Description: Challenge to President Trump's executive order on “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs” as well as interim guidance for the order’s implementation.
Public Citizen, Inc. v. Trump
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 02/26/2018 Memorandum Opinion and Order Download Action dismissed for lack of standing to sue. D.C. Federal Court Dismissed Challenge to Executive Order on Reducing Regulation. The federal district court for the District of Columbia concluded that it lacked jurisdiction to consider an action challenging President Trump’s Executive Order on “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs” because the plaintiffs had failed to establish that they had standing to sue. First, the court said the non-profit groups that were the plaintiffs in the action failed to establish “associational” standing based on harm to their members from the delay or preclusion of regulatory actions by the executive order. For instance, the court found that the Natural Resources Defense Council—which contended that one of its members suffered harm due to delay of “rules to curb climate change”—had not identified a particular rule or regulatory action that would address the member’s concerns. The court stated: “Any injury allegedly stemming from the prospect that the Executive Order has delayed the issuance of unspecified regulations relating to a broadly defined area of concern is too abstract and speculative to support standing.” Second, the court found that the plaintiffs had failed to establish “organizational” standing. The court said the plaintiffs had failed to show they suffered an injury in fact based on the executive order’s alleged “chilling effect” on their mission to encourage agencies to adopt regulations or that such an injury was fairly traceable to the executive order. 02/08/2017 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Consumer, Environmental, and Labor Groups Challenged Executive Order on Reducing Regulation. Public Citizen, Natural Resources Defense Council, and an international labor union filed a complaint in the federal district court for the District of Columbia challenging President Trump’s Executive Order on “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs” as well as interim guidance for the order’s implementation. The order directed federal agencies to (1) ensure that “incremental costs” of all new regulations finalized in fiscal year 2017, including repealed regulations, are no greater than zero, and (2) identify two regulations for potential repeal for every new regulation that is proposed. The complaint alleged that the order was unconstitutional in two ways. First, the plaintiffs alleged that the order violated separation of powers by asking agencies to consider factors not specified in or inconsistent with their governing statutes when making decisions about the promulgation or repeal of regulations. Second, the complaint alleged that the order violated the Constitution’s Take Care Clause, which establishes the President’s core executive duty to “take care that the law shall be faithfully executed.” The complaint also alleged that the order required agencies to act beyond their legal power (or ultra vires) and violated the Administrative Procedure Act. The plaintiffs enumerated examples of pending regulations that the order would affect, including vehicle safety standards and standards to protect the health and safety of miners. On climate change, the complaint noted that the Executive Order would run afoul of specific statutory requirements in the Clean Air Act, such as the definition of the “best system of emission reduction” in Section 111, the provision used in the Clean Power Plan, which requires that EPA consider not only cost but also environmental impacts and energy requirements.