Donald Trump made a lot of promises on the campaign trail. His base supporters would cheer when he said he would “Drain the Swamp,” and roll back every executive order that Obama signed. His supporters believed deregulation was Trump’s main goal when he got to the White House. And in all fairness, Mr. Trump ordered various government agencies to roll back two regulations for every new one they issued. Several of the government agencies that are now under the control of Trump appointees are suspending or delaying a plethora of existing policies and rules.
But the Federal courts are not cooperating with Trump’s mandate to turn Washington upside down. Federal courts are rejecting Trump’s new rules concerning lead paint, methane emissions from oil and gas exploration, and energy efficiency. The cases that are pending court approval may suffer the same fate. The Federal courts are ruling on these matters without hesitation and the rulings are notable for several reasons. One of those reasons is the courts are finding basic legal mistakes in Trump’s approach to these agency decisions. The Trump administration is misreading legal provisions, and the administration is ignoring factual evidence. Plus, Trump is bypassing the required processes set forth by the court system. The courts are throwing these new Trumpian regulations back in his lap with record-breaking speed.
One of the main issues with Trump’s quest to overturn or change regulations is the blatant misinterpretation of statutes that give Trump power he doesn’t have. Trump’s appointees are trying to run past the factual records of the prior administration by claiming they only need to state vague concerns rather than provide new evidence, or a reasonable explanation that proves the rule in place is inappropriate or is causing harm in some way.
Administrative law requires careful focus on the evidence and a concrete explanation why rules should change. The Trump administration is trying to side-step or skip the important notice-and-comment process. The courts are not buying Trump’s pushy attempt to undo policies that help keep the government functioning in a positive way. Trump’s quest to change what Obama put in place is not about making those rules and policies better for the country. His quest to change things is all about satisfying his ego and satisfying the people who blindly support his irrational edicts. Trump wants to do things his way, but his way is not the way of the legal system in the United States.