Democracy depends on a government that works for all people. In 2021, the country saw a number of attacks on people and our country’s fundamental democratic values. In response, our team went to work–and to court–for democracy. Here are some highlights of what we did this year.
- Our work achieved reversals and commitments to rescind a range of harmful Trump-era policies, including those that permitted discrimination against LGBTQ+ people, gutted longstanding bipartisan conservation protection for beaches and wildlife, unlawfully undermined the Affordable Care Act, took away workplace abuse protections for immigrants, blocked certain federal agencies from advancing environmental cleanup projects, and created unnecessary administrative burdens for federal agencies seeking to serve the public.
- We helped to advance federal standards to protect healthcare workers from infectious diseases and to affirm federal oversight protecting student borrowers.
- We stopped last-ditch attempts by the Trump administration to suspend more than 18,000 health care regulations, to delay regulatory protections aimed at preventing lending discrimination, and to implement a policy restricting immigrants’ access to justice.
- As democracy is threatened in statehouses and communities across the country, we are using the law to halt those who threaten the health and wellbeing of people and the fundamental values of our democracy.
- This year, we expanded our work to more than 10 states, including Texas, Tennessee, Iowa, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Arizona, and Montana. We have filed 24 state records requests and actions and are monitoring the actions of more than 20 governors and other state actors to ensure that actions threatening people, communities, and our democracy are met with swift legal opposition.
- Too often those with the greatest stake in government are the least heard. This year, we expanded the scope of our work beyond the courts, filing more than 30 federal regulatory submissions across 16 federal agencies.
- We achieved changes in governmental policy, including one that will provide relief to thousands of people serving on home confinement during the pandemic and would have been returned to incarceration en masse until the Department of Justice reversed its position.
- We provided information on ways federal agencies can enhance equity and called upon federal agencies to fix systems to allow for greater transparency and public participation in government.
- In response to our suit, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau admitted that a commission established during the Trump administration violated federal law and stated that its findings should not be used in policymaking.
- In response to our request for investigation, the Department of Homeland Security acknowledged that Trump-era leaks of individuals’ immigration status to Fox and Breitbart indicate “possible privacy and civil rights violations” and that it is “working to develop training to enhance DHS employees’ awareness of privacy and civil rights protections.”
- In response to our suit, the Department of Veterans Affairs admitted that the so-called Mar-A-Lago Council–three individuals who sought to influence VA policy–had “unusually pervasive access to certain senior political officials in the Department.”
- Over the course of the year, we have represented and worked alongside more than 150 clients and partners who represent the very fabric of our country: workers, civil servants, veterans, students, health care providers, unions, researchers, scientists, criminal legal reform advocates, voters, civil rights champions, and so many others.
- We have represented more than 15 leading medical and patient associations in more than 25 cases in support of public health measures to curtail the harmful effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our briefs on behalf of the nation’s medical community in support of the federal government’s vaccination protections—including our latest filed today—are before the U.S. Supreme Court in a matter that will be heard in early January.
Going into 2022, we have more than 37 pending cases on our docket and are poised to expand our work and impact. You can learn more about our work and how we will continue to meet the moment in 2022 here.