Welcome to the Loyola University Newsroom

Print this page

Led by Loyola University New Orleans Legal Experts, Law Professors from around the Nation Challenge Presidential Order on Regulations

Loyola press release - May 24, 2017

Amicus curiae brief filed today in Washington supports Public Citizen’s challenge, claims executive order represents a radical and dramatic change in course from longstanding ideas about regulatory reform

Led by legal experts at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, law professors from around the nation are jointly challenging President Trump’s recent Executive Order directing agencies to forego issuing regulations, including health and safety measures, unless they offset one protection by removing two others. Public Citizen has challenged the order as invalid under the Constitution and statutory law. Loyola New Orleans Gauthier-St. Martin Eminent Scholar and Chair in Environmental Law Robert Verchick and Associate Professor of Law Karen C. Sokol, joined by a set of national administrative law experts, helped draft an amicus curiae brief in support of Public Citizen’s challenge. The amicus curiae brief was filed today in United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

The amicus curiae brief was submitted on behalf of law professors from around the country with expertise in administrative and regulatory law. These professors teach at accredited law schools and have published extensively on the topics of government regulation and administrative law for several decades in the leading law reviews and journals and with leading law and university presses. The brief is written to support arguments of Public Citizen and to advise the court on fundamental principles of administrative law and policy.

On January 30, 2017, President Donald Trump issued Executive Order 13,771 entitled “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs.” The Executive Order stated that an agency issuing a new rule may issue a new regulation only if it identifies two existing regulations for repeal. It also mandates that the costs of new rules – without regard to their benefits – be offset by eliminating at least two other rules.

Public Citizen — and now law professors from around the nation — have argued that in practice, this Executive Order will block government agencies from issuing, or force them to repeal, new health, safety, environmental, consumer finance, and worker rights protections.

In their brief, law professors argued while a new presidential administration is constitutionally empowered to advance its own agenda, “the Executive Branch cannot flout the will of Congress and undermine the constitutional purpose of creating a government that works to benefit society.” The Executive Order, they argue, is “fundamentally flawed because it violates established law and principles of our constitutional order and because it violates basic policies and practices of our modern government.”

The consequence, they say, is that regulations directed by Congress and designed to safeguard public health, safety, and the environment will be delayed, weakened, or withheld entirely, and citizens, consumers, and the economy as a whole will thereby suffer. Examples include: seat belts, which saved 12,802 lives in 2014 (airbags saved additional lives); Clean Air Act rules, which saved over 164,000 lives in 2010 and are estimated to save over 237,000 lives annually by 2020, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration workplace regulations, which have reduced worker fatality rates from 18 per 100,000 in 1970 to 4 deaths per 100,000 in 2006. “Because the challenged Executive Order is silent on regulatory benefits, such benefits may well be lost in pursuit of cost savings. However, as demonstrated, benefits matter greatly.”

“Trump’s executive order seems to assume, without evidence, that America can’t afford to have clean air, or drinkable water, or safe workplaces anymore. But it’s exactly the opposite: we can’t afford not to have those things—they are what keeps America safe and our economy strong.” said Verchick.

Verchick served in the Obama administration as Deputy Associate Administrator for Policy at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2009 and 2010. He is currently president and chief executive officer of the Center for Progressive Reform. He testified on this issue in 2015.

To see his testimony, click here.

To review the amicus curiae brief, click here.

For more information, contact the Loyola University New Orleans Office of Public Affairs.