Public Citizen, Inc. v. Donald J. Trump, U.S. District Ct. for D.C., Civil Action No. 17-253 (2017)

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Status: Open

Legal Issue

Whether Executive Order 13771 threatens to block, weaken, or delay critical public health protections in contravention of congressional intent, jeopardizing progress in public health seen since Congress established the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the early 20th century.


On January 30, 2017, President Donald Trump signed Executive Order 13771 requiring that most federal agencies interested in promulgating a new regulation identify two regulations to revise or repeal and ensure (at least for FY 2017) that the net cost of all regulations promulgated and repealed is zero. Public Citizen, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Communications Workers of America legally challenged the so-called 1-in-2-out executive order, arguing that it exceeds presidential authority and that it will block important health, safety, and environmental protections without taking the benefits of those rules into account. 

On May 22, 2017, the Public Health Law Center, joined by twelve national health organizations, filed an amicus brief arguing that the Executive Order will deter, weaken, or force the repeal of U.S. Food and Drug Administration actions on multiple fronts. Specifically, the brief points out that the Order (1) hinders the FDA’s ability to finalize existing proposed rules deemed necessary to protect the public health; (2) impedes the agency from updating existing regulations based on new science and technology; (3) jeopardizes the agency’s implementation of new congressional enactments; and (4) threatens the FDA’s efforts to protect youth.


On December 20, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed the case for lack of standing.

Case Documents & Information