Federal Judge Defiantly Rules Against Trump To Protect Obama Legacy


One might expect that after what’s quickly approaching four years in power, the Trump administration would have an at least basic level of competence surrounding tasks like implementing changes in federal regulations. They do not apparently possess that basic competence, however. This week, a federal court in Maryland ruled against the Trump administration’s arbitrary decision to roll back nutrition standards for school lunches that had been instituted during the Obama era as part of then-First Lady Michelle Obama’s broader campaigns to promote health. The court insisted that the rollbacks violated the law that demands periods of public comment before regulation change, which the Trump administration did not allow for.

Thus, the attempted rule change has been struck down, for now at least. It would have halved the required level of whole grains required in school lunches and raised the accompanying levels of sodium that were allowed. The court derided the rule change as “not a logical outgrowth” of the original regulations and insisted:

‘There is a fundamental difference between delaying compliance standards — which indicates that school meals will still eventually meet those standards — and eliminating those standards altogether.’

The rule change had initially been justified as part of a plan to “Make School Lunches Great Again,” as if Trump’s team decided they’d put extra unhealthy elements in school lunches across the country just to “own the libs” or whatever. The advocacy group Democracy Forward filed the suit that provided for the new ruling upending the rule change on behalf of the Center for Science in the Public Interest and Healthy School Food Maryland. Democracy Forward Executive Director Anne Harkavy commented following the new ruling:

‘This decision is a victory for children and families, for policymaking based on sound science, and for the rule of law. The Trump administration’s unlawful rollback of important school meal nutrition standards jeopardized children’s access to the nutritious foods they need to stay healthy. This victory shows, once again, that the Trump administration’s pattern of unlawfully shutting the public out of policy changes that impact their health can’t — and won’t — stand.’

The rule actually got challenged by a coalition of states, too, who were led by New York.

This development is the latest in an increasingly long list of the Trump administration’s policies that have been upended because they failed to comply with basic standards for federal leadership. In one such example, the U.S. Supreme Court itself ruled against the Trump administration’s attempt to include a question about citizenship on the now underway census because they called its inclusion arbitrary. The question could have had the net effect of intimidating immigrant communities out of answering the census questions, which would have decreased their political representation and even financial support when census numbers were used for decision-making.

The latest ruling against the Trump administration has emerged amidst their ongoing fumbling of the federal Coronavirus response. Trump has repeatedly seemed far more concerned with winding himself up into lengthy, angry diatribes about his political opponents than he’s interested in actually dealing with the life-and-death issues plaguing the U.S.