an injunction against Trump’s border wall, two cases lifting temporary stays on the federal death penalty, and votes to make it easier for presidents to avoid grand jury subpoenas.
  • Led by an important D.C. Circuit case in which Trump judge Greg Katsas cast the deciding vote to approve a Trump Administration decision to allow health insurance plans that threaten to significantly undermine the ACA, Trump nominees voted to harm people’s health care and disability rights in ten cases. These included votes by the two Trump SCOTUS justices to exempt a church from COVID-19 regulations, two other health care cases, four cases concerning disability insurance, and two cases concerning the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • Prior to the most recent outbreak of police violence in Kenosha, Trump judges voted in eight cases against efforts to hold police and other law enforcement officials accountable for alleged misconduct. This included three cases where Trump judges voted for qualified immunity for police, including one case where a Trump judge cast the deciding vote to reverse a district court and grant qualified immunity to a police officer who shot an unarmed man in the head and killed him.

All these cases and more underline the importance of speaking out and fighting against Trump’s judicial nominations and making this a critical issue in this year’s elections. These cases have all been entered in our Confirmed Judges, Confirmed Fears tool, which you can search by judge or by issue, now including police misconduct.