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.
But according to Reuters, which analyzed 41 major rulings in significant cases brought against Trump or his policies, the picture is more nuanced. While the administration has certainly suffered courtroom losses, 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.