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“Trump Gag Order Upholding: Appeals Court Delivers Key Verdict

In a recent development, a federal appeals court has upheld the controversial Trump gag order which gives the president broad powers to prevent federal agencies from taking certain actions or making public statements. The ruling was issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit after a challenge by two federal watchdog groups. The Trump gag order prohibits federal agencies from making non-publicly available information public without express White House or agency approval. This includes restrictions on communications that are done “in the public interest” and with the intention of “improving the functioning of government.” The gag order also prevents agencies from taking actions related to policy and legal issues without receiving explicit approval from the White House. This has led to a number of high profile clashes between federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Institutes of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Trump administration. The groups challenging the gag order argued that it violates the First Amendment by preventing public officials from freely speaking out on issues. The D.C. Circuit rejected their argument, stating that federal workers do not possess the same level of free-speech protections enjoyed by private citizens. The ruling has been met with widespread criticism. Advocates for government accountability and civil liberties fear that the gag order is overly broad and gives the Trump administration too much control over what is shared with the public and what actions federal agencies can take. To ensure that government-funded scientific and medical research and policymaking stay rooted in truth and remain unbiased, some are calling for more transparency in the decision-making process and greater protection for federal government whistleblowers when they come forward. Until then, the Trump gag order will remain in place, limiting the free flow of information from federal agencies.