When President Trump took office, he sustained a couple of setbacks for his agenda in courts.
One was the early ruling that he couldn’t ban immigrants from terror-sponsoring regions of the world, a decision that he eventually won.
But at the time that decision and several others prompted “legal and media experts” to declare “that a war on the rule of law existed,” according to Jonathan Turley, the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University.
He’s explained online that Joe Biden has suffered a significant number of court losses too, but it’s not a big deal now because “the media has given light coverage to Biden’s legal losses.”
But Biden’s losses are, in fact, significant, he explained.
“Across the country, trial courts have been finding constitutional violations by the Biden administration in areas ranging from immigration to the environment to pandemic relief,” he explained.
A “critical” loss was the court’s decision to reject his 100-day moratorium on deportations, which was because, the ruling said, the “administration omitted ‘any rational explanation grounded in the facts reviewed and the factors considered.”
Then in Wisconsin a federal court stopped Biden’s race-based $4 billion program for farmers, citing its systemic racial discrimination.
A court in Texas ruled also found Biden engaged in system discrimination by demanding that help for restaurants give preference to women and minorities.
In Louisiana, Biden “violated the separation of powers under the Constitution” by halting gas and oil leases, a court said.
Even in Biden-friendly Washington, D.C., a federal judge said the Biden administration’s federal eviction moratorium exceeded its authority.
In Florida, a federal judge said the Biden administration “cannot dictate rules for cruise ships” regarding private medical records.
“One of the most remarkable court losses was delivered at the hands of the Supreme Court in the case of Terry v. United States. It involved a criminal defendant in a crack case who argued for a sentence reduction under the First Step Act. The Trump administration argued against the defendant’s claim — but this was one of many positions that the Biden administration changed before the court. The Biden administration informed the court that it not only would refuse to defend the judgment below — and defend the federal statute — but was ‘confessing error’ in the case,” Turley noted.
The constitutional expert explained, “The move by the Biden administration was astonishing on a number of levels. Acting Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar informed the Supreme Court in March, on the actual due date for the government’s brief. Oral argument was scheduled for April; the court was forced to reschedule the oral argument for a special sitting in May, a completely avoidable conflict the administration created by waiting a ridiculous two months to inform the court. The Biden Justice Department simply suggested in a letter that the Supreme Court find someone else to defend a federal law. Moreover, the Biden administration was confessing error in a case where the government was likely to win. In other words, it was refusing to make an argument with which many if not most of the justices would agree.
“Instead, the Biden administration advanced an argument that was so weak that the justices referred to its arguments as a meritless ‘sleight of hand’ to evade the clear, obvious meaning of the statute. They ruled unanimously against the administration and the defendant. Eight justices signed on to the opinion of Justice Clarence Thomas entirely, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor concurred with his interpretation of the First Step Act.”
“The Biden losses have received little coverage despite what could be a worst record in the early days of his administration. The fact is that such adverse decisions are not uncommon as administrations try to fast track changes. However, the Biden administration has actually had some very serious losses, including some which are being appealed. Yet, many previously outspoken legal experts have either blamed conservative judges or simply ignored the losses all together,” Turley wrote.
He said, “The image of Biden as restoring the Justice Department back into the good graces of the law and the courts is reinforced regularly in the media. What is not being as fully reported is that Biden actually has racked up a litany of notable court losses that may now exceed those of his predecessor in his first six months.”