The exterior of the U.S. Capitol building rotunda and left half; the evening sky is blue, pink, and purple.

Federal Regulatory Policy

Over the past sev­er­al decades, Repub­li­can and Demo­c­ra­t­ic admin­is­tra­tions alike have acknowl­edged the neces­si­ty to fol­low the rule of law when imple­ment­ing con­gres­sion­al direc­tives. When devel­op­ing reg­u­la­tions, for exam­ple, rel­e­vant facts and sci­ence must inform rule­mak­ings, and pro­posed rules must be test­ed against a net ben­e­fits” analy­sis that exam­ines over­all costs and ben­e­fits incurred by and for the reg­u­lat­ed enti­ties, and the gen­er­al pub­lic. Once duly pro­mul­gat­ed, com­pli­ance oblig­a­tions can­not be abrupt­ly set aside; changes in direc­tion require new rule­mak­ings that are sup­port­ed by an admin­is­tra­tive record that receives pub­lic input and is sub­ject to judi­cial review.


The Trump Admin­is­tra­tion flout­ed many of these fun­da­men­tal reg­u­la­to­ry stric­tures. Time and time again, state attor­neys gen­er­al ful­filled their respon­si­bil­i­ties as the top law enforce­ment offi­cials in their states by stand­ing up for the rule of law and push­ing fed­er­al agen­cies to enforce the nation’s bedrock envi­ron­men­tal laws and policies.

In par­tic­u­lar, state attor­neys gen­er­al achieved key vic­to­ries in the courts that stopped many of the Trump administration’s most destruc­tive dereg­u­la­to­ry efforts in their tracks due to vio­la­tions of autho­riza­tion statutes and the Admin­is­tra­tive Pro­ce­dure Act.