Welcome to “The Brief,” a monthly roundup of Democracy Forward’s latest work to hold the Trump administration accountable. Read on below for news of our victories, newest filings, latest case updates, and resources to learn more.


Even as the summer winds down, our work here at DF absolutely has not.

Take a pause from your day and the hectic news cycle to read on about our work causing good trouble this month. We’ve filed two brand-new cases and have plenty of updates as we continue pushing back against the Trump administration’s unlawful actions. Plus, we’ve launched an Instagram account!

A no-time-for-recess kinda summer ☀️💦

Demanding NOAA resume an abruptly and unjustifiably stalled inquiry regarding political interference by Trump appointees

  • In March, we requested the Department of Commerce Inspector General and NOAA Scientific Integrity Committee investigate reporting that Trump appointees unlawfully altered conservation measures aimed at protecting the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale.
  • There are only 400 of these whales left the last of their kind in the wild. But political appointees in NOAA allegedly permitted seismic airgun blasting, which directly harms the whales’ hearing, in a manner contrary to the advice of career scientists.
  • Whale, whale, whale. After telling us in April that an inquiry would be opened — triggering a 90-day deadline to respond — NOAA’s Scientific Integrity Committee changed course days after the July deadline, placing our inquiry “on hold.”
  • We are pushing back with a letter to request the inquiry continue. NOAA must release its inquiry report for the public, for scientific integrity, and for the whales 🐋→

Trump admin retreats from the legal battle we won against Cuccinelli

  • The Trump administration dismissed its appeal of a federal court’s March ruling that Ken Cuccinelli was illegally appointed as Acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
  • The government’s dismissal came mere hours before the news dropped that the Government Accountability Office separately concluded that both Ken Cuccinelli and Chad Wolf were illegally appointed to their current roles at DHS.
  • It’s been clear from the start: Ken Cuccinelli was unlawfully appointed to lead USCIS. The Trump administration retreated from its legal fight because the law is not on its side.
  • This is a victory for the rule of law and for the asylum seekers and immigrants hurt by the administration’s harmful policies. Learn more on our case page →

Cities of Columbus, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Chicago, Philadelphia & individuals detail harms caused by Trump admin’s illegal ACA sabotage

  • Amidst this devastating pandemic, five U.S. cities and two individuals who rely on the individual health insurance marketplace filed a motion for summary judgment in our lawsuit against the Trump administration over its unlawful attempts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act.
  • Our challenge to Trump’s ACA sabotage efforts was first filed in 2018  —  we’re opposing the illegal, arbitrary, and capricious policies implemented by the administration to undermine the success of the ACA (long before the current public health crisis).
  • The administration’s unlawful efforts to sabotage the ACA drive up premiums, make enrollment more difficult and cause more people to go without affordable, high-quality insurance. You can read our full rundown on the unlawful policies harming the cities here.
  • Trump’s persistent efforts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act are a clear attempt at death by a thousand cuts. Learn more →

ICYMI: We’re continuing our fight against the Trump admin’s invite for federal grantees to use $500 billion in grant funds to discriminate

  • Earlier this week, we filed our opposition to the government’s attempt to dismiss our case.
  • We’ve been suing Trump’s HHS on behalf of Family Equality, True Colors United, and SAGE for allowing federal grant recipients to deny individuals critical services on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
  • In line with its pattern of abandoning the LGBTQ+ community, the Trump administration is trying to shut down our lawsuit while HHS finalizes a permanent rule designed to eviscerate non-discrimination protections altogether.
  • Our plaintiffs have standing to sue and you bet we’ll continue to do so. As always, learn more here →