‘Judicial sabotage’ of Biden’s administration by Trump judges ‘likely to expand rapidly’: report
Official White House photo by Andrea Hanks

The "judicial sabotage" of President Joe Biden's agenda is likely to escalate in his second year in office.

"In just four years as president, Trump remade the federal judiciary — all with a big assist from a Senate Republican leader willing to break any norm in order to ensure GOP control of the courts. Trump appointed a third of the Supreme Court and nearly a third of all active appeals court judges. He also peppered federal trial courts with conservative activists like [Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk], who are eager to overturn some of the most fundamental assumptions of US law," wrote Vox legal correspondent Ian Millhiser.

Millhiser is the author of the 2016 book, Injustices: The Supreme Court's History of Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted.

"So, while right-wing judges have not yet launched a wholesale assault on the Biden presidency, they’ve handed down a raft of decisions that endanger the public health and that force some of the most vulnerable people on the planet to live in squalid, often dangerous conditions. And these judges could get even more aggressive in the future," he wrote. "While judicial sabotage of the Biden administration’s policies has thus far been limited in scope, it’s likely to expand rapidly, and soon. The Supreme Court announced in late October that it will hear West Virginia v. EPA, a case that, at its most extreme, could potentially give the judiciary veto power over every regulation pushed out by any federal agency."

Millhiser argued that the hierarchical nature of federal courts means the earliest efforts of sabotage have come from the most extreme judges who may have emboldened others to follow them.

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"Republicans did not gain their current supermajority on the Supreme Court until about a week before Biden was elected president. So even if the Court’s new majority is inclined to ignore stare decisis (the principle that courts should be reluctant to overrule previous decisions), it simply hasn’t had time to overrule every precedent that is out of favor within conservative legal circles," he wrote. "That means that, at least for now, the most aggressive decisions undercutting President Biden are being handed down by judges who do not feel constrained by precedent, or who want to nudge the Supreme Court into overruling past opinions by handing down decisions that are inconsistent with those opinions and that need to be reviewed on appeal."

Read the full analysis.