This is the Trump Docket, where we track some of the most important legal cases of the Trump presidency and how their results could shape presidential power. Questions, comments, or thoughts about cases to cover? Email us here.
If the Supreme Court justices have been trying to signal that they want a quiet term — perhaps some time to recover after Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s hyper-partisan confirmation hearings last fall, which may have shaken public faith in the court as an impartial institution — the Trump administration hasn’t gotten the hint.
Over the past few months, the solicitor general’s office has blanketed the court with requests to bypass the normal legal process and rule swiftly in high-profile cases. Even after the court rebuffed attempts to halt the first Census trial and a climate-change lawsuit, the Trump administration kept trying, asking the justices to cancel an injunction against Trump’s asylum ban. In an even more unusual move, the White House also asked the court to leapfrog lower courts and intervene in cases involving Trump’s decision to revoke the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and the administration’s policy against transgender military servicemembers.
The justices rejected the Trump administration’s request to block the injunction against the asylum ban in December, but only by a narrow 5-4 margin and several other requests are still pending. How the court responds will tell us a lot about what Trump might be able to expect from the court’s newly minted conservative majority.
The high court does have the power to short-circuit the appeals process, but requests to do so are rare — and it typically happens only in extreme situations, such as when President Richard Nixon refused