President-elect Donald Trump could withdraw several high-profile lawsuit brought by the Obama administration after he takes office in January.
Trump’s victory has most likely dealt a fatal blow to Obama initiatives concerning transgender rights, immigration, and abortifacient coverage, as Mark Sherman of the Associated Press points out. The Obama administration has spent years litigating these policy measures that could, and likely will, be undone at Trump’s order.
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The Obama administration issued a directive earlier this year requiring public schools to accommodate transgender students by allowing them to use the bathroom corresponding with their gender identity. The directive advised that the Department of Education read Title IX, the section of the federal code concerning gender discrimination in education, to include transgender individuals, meaning a school may not discriminate against them in any way.
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case in October, granting review on two questions. The justices agreed to determine whether an unpublished agency letter — which itself does not carry the force of law — is subject to Auer deference, and whether the Department’s interpretation of Title IX will stand. Auer deference is a legal doctrine requiring the courts to defer to an agency’s interpretation of its own regulation. (RELATED: Donald Trump Can Remake Education With The Stroke Of A Pen)
When Trump assumes office in January, he could order the Department of Education to rescind the guidance it issued to the school districts, making the first question moot. In that event, it is most likely the high court would remand the case to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to determine if Title IX requires public schools to allow trans-students to use their preferred restroom.
Though Obama’s executive order shielding several million illegal immigrants from deportation will doubtlessly be among the first Trump rescinds, the attending legal controversy is still live in the courts. The Supreme Court split 4-4 on the case, which consequentially left an injunction halting the program in place.
The U.S. Department of Justice asked the high court to rehear the case in July after a ninth justice is confirmed. In the event of a tie at the Court, the parties have the right to request a rehearing. When Trump takes office, however, simply rescinding Obama’s order will end the case.
Little Sisters of the Poor
A challenge to Obamacare’s contraception mandate is likely to end on terms favorable to religiously-affiliated groups under the Trump administration.
The Little Sisters of the Poor argue that Obamacare’s requirement that they include access to contraception and abortifacients in their insurance plan infringes on their religious beliefs. Though the Little Sisters can sign a waiver dodging payment for contraceptive coverage, they argue they are still complicit in the scheme. At oral arguments before the Supreme Court, government lawyers admitted it is difficult to facilitate contraceptive coverage without their cooperation. The court declined to rule on the merits of the Little Sisters challenge in May in a rare move, and remanded the case back to a lower court so the parties could reach a compromise.
The Daily Caller News Foundation learned the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a Request for Information in July, requesting input on a settlement from interested parties. At Trump’s direction, government lawyers could arrange a settlement favorable to the Little Sisters. In the alternative, a repeal of the Affordable Care Act which includes the contraception mandate could also end the case.