Articles Posted in Administrative Law

The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has ruled that the Trump Administration failed to follow procedures set forth under federal law in appointing Ken Cuccinelli to a leadership role in US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in 2019. As a result, two rule changes to the asylum process implemented under his leadership should be considered nullified, according to the judge.


Last week, 14 states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit against the federal government to challenge new regulations put forth by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that are estimated to cause almost 700,000 people to lose food stamp assistance. The proposed changes would affect states' ability to obtain waivers for work requirements that apply to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by implementing more restrictive definitions of exceptions to work mandates related to things including insufficient job availability, geographic boundaries, and duration.


On Monday, November 18, 2019, Judge Edward M. Chen of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, issued an order declining to grant a motion for partial summary judgment in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union against multiple federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security, and other federal immigration agencies. The ACLU seeks information, via a FOIA request, as to the federal agencies' surveillance of social media users. Judge Chen's ruling allows the case to move forward.


Last week, Judge William Alsup of the US District Court for the Northern District of California joined federal courts in New York and Washington state in striking down the Denial of Care Rule put forth by the US Department of Health and Human Services earlier this year. Judge Alsup declared the rule, which would permit health care workers to decline to provide services, care, or information to patients due to the worker's personal religious or moral beliefs, discriminatory and unconstitutional.


On Wednesday, July 24, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia declined to impose a temporary restraining order which would pause the Trump administration's new rule limiting asylum requests from migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. The new rule requires that migrants and refugees passing through a third country en route to the United States must seek asylum from said third country in order to apply for asylum in the United States. Under the new rule, migrant and refugee Hondurans and Salvadorans must be denied asylum in Guatemala or Mexico before seeking asylum in the United States, and Guatemalans must be denied asylum in Mexico in order to apply for asylum in the United States.


Multiple civil rights groups filed suit today against the Trump administration, challenging its new rule seeking to severely limit the asylum protections that are available under US and international law to migrants at the US-Mexico border. The American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Center for Constitutional Rights filed one of the main legal challenges in California's Northern District Court on behalf of immigrant advocacy groups, alleging that the new rule violates US immigration law as well as administrative law. The lawsuit seeks declaratory relief stating that the interim final rule is invalid and unlawful, as well as preliminary and permanent injunctive relief to block its implementation.


On Monday, June 24, 2019, the United States Supreme Court issued a decision in Iancu v. Brunetti, 588 U.S. ___ (2019), holding that the Lanham Act's bar on registration of immoral or scandalous trademarks violates the First Amendment. At issue in the case is the trademark FUCT, pronounced as four letters, which is the clothing brand founded by Erik Brunetti. Justice Elena Kagan, writing for the majority, wrote that the Lanham Act's bar on immoral or scandalous trademarks is viewpoint-based discrimination in violation of the First Amendment. 


A vast New Mexico oilfield lies near Carlsbad Caverns National Park, a region comprised of deserts and caves. The federal government recently has allowed substantial oil and gas development in this area. This may affect the stability of the terrain and the air quality near the national park, according to WildEarth Guardians. This environmentalist group…


On Thursday, May 23, 2019, the Center for Biological Diversity and San Francisco Baykeeper sued the United States Fish and Wildlife Service in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California for failing to protect eight highly imperiled species in the United States. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined that the longfin smelt, Hermes Copper butterfly, Sierra Nevada red fox, red tree vole, eastern gopher tortoise, Berry Cave salamander, Puerto Rico harlequin butterfly, and marrón bacora all warrant protection as afforded under the Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 1531-1544. The plaintiffs are suing U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to actually provide protection as mandated by the law.


The State of California has filed a new lawsuit against the Trump administration, arguing that the Federal Railroad Administration's sudden decision to pull almost $1 billion in funding for a planned high-speed rail connection between San Francisco and Los Angeles was payback for the state's opposition to Trump's plans to construct a wall along the southern border of the US as part of his immigration policy. The state's lawsuit alleges that in the days following certain criticisms made by California Governor Gavin Newsom of Trump's border wall plans, Trump made a series of Tweets criticizing the state's position on his immigration policies as well as its handling of the rail project, demonstrating the link between the funding cancellation and the border wall dispute.