The Trump Administration’s third travel ban is struck down, President Trump releases proposed budget, and more…
IN THE NEWS
- The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit struck down the Trump Administration’s third travel ban, which President Donald Trump issued as a Presidential Proclamation in September. Based on the proclamation’s lack of a “primary secular purpose” and President Trump’s “official statements,” the Fourth Circuit held “that the proclamation is unconstitutionally tainted with animus toward Islam.”
- President Trump released his proposed budget, which aims to cut the federal deficit by $3 trillion over a decade. In the budget, President Trump proposed to decrease funding to federal agencies including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of the Interior. President Trump also proposed subjecting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to the congressional appropriations process.
- As part of its infrastructure plan, the Trump Administration called on Congress to cut “duplicative” environmental review processes. The Administration explained that streamlining environmental review would “eliminate barriers that prevent virtually all infrastructure projects from being efficiently developed and managed.” The National Wildlife Federation said the infrastructure proposal “sacrifices public health standards and basic environmental protections.”
- The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ordered the U.S. Department of Energy to publish “four energy conservation standards” for portable air conditioners, air compressors, commercial packaged boilers, and uninterruptible power suppliers, which are a type of battery charger. The Energy Department posted the standards in December of 2016 asking the public to identify any errors in the standards. But since then, the Energy Department had not—and with no explanation—published any of the rules in the Federal Register. The Northern District of California has given the Energy Department 28 days to publish the standards.
- The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) sued EPA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service claiming the agencies violated the Freedom of Information Act. The complaint alleged that EPA failed to release information about certain pesticide effects on species protected under the Endangered Species Act that the CBD requested in June 2017. In a statement, a CBD senior attorney said that the “public has every right to know how these pesticides put wildlife in danger.”
- Twenty state Attorneys General wrote a letter to U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to challenge the U.S. Department of Justice’s decision to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. The Attorneys General asserted that such a question “would significantly depress participation,” resulting in “a population undercount that would disproportionately harm states and cities with large immigrant communities.” They argued additionally that a citizenship question would render the U.S. Census Bureau—which operates within the U.S. Department of Commerce—unable to carry out its constitutional and statutory duties.
- The U.S. House of Representatives passed a set of bills that would change Consumer Financial Protection Bureau mortgage disclosure rules and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission oversight and disclosure rules. According to Representative Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), the set of bills called the TRID Improvement Act “will cut through layers of red tape and help level the playing field by making regulations smarter, fairer, clearer, and more efficient.” In opposition, Representative Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) said that “this deregulatory package could significantly undermine market stability and gut investor and consumer protections at a time when our financial markets are already rattled.”
- The U.S. Senate confirmed Ronald L. Batory, former president and chief operating officer of Conrail, as head of the U.S. Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). Edward R. Hamberger, president and chief executive officer of the Association of American Railroads stated of the confirmation, “Batory is supremely qualified to guide the FRA moving forward, equipped with years of real world experience that will surely assist him in his oversight duties.”
- Michaels, a craft store, agreed to pay $1.5 million to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) to resolve allegations that Michaels failed to inform the CPSC that glass vases it sold had shattered and injured at least five consumers. Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad Readler explained, “This settlement underscores the importance of reporting product safety issues immediately.”
WHAT WE’RE READING THIS WEEK
- The Environmental Integrity Project reported that, since President Trump took office, EPA imposed significantly fewer penalties—almost half as many—on polluters than past administrations have. Eric Schaeffer, Executive Director of the Environmental Integrity Project, attributed the figures to the Trump Administration’s “dismantling of” EPA, which “means violators are less likely to get caught.”
- In a report for the International Academy of Comparative Law, Tobias H. Tröger, a professor at the Goethe-University Frankfurt Faculty of Law in Germany, explained crowdfunding regulation in Germany and the usual designs of campaigns. Tröger identified the types of crowdfunding transactions under Germany’s contract law and identified the applicable rules in banking and securities regulations.
- In a paper for the Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, Orr Karassin of the Open University of Israel and Oren Perez of Bar-Ilan University argued that public environmental regulation is increasingly being replaced by private transnational environmental regulation, such as product standards and corporate governance. Karassin and Perez contended that this shift has created a “hybrid governance structure” that has allowed for increased innovation and flexibility.