struck down
July 8, 2019

Just hours before the regulation was set to go into effect, a federal judge ruled on Monday that the Trump administration does not have the legal authority to require pharmaceutical companies to disclose drug prices in television ads.

The rule was announced in May by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, who said if drugmakers had to list their prices on television, they would keep them as low as possible to avoid embarrassment. Instead, Merck & Co., Eli Lilly and Co., and Amgen Inc. argued that by being forced to state the prices, their right to free speech was being violated.

U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta in Washington, D.C., said in a 27-page ruling that the "policy very well could be an effective tool in halting the rising cost of prescription drugs. But no matter how vexing the problem of spiraling drug costs may be, HHS cannot do more than what Congress has authorized. The responsibility rests with Congress to act in the first instance." An HHS spokeswoman told The Associated Press the administration "will be working with the Department of Justice on next steps related to the litigation." Catherine Garcia

January 15, 2019

The Trump administration can't add a question of citizenship to the 2020 census, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross tried last year to add a question asking if the census-takers were "a citizen of the United States." But after civil rights groups argued the question would suppress census response rates and lead to undercounts, U.S. District Court Judge Jesse Furman decided in their favor, per NPR.

Ross announced the question addition last year, saying it would help enforce the Voting Rights Act. The ACLU and attorneys general from several states countered, claiming in a handful of lawsuits that undocumented people would avoid answering the census out of fear. This would in turn suppress congressional representation in immigrant-heavy areas — something Furman agreed to in his 277-page ruling.

A question of citizenship status — something that hasn't been asked on a census since 1950 — has long been controversial on several fronts. Beyond the argument addressed in the lawsuits, Ross originally told Congress that the Department of Justice had proposed the citizenship questions. A memo later showed Ross had come up with the idea.

The citizenship question is still facing five more lawsuits across the country, NPR notes. The DOJ will likely appeal Tuesday's ruling to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and perhaps the Supreme Court. The question of what evidence can be brought up during these ongoing trials has already moved to the high court. Kathryn Krawczyk

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