Public Citizen, NRDC, and Communication Workers of America, AFL-CIO, v. Donald Trump

Just 20 days into the Trump presidency, NRDC, Public Citizen, and the Communication Workers of America, AFL-CIO, working with Earthjustice, sued President Trump and his administration to block an alarming executive order. Signed on January 30, the order directs that no federal agency may issue a significant new rule—regardless of the benefits—unless its costs are offset by the repeal of at least two existing rules.

This executive order, which is not authorized by any statute, will block, weaken, or delay new safeguards authorized and mandated by Congress across a broad range of environmental, health, consumer, and labor concerns. Although previous presidents have asked agencies to calculate the costs and benefits of particular rules, no president before Trump has ever tried to impose a regulatory cost cap or forced agencies to consider the costs of unrelated rules when creating a new one. And certainly no president has ever conditioned an agency’s issuance of a new rule on repealing two or more existing rules.

We argued to the court that the executive order exceeds President Trump’s constitutional authority, violates his duty under the Take Care Clause of the Constitution, and directs federal agencies to engage in unlawful actions that will harm millions of Americans. We asked the court to stop the administration from implementing and enforcing the order.

On December 20, 2019, the court dismissed our case on procedural grounds—stating that the plaintiffs did not have legal standing or, in other words, were unable to clearly show that the executive order was having a direct impact on them or their members. The court did not address our arguments against Trump’s 2-for-1 order or weigh in on its legality. (A separate legal challenge from California, Oregon, and Minnesota was filed in the same court.)

NRDC will continue to fight the Trump administration’s unprecedented attacks on commonsense health and environmental safeguards that protect us all. 

Last Updated

January 10, 2020



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