The Trump administration is asking several federal courts to hold off on rulings in cases on Obama-era regulations being challenged by conservatives.
According to a report in The Washington Post, the current White House aims to slow down any court rulings while it works on revising or reversing them. Doing so could make moot the need to make a ruling at all.
It is just one of several tactics President Donald Trump is using to reverse much of his predecessor's work. Trump has signed numerous executive orders and has even dug up an obscure law to keep some of former President Barack Obama's last-minute regulations from ever taking effect.
The court tactic has been used before, but not to the same scale Trump has gone to, according to the Post.
"If the courts uphold the previous administration, you still have the discretion to change things, but you've lost the argument that you were forced to do it, or that the previous administration exceeded legal bounds," Harvard law professor Richard Lazarus told the Post.
And, he added, if Trump officials "were confident the courts would rule against" the Obama regulations "you wouldn't see them trying to hold cases in abeyance."
Scott Pruitt, Trump's EPA administrator, is asking courts to hold off on ruling over regulations he has sued to overturn when he was Oklahoma's attorney general — a position he held until taking over his current job two months ago.
The Obama administration used the same tactic against several Bush-era regulations, Jeffrey R. Holmstead, an EPA official in the George W. Bush administration, told the Post. "This is actually pretty routine."
Some business officials, who would be impacted by new regulations, back the Trump effort.
"If the courts rule in favor of the rule that was issued [under Obama], it would be allowed to go into effect," Dan Bosch of the National Federation of Independent Business told the Post.
Businesses would have to spend money to comply with the rule, he said, and "at that point, it's a lot harder to make it go away."
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