Since we founded Democracy Forward more than two years ago, we’ve been laser-focused on holding this administration accountable, exposing corruption, and fighting back on behalf of the people it has hurt. This year NPR called us “a frequent litigant against the White House” — which is true (and we’re proud of it!) but it only tells part of the story. It’s not just the White House; it’s the whole executive branch. And it’s not just filing lawsuits but forcing change.
In 2019, we filed our one hundredth lawsuit against the Trump administration. We’ve sued more than 40 Executive branch entities. And our work has been cited in more than 20 congressional hearings. These milestones are a testament to our dedicated lawyers, researchers and communicators—as well as our supporters who have been with us every step of the way.
And we are winning and making a difference. So to celebrate 2019 and the more than 100 lawsuits we have filed, here’s a look back at just a slice of what those lawsuits accomplished this year.
In 2019, we saw major victories on behalf of people hurt by the Trump administration:
In a lawsuit supported by 62 Members of Congress led by the Democratic Women’s Caucus, and 19 states, cities and enforcement agencies, we forced the Trump administration to collect pay data from employers based on race, gender and ethnicity. This win for equal pay will lead to better pay transparency for nearly 63 million American workers.
We forced Trump’s FDA to follow the law and regulate e-cigarettes. By May, companies will now have to submit their products for pre-market review, giving doctors and scientists a better chance to assess their health risks and forcing problematic products off the market.
We achieved complete victory in our fight to protect the $100 million, evidence-based Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program from abstinence-only ideologues when the Trump administration dropped its final appeal.
After we defeated the Trump administration’s attempt to end our lawsuit, Interior disbanded the Royalty Policy Committee, an unlawful advisory board dedicated to selling off public lands to oil and gas interests. Then, in a rare move, a federal court barred the administration from using any recommendations the RPC had issued.
We sued to stop Trump’s “Refusal of Care” rule that would allow discrimination by health care workers against women and LGBTQ people, and a federal judge has already ruled in our favor.
After Trump’s Department of Energy illegally tried to keep an energy efficiency loophole open that, if closed, would lower utility bills for consumers and decrease pollution, we took Trump to court—and won.
We stopped Trump’s unlawful implementation of a permanent security zone on the Potomac River next to his DC-area private golf club, reestablishing the public’s right to access the river. And we took a victory paddle with the Canoe Cruisers of America to celebrate!
We didn’t just rest on those victories, though. We’ve been busy fighting back against the Trump administration’s latest lawlessness:
When the Trump Administration initiated what would become the longest government shutdown in US history, we demanded an investigation into the administration’s dangerous, potentially illegal scheme to keep national parks open with skeletal staffing and services during the shutdown. The GAO later agreed that decision was unlawful.
We filed a class action lawsuit against the Department of Education after Betsy DeVos illegally propped up a failed accreditor of for-profit colleges and left students saddled with student debt.
Philadelphia became the fifth city to join our lawsuit to stop Trump’s unconstitutional sabotage of the Affordable Care Act. Then the House of Representatives, 20 states, 13 municipalities, four advocacy groups, and other experts filed briefs supporting our lawsuit.
To better protect small, women-, and minority-owned businesses, we sued the CFPB to force it to collect data that will help enforce fair lending laws.
We took Secretary Pompeo to court to force him to follow the law and recover the interpreter notes that Trump illegally seized after his July 2017 Hamburg meeting with Putin. So far, we’ve defeated the Trump administration’s attempt to kick the case out of court.
Nineteen states, 17 cities and counties, ten civil rights organizations, and five Maryland immigrant advocate groups filed four “friend of the court” briefs supporting our case against the State Department’s unlawful public charge rule. In the face of new data showing visa denials have increased since the rule’s implementation, a federal court has already ruled against the Trump administration and allowed our case to proceed.
On behalf of parents and non-profit organizations, we sued to stop Secretary Perdue and USDA’s unlawful gutting of school lunch nutrition standards.
Challenging maybe-former-maybe-current Acting USCIS Director Ken Cuccinelli’s unlawful appointment to the role, we sued to stop his harmful asylum policies on behalf of several individuals seeking refuge in this country.
We dug into prominent Trump officials—Commerce Secretary Ross and former Veterans Affairs Secretary Shulkin—for using private emails to conduct government business, which has led to the National Archives conducting a formal investigation into Ross.
We began investigating the Trump administration’s secret—and potentially illegal—coordination to push propaganda at Fox News and other right-wing media outlets.
Just this month, we intervened to defend the threatened greater sage-grouse from an assault by conservative legal interests, since we don’t trust Trump’s Justice Department to adequately defend environmental safeguards for this bird and its habitat.
We launched our Behind the Scenes series to expose lesser-known officials doing bad stuff you may have missed.
And a whole lot more that won’t fit in one email.
Now as we head into 2020, we’ll keep pushing forward in the lawsuits we’ve already brought, and we’ll be bringing new fights, too. Make sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook so that you don’t miss any updates as we continue to hold this administration accountable.
As always, thank you for supporting our work. We couldn’t do it without you.