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Trump's DOJ battles other federal agencies in court
The Justice Department faced off against the National Labor Relations Board before the Supreme Court Monday, in one of three cases that pit Justice against another federal agency. Lawyers for the other agencies said that it is very rare for the Justice Department to take even one other agency to court, let alone three.
By Lucas Rowe
Jan 15, 2018

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WASHINGTON D.C. — The Supreme Court's new term began Monday with a hearing the likes of which the justices rarely ever see: The Justice Department will take on another federal agency. It is one of three lawsuits that the Justice Department has pending against other federal institutions, according to Deepak Gupta, an appellate lawyer who has filed briefs on behalf of the federal agencies in two of the cases.

Gupta said that it is uncommon for the Justice Department to publicly battle other federal agencies, much less sue them in court. He interprets the Trump administration's willingness to do so as underscoring Trump's resolve to impose a conservative agenda throughout the federal government.

"It's highly unusual to have two lawyers, both representing the federal government, taking opposite positions in a court," says Deepak Gupta, an appellate lawyer who has filed briefs in two of the cases opposing the Justice Department'spositions. "The fact that it's happening in multiple instances across a broad range of issues is really remarkable and is a sign of how aggressively the Trump administration is flipping positions on a broad range of issues."

Monday's case concerns workers' rights to collective action. U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco, a Republican whom the Senate confirmed in September, argued against the National Labor Relations Board over whether employment contracts can prohibit employees from unionizing or collectively petitioning for better working conditions or pay.

The court may not hear the other two cases until next year. They consist of one case that will decide if the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects employees from being fired because of their sexual orientation, and another that will assess whether the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau several years ago violates the Constitution.