Suing the Trump Administration—A New Cottage Industry

It’s been only a little over a year, but the number of lawsuits filed against the Trump administration just went over 1,000. This is, unbelievably, a step up from President Trump’s pre-White House career, during which he averaged one lawsuit filed by or against him every 2½ days for more than 30 years.

While this kind of litigation turbulence may not be the best thing for the country, it is a bonanza for attorneys. As one commentator recently put it, “It’s death by a thousand paper cuts. Every group, every aggrieved person, is filing lawsuits.” And it is not just the volume of lawsuits, which is certain to continue at an unprecedented pace, that benefits lawyers. It is also because so many of the plaintiff organizations are experiencing membership and fundraising surges which, in turn, means more money for hiring the help needed to conduct all this litigation as well as for other things legal.

If you want to get in on the action, here’s where much of it is:

American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU has filed more than 60 lawsuits and more than 120 total legal actions challenging the administration to date. You can expect many more during the Trump era. The ACLU is going after the transgender ban in the military and the travel ban among many other actions. ACLU membership quadrupled in just the first five months following Trump’s inauguration, and money is pouring into the organization like never before in its history.

Center for Biological Diversity. is opposing every attempt the Trump administration has made to deny climate change or threaten wildlife, public health and public lands. In only the first five months of the new administration, the Center had already filed 56 suits against Trump. The Center has also been the beneficiary of a surge in donations.

New York State Attorney General. As of December 2017, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed his 100th lawsuit against Donald Trump and the Trump administration, according to the New York Times.

Other States and Cities. Nineteen state attorneys general sued to stop the administration from withholding Obamacare subsidies from states; 16 have sued to halt the rollback of environmental regulations; and 20 to reverse the decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The administration has also been sued over its liberalization of fracking rules and for reversing the Waters of the United States regulation. In the first year of the administration, Democratic attorneys general also filed 35 multistate lawsuits against the Trump administration. By contrast, Republican attorneys general brought 46 multistate legal challenges during all of President Barack Obama’s eight years.

Suing EPA. The Environmental Protection Agency and its administrator Scott Pruitt are defending more than 100 lawsuits filed since January 20, 2017. More than half of them are challenges to the agency’s transparency (or lack thereof) policies. Organizations like Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility are the plaintiffs in a number of these suits.

Sanctuary City Suits. This number is growing steadily as more cities and states add to the filing rolls.

Conservation Lawsuits. Organizations like Earthjustice, the Trust for Public Land, the Sierra Club, the National Resources Defense Council and the National Wildlife Federation are also flooding the courts with filings against the administration.

Suing Trump Personally. The barrage of lawsuits against President Trump in his business or personal, non-presidential capacity continue to be filed at a merry pace. A number of these actions have been brought by organizations that claim that they are losing business to Trump’s Washington, DC hotel.

The beat goes on.