NEW YORK (Reuters) - In a March speech at a Washington, D.C. law school, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions slammed “activist” federal judges for blocking some of President Donald Trump’s key initiatives, voicing again a favorite grievance of the administration and Trump himself.
Pointing to courtroom losses on policies such as the travel ban, the Trump administration and its supporters have repeatedly complained of a politicized judiciary they say is determined to thwart the Republican president’s agenda.
Reuters analyzed 41 major rulings in significant cases brought against Trump or his policies and found a more nuanced picture. The administration has certainly suffered courtroom losses, but it has also had important wins.
Moreover, while judges appointed by Democratic presidents have issued many more of the rulings that went against the government, Democratic appointees have also been responsible for a majority of Trump victories. And Republican appointees have handed the administration some of its biggest courtroom losses.
Looking strictly at the numbers, the administration has lost far more often than it has won in court, with 28 rulings that went against its position and 13 in its favor. But those numbers include multiple rulings on the same issues, since some of Trump’s actions have attracted separate lawsuits in several courts.
Looking issue by issue at how rulings have gone, the courtroom score evens out. Both the administration and its challengers have won favorable rulings on 11 specific issues. In some instances, where each side won on the same issue in different venues, Reuters tallied wins for both.