Trump administration wrongly withdrew show horse protection rule – Court of Appeals

  • DC Circuit Rules Trump Administration Wrongly Removed Obama’s Last Days Power
  • Dissent says decision imposes new procedural requirement on all agencies

(Reuters) – A federal appeals court ruled on Friday that the Trump administration wrongfully withdrew a regulation to protect show horses from abuse that the Obama administration finalized in its final days but did not had not yet been published.

The Decision 2-1 by a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit could, in some cases, make it more difficult for an incoming president’s administration to overturn rules finalized near the end of his term. an outgoing president.

The decision was a victory for the Humane Society of the United States, which challenged the Trump administration’s withdrawal of a US Department of Agriculture rule aimed at combating the “tearing up” of show horses from Tennessee. .

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Soring is the practice of cutting or burning a horse’s legs to alter its natural gait and artificially create the type of gait associated with Tennessee walking horses.

Ralph Henry, litigation director for the Humane Society, said he would now seek reinstatement of the remand rule.

“Today’s decision on the DC Circuit is a long-awaited victory for Tennessee walking horses and those who have fought for strong enforcement of federal bans on horse soring for many years,” said he declared.

The US Department of Justice declined to comment.

The rule was intended to improve enforcement of the Horse Protection Act 1970, which made pain a crime, by removing the license of show horse inspectors from the hands of equestrian industry groups and placing the liability to USDA.

The department proposed the rule in 2016 under Democratic President Barack Obama and, after a public comment period, finalized it on January 11, 2017, shortly before Republican President Donald Trump took office.

It was made available to the public in his office on January 19 and was to be published in the Federal Register. But when Trump took office the next day, his chief of staff ordered all agencies to immediately withdraw any rules that had not yet been released.

U.S. Circuit Judge David Tatel, writing for the majority, said the Administrative Procedure Act required the Trump administration to provide public notice and a chance to comment before withdrawing the rule, but did not. do.

“While policy transitions can provide a solid foundation for policy change, they do not relieve agencies of their procedural obligations,” wrote Tatel, an appointee of former Democratic President Bill Clinton.

U.S. Circuit Judge Neomi Rao, a Trump appointee, dissented, saying the ruling “imposes a previously unknown procedural requirement on every federal agency by prohibiting modification or withdrawal of rules after public inspection.”

The case is Humane Society of the United States v. US Department of Agriculture, US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, No. 20-5291.

For the Humane Society: Caroline Flynn of Latham & Watkins and Ralph Henry of the Humane Society of the United States

For the United States: H. Thomas Byron III of the United States Department of Justice

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