How 11 of Trump’s most controversial actions have fared in court

  • The federal court system has served as one of the biggest impediments to President Donald Trump’s agenda, frequently striking down his policies or executive orders.
  • The Trump administration has lost 65 cases and challenges throughout the first two years of his presidency, according to The Washington Post.
  • The courts have also struck down 90% of the Trump administration’s efforts to roll back federal regulations, CNBC reported.
  • Here’s how 11 of the most controversial Trump administration actions have fared in court so far, and where they could be headed next.
  • Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.

In the first two years of his presidency, President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have nominated and helped new federal judges get confirmed at a faster pace than any other president in modern history.

While Trump’s influence on the federal judiciary has been one of his biggest successes, the federal court system has also served as one of the most significant impediments to the Trump administration’s agenda – on everything from immigration to healthcare and the 2020 census.

According to a new analysis from the Washington Post, Trump’s administration has lost 65 cases and challenges in federal court during the first two years of the administration, a figure that administrative law experts told the Post was surprisingly high.

Another analysis by CNBC found that 90% of the administration’s efforts to roll back existing federal regulations have also been struck down.

While many of the administration’s policies have been rebuffed by the federal judiciary, Trump has also secured some key victories from the courts in pursuing parts of his agenda, including the ban on transgender Americans serving in the military.

Here’s how 11 of the most controversial Trump administration actions have fared in court so far, and where they could be headed next.


Letting employers not offer birth control coverage in company insurance plans: Blocked

In January 2019, Trump administration’s guidance allowing employers to not offer birth control coverage in their company insurance plans for moral or religious reasons was blocked by a federal judge.


Transgender military ban: Allowed

Also in January, the Supreme Court allowed the administration to enact its ban on transgender Americans serving in the military, pending further litigation.


Putting a citizenship question on the 2020 census: Blocked

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US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross
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Win McNamee/Getty Images

Two federal judges have ruled against Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ efforts to put a question about citizenship on the 2020 census. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments on the case in April.


Cutting teen pregnancy prevention funding: Blocked

In May 2018, a US District Court judge blocked the Department of Health and Human Services’ attempt to cut $200 million in grants to teen pregnancy prevention programs, ruling it was without cause.


Rolling back environmental regulations: Some blocked, some allowed

Federal judges have struck down 17 separate attempts by the Trump administration to roll back environmental regulations, according to the Washington Post’s tally.

In many such cases, agencies’ efforts were blocked for technical violations in not following the proper administrative procedures for changing policies.

But dozens of other environmental regulations have been allowed, or haven’t made their way to court yet. The New York Times counted 78 rules the Trump administration has eliminated, such as requiring oil and gas companies to report methane emissions.


The travel ban: Allowed

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People protest the Muslim travel ban outside of the US Supreme Court in Washington, USA on June 26, 2018.
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Anadolu Agency/Yasin Ozturk via Getty Images

Federal courts struck down two versions of Trump’s infamous travel ban, which barred travelers from a number of majority-Muslim countries. But the Supreme Court eventually ruled in Trump’s favor and allowed his third travel ban to take effect in June 2018.

The justices ruled 5-4 that national security concerns gave Trump broad authority to restrict who enters the country.


Family separations under the “zero tolerance” policy: Blocked

Shortly after Trump halted family separations in June 2018 amid widespread outrage over his “zero tolerance” policy, a federal judge ordered that the administration reunite all families that had been separated under the policy, and blocked any future separations.

The case is still ongoing and the judge is considering whether to force the administration to reunite other families split up before the official policy was announced.


Asylum ban: Blocked

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Honduran migrants, part of a caravan of thousands attempting to reach the U.S., try to cross the U.S.-Mexico border fence on December 15, 2018 in Tijuana, Mexico.
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Getty Images/Mario Tama

The Supreme Court ruled against Trump on his asylum ban in December 2018, siding with a federal judge who blocked the administration’s efforts to bar migrants from claiming asylum if they crossed the border illegally.

US immigration law explicitly states that migrants may request asylum no matter how they cross the border. The case is still ongoing.


Making migrants wait for their asylum hearings in Mexico: Blocked

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A Mexican migrant boy remains next to tents at a shelter in Tijuana, Baja California state, Mexico, in the border with the US, on October 22, 2018.
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Agence France-Presse/Guillermo Arias via Getty Images

A federal judge blocked the Trump administration from forcing migrants to return to Mexico and wait after requesting asylum in the US. The policy, known as “Remain in Mexico” or “Migrant Protection Protocols,” was challenged by immigrant rights groups who argued that making migrants wait for their asylum hearings in a foreign country violated US law.


Sanctuary cities crackdowns: Blocked

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US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), agents detain an immigrant on October 14, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.
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John Moore/Getty Images

Multiple federal courts have ruled against the Trump administration’s crackdown on so-called “sanctuary cities,” arguing that the government cannot withhold federal funds from cities that limit police departments’ cooperation with immigration authorities.


Ending DACA: Blocked

Federal courts blocked the Trump administration from fully ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the Obama-era policy that shielded young, unauthorized immigrants from deportation.

Though immigrants may no longer apply for DACA status if they’ve never had it before, people who are currently under the program’s protection may renew their status.

The case is ongoing, but the Supreme Court didn’t take up the case in its current term and might not rule on it before 2020.