COMPLICITY WATCH: Justice Sonia Sotomayor Calls Out “Men In Black” For Perverting Rules To Advance Trump/Miller White Nationalist Nativist Immigration Agenda!

Mark Joseph Stern
Mark Joseph Stern
Reporter, Slate

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/02/sotomayor-trump-wealth-test-bias-dissent.html

Mark Joseph Stern reports for Slate:

. . . .

Put simply: When some of the most despised and powerless among us ask the Supreme Court to spare their lives, the conservative justices turn a cold shoulder. When the Trump administration demands permission to implement some cruel, nativist, and potentially unlawful immigration restrictions, the conservatives bend over backward to give it everything it wants. There is nothing “fair and balanced” about the court’s double standard that favors the government over everyone else. And, as Sotomayor implies, this flagrant bias creates the disturbing impression that the Trump administration has a majority of the court in its pocket. 

Read the full article at the above link.

Here’s a link to Justice Sotomayor’s full dissent in Wolf v. Cook County:

SotomayorPublicChargeDissetn19a905_7m48

Justice Sonia Sotomayor
Justice Sonia Sotomayor

Here’s a “key quote” from Justice Sotomayor’s dissent:

These facts—all of which undermine the Government’s assertion of irreparable harm—show two things, one about the Government’s conduct and one about this Court’s own. First, the Government has come to treat “th[e] exceptional mechanism” of stay relief “as a new normal.” Barr v. East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, 588 U. S. ___, ___ (2019) (SOTOMAYOR, J., dissenting from grant of stay) (slip op., at 5). Claiming one emergency after another, the Government has recently sought stays in an unprecedented number of cases, demanding immediate attention and consuming lim- ited Court resources in each. And with each successive ap- plication, of course, its cries of urgency ring increasingly hollow. Indeed, its behavior relating to the public-charge

6 WOLF v. COOK COUNTY SOTOMAYOR, J., dissenting

rule in particular shows how much its own definition of ir- reparable harm has shifted. Having first sought a stay in the New York cases based, in large part, on the purported harm created by a nationwide injunction, it now disclaims that rationale and insists that the harm is its temporary inability to enforce its goals in one State.

Second, this Court is partly to blame for the breakdown in the appellate process. That is because the Court—in this case, the New York cases, and many others—has been all too quick to grant the Government’s “reflexiv[e]” requests. Ibid. But make no mistake: Such a shift in the Court’s own behavior comes at a cost.

Stay applications force the Court to consider important statutory and constitutional questions that have not been ventilated fully in the lower courts, on abbreviated timeta- bles and without oral argument. They upend the normal appellate process, putting a thumb on the scale in favor of the party that won a stay. (Here, the Government touts that in granting a stay in the New York cases, this Court “necessarily concluded that if the court of appeals were to uphold the preliminary injunctio[n], the Court likely would grant a petition for a writ of certiorari” and that “there was a fair prospect the Court would rule in favor of the govern- ment.” Application 3.) They demand extensive time and resources when the Court’s intervention may well be unnec- essary—particularly when, as here, a court of appeals is poised to decide the issue for itself.

Perhaps most troublingly, the Court’s recent behavior on stay applications has benefited one litigant over all others. This Court often permits executions—where the risk of ir- reparable harm is the loss of life—to proceed, justifying many of those decisions on purported failures “to raise any potentially meritorious claims in a timely manner.” Mur- phy v. Collier, 587 U. S. ___, ___ (2019) (second statement of KAVANAUGH, J.) (slip op., at 4); see also id., at ___ (ALITO, J., joined by THOMAS and GORSUCH, JJ., dissenting from grant of stay) (slip op., at 6) (“When courts do not have ad- equate time to consider a claim, the decisionmaking process may be compromised”); cf. Dunn v. Ray, 586 U. S. ___ (2019) (overturning the grant of a stay of execution). Yet the Court’s concerns over quick decisions wither when prodded by the Government in far less compelling circumstances— where the Government itself chose to wait to seek relief, and where its claimed harm is continuation of a 20-year status quo in one State. I fear that this disparity in treatment erodes the fair and balanced decision making process that this Court must strive to protect.

I respectfully dissent.

***************************

Of course, the regime’s use of manufactured and clearly bogus “national emergencies” or fake appeals to “national security” is a perversion of both fact and law, as well as a mocking of Constitutional separation of powers. This obscenely transparent legal ruse essentially was invited by the Roberts and his GOP brethren. Roberts somewhat disingenuously claims to  be a “student of history.” But, whether he takes responsibility for it or not, he has basically invited Trump & Miller to start a new “Reichstag Fire” almost every week with migrants, asylum seekers, Latinos, and the less affluent as the “designated usual suspects.”

Powerful as her dissent is, Justice Sotomayor actually understates the case against her GOP colleagues. Every racist, White Nationalist, nativist, and/or authoritarian movement in American history has been enabled, advanced, and protected by morally corrupt and intellectually dishonest jurists who have intentionally provided “legal cover” for those official misdeeds. How about “states rights,” “separate but equal,” “plenary power,” and a host of other now discredited legal doctrines used to justify everything from slavery to denying voting, and other Constitutional rights including life itself to African Americans? They were all used to “cover” for actions that might more properly have been considered “crimes against humanity.”

Who knows what legal blather Roberts and his four fellow rightist toadies will come up with to further promote the destruction of humanity and the disintegration of American democracy at the hands of Trump, Miller, Barr, Putin, and the rest of the gang?

But, courageous “outings” like those by Justice Sotomayor will help insure that history will be able to trace the bloody path of needless deaths, ruined lives, wasted human potential, official hate mongering, and unspeakable human misery they are unleashing directly to their doors and hold them accountable in a way that our current system has disgracefully failed to do.

 

Trump was right about at least one thing: There are indeed “GOP Justices” on the Supremes wholly owned by him and his party. They consistently put GOP rightist ideology and and authoritarianism above the Constitution, human rights, the rule of law, intellectual honesty, and simple human decency. Other than that, they’re a “great bunch of guys!”

Due Process Forever; Complicit Courts Never!

PWS

02-22-20

U.S. JUDGE IN ARIZONA FINDS THAT REGIME’S BORDER PATROL VIOLATES CONSTITUTION WITH GROSS CONDITIONS IN DETENTION FACILITIES! – Putting Humans In “Iceboxes” Is “Punitive” – Duh!

Raphael Carranza
Raphael Carranza
Mexican Border Reporter
Arizona Republic

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/border-issues/2020/02/19/us-mexico-border-patrol-judge-sides-migrants-holding-cells-arizona/4812296002/

Rafael Carranza, The Republic | azcentral.com

 

 

TUCSON — A federal judge in Tucson ruled that the temporary U.S. Border Patrol holding facilities for migrants detained in southeastern Arizona, sometimes known as hieleras or iceboxes,”are presumptively punitive and violate the Constitution.”

U.S. District Judge David Bury issued his ruling on Wednesday granting plaintiffs a permanent injunction with additional requirements for Border Patrol.

The ruling follows a seven-day trial last month detailing overcrowding, inadequate food and medical care, as well as prolonged detention for migrants arrested in the Tucson Sector, which covers Cochise, Santa Cruz and Pima counties.

“The Plaintiffs, who are civil detainees in (Customs and Border Protection) holding cells, face conditions of confinement after 12 hours which are substantially worse than detainees face upon commitment to either a civil immigration detention facility or even a criminal detention facility, like a jail or prison,” the judge’s ruling said.

Follow Arizona politics? Our reporters stay on top of it all. Subscribe now to azcentral.com.

Bury said the “undisputed” evidence showed criminal inmates in jails and even migrants in longer-term civil detention are kept in better conditions than migrants in Border Patrol custody, including “an opportunity for uninterrupted sleep,” a second layer of clothing to keep warm, and a greater variety of food beyond frozen burritos, juice and crackers.

As part of the permanent injunction, the court ordered the Border Patrol to not hold migrants who have already been processed for more than 48 hours after they were initially booked.

The only circumstances under which Border Patrol can hold migrants for an extra 24 hours is “unless and until CBP can provide conditions of confinement that meet detainees’ basic human needs for sleeping in a bed with a blanket, a shower, food that meets acceptable dietary standards, potable water, and medical assessment performed by a medical professional,” Bury said.

By law, the Border Patrol is allowed to hold migrants for up to 72 hours at its holding facilities before transferring them to another federal agency, such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

During the trial, Border Patrol officials testified about the challenges they face in meeting that legal standard.

 

The average time in custody for migrants in 2019 was nearly 54 hours, according to the agency. But of the nearly 63,000 migrants processed in the Tucson Sector that year, more than 12,000 were held longer than the 72 hours allowed.

In 2016, Bury issued an injunction requiring Border Patrol officials in Tucson to provide clean sleeping mats and Mylar blankets to migrants held for longer than 12 hours.

The court added requirements forbidding migrants from sleeping around toilet areas of holding cells, noting that “being forced to sleep in a toilet area due to overcrowding offends the notions of common decency; it is unsanitary and degrading for all detainees who either have to sleep in the toilet area or try to use the toilet when others are sleeping there,” the ruling stated.

One of the witnesses during the trial, a 20-year-old woman from Honduras, described her experience in Border Patrol detention in April 2019. Identified as Witness B, the woman was pregnant at the time and talked about how she was nauseous and vomiting while in detention.

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During the time she was in custody, she slept in a holding room so crowded that the only space to lay down was next to the toilet, she described on Wednesday during a conference call where she was joined by the attorneys who represented her in the case.

“That whole night I was vomiting, I felt really sick. I was very worried because I didn’t know how my baby was doing,” the woman said. “Then they took me to the hospital, there they treated me and they told me that my baby was doing OK.”

After she was released from the hospital, agents returned her to a holding cell, where she said she continued feeling sick. Agents didn’t give her the medication doctors had prescribed until the morning she left the Border Patrol facility, she said.

Bury’s ruling notably found no evidence that Border Patrol’s parent agency, Customs and Border Protection, had purposely created the punitive conditions. Instead, he pointed out that the agency has stretched resources to “provide the best conditions” under current circumstances.

“A presumption, however, exists that the challenged conditions of confinement are punitive because, in the context of CBP operations, there is no legitimate governmental interest for the extended detentions currently occurring at CBP facilities,” the ruling said.

The judge further defined what type of showers Border Patrol needs to allow migrants to take. “A shower is a bath in which water is showered (as in to wet with a spray, fine stream, or drops) on the body,” the ruling said. “A ‘paper-shower’ or ‘shower-wipe,’ by definition, is not a shower.”

Border Patrol officials from the Tucson Sector did not respond to a request for comment.

The legal advocacy groups and private law firms that filed the lawsuit in 2015  celebrated Bury’s decision Wednesday, pointing to potential implications beyond the Tucson Sector.

Ruling BP Conditions Lawsuit by Joshua Ling on Scribd

“What the Constitution requires for individuals who are held in a pre-trial capacity, that has a much broader implication,” said Caroline Walters of the American Immigration Council, one of the groups that filed the lawsuit. “What the judge’s decision did today is sort of lay the groundwork for what these minimum standards should be.”

Walters said the group expects to hear more detail from Bury about implementing his permanent injunction.

“After several years we’re seeing that CBP has not changed the way that it treats people in confinement unless a court orders it,” said Alvaro Huerta, a staff attorney with the National Immigration Law Center. “And so we’re ecstatic that the court has finally recognized and made CBP change the way that it’s going to do its work.”

The Honduran woman who testified in court said she felt good knowing her testimony helped convince the judge to require the U.S. government to improve conditions for migrants like her.

“A lot of people from my country are still coming here because of the situation we are going through in my country,” she said. “So I feel really happy knowing that they will have better conditions.”

Vice President Mike Pence toured a Border Patrol facility in Texas after reports that migrants detained are being held in dangerous conditions. USA TODAY

Have any news tips or story ideas about the U.S.-Mexico border? Reach the reporter at rafael.carranza@arizonarepublic.com, or follow him on Twitter at @RafaelCarranza.

 

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Here’s Judge Bury’s order:

https://www.scribd.com/document/447870402/Ruling-BP-Conditions-Lawsuit#from_embed

So, under Trump we treat asylum seekers worse than convicted criminals. But, don’t worry.  Enabled by the Article III Courts, the regime is reducing the Gulag population and shrinking “Let ‘Em Die in Mexico” by simply abrogating asylum laws and the Constitution and sending folks to Guatemala, a dangerous country with no functioning asylum system, where they won’t get a fair chance to apply for asylum and will either be forced back to the countries they fled or forced to fend for themselves in a failed state. https://www.washingtonpost.com/immigration/remain-in-mexico-deportation-asylum-guatemala/2020/02/20/9c29f53e-4eb7-11ea-9b5c-eac5b16dafaa_story.html

 

Some might survive, some won’t. But, we don’t really care because it’s “out of sight, out of mind.”

 

I actually think that Judge Bury got part of this case wrong by incorrectly absolving the Border Patrol of intentionally abusing these individuals. Wrong! Essentially, this is the old “Good enough for Government work” cop out.

 

There are always alternatives to unconstitutional and punitive detention. The most obvious being releasing folks on bond if there is no constitutionally compliant alternative. Like other Government employees, Border Patrol Officers take an oath to uphold the Constitution. When tasked by the regime with carrying out Constitutional abuses, they actually have a duty to “just say no” even if that means resigning their jobs.

 

And, on a larger scale, it’s clear that the regime has chosen to waste money on unneeded and unauthorized walls, unneeded detention, frivolous legal actions, and details of Border Patrol personnel to punish cities that won’t go along with some of their unlawful behavior. That money could and should have been used to improve detention conditions to meet constitutional minimums. In simple terms, the regime made a conscious choice to violate the Constitution as part of its illegal and immoral “deterrence” program. It’s time for Article III Courts to stop enabling and papering over false, illegal “choices” by a scofflaw Administration.

Due Process Forever!

 

PWS

 

02-21-20

 

 

STATUE OF LIBERTY DENIER “COOCH COOCH,” “WOLFMAN,” & OTHER DHS SCOFFLAWS HELD IN CONTEMPT BY U.S. JUDGE – Regime Actually Deported Kids Found Eligible For Relief, In Violation Of Court Order!

"Cooch Cooch"
“Cooch Cooch” Rewrites America’s Welcoming Message for White Nationalist Nation

https://apple.news/AR_Xf6D4ER7qUHL9_TRSjBA

Reported by AP:

Judge finds US in contempt after immigrants in suit deported

A federal judge has found the U.S. government in contempt after authorities deported five young immigrants who were seeking to remain in the country under a program for abused and neglected immigrant children.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins issued the civil order Friday after finding the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services violated a 2018 preliminary injunction that required them to notify lawyers of any enforcement action against the young immigrants in a class-action lawsuit in California.

Despite the preliminary injunction, five immigrants who were seeking to stay in the United States under a federal government program for abused immigrant children were deported, and one of them was reportedly assaulted.

Mary Tanagho Ross, appellate staff attorney at Public Counsel’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said she learned of the deportations months after one of the immigrants was back in Guatemala, where he was attacked by gang members.

“It is shocking the defendants didn’t do their part to make sure ICE complied with a federal court order and they literally sent kids back to the lion’s den,” she said Wednesday.

A Department of Justice spokesman declined to comment on the case.

The lawsuit was settled last year between the U.S. government and lawyers for immigrants who sought to be covered by the program after they turned 18. Applications are allowed until age 21.

Tanagho Ross said she would never have learned of the deportations but for another lawyer who mentioned one of his clients had applied for the program, which leads to a green card, but got deported after losing a case for asylum.

The court ordered the agencies to return the five immigrants to the United States by Feb. 29 so long as they want to come back, and pay $500 for each day after that each one remains out of the country.

One of them has already been returned and is in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which plans to send him back to Guatemala in another two weeks now that the lawyers have been notified, the U.S. government said in a court filing.

His application to the program for abused children has been approved but he will likely have to wait more than two years for a green card due to a cap on the number allowed to be issued each year, the government said.

Tanagho Ross said attorneys will seek to block his deportation.

 

****************************************

From the Judge’s order:

Defendants’ violation of the preliminary injunction is especially concerning. Beyond Defendants’ basic failure to comply with a Court’s order, Defendants removed class members that had been abused, neglected, or abandoned in their countries of origin. And instead of notifying Plaintiffs’ counsel of those removals as ordered by the Court, Defendants remained silent until Plaintiffs’ counsel discovered those violations themselves six months after the first removal.

Accordingly, the Court now holds all Defendants—Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, Chad F. Wolf, Robert M. Cowan, United States Department of Homeland Security, and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services—in civil contempt.

Here’s a copy of the complete court order:

ImmigrationOrder Granting contemptagainstgovtofficials

So, just why would we be spending taxpayer money to remove abused children who had already been found eligible for relief to the countries where they would again be abused, just because “no number was available” at the moment? Are “numbers” really more important than human lives? Why would the Government spend taxpayer money “defending the indefensible” rather than just confessing error and apologizing to the plaintiffs and to the judge? Why aren’t DOJ lawyers working for Barr and defending regime scofflaws held to the same ethical standards as lawyers in private practice?

Prior to this regime, DHS counsel routinely stipulated to stays or “administrative closing” of cases like this. If they hadn’t, most Immigration Judges would have ordered the cases closed, terminated “without prejudice,” or continued. Why have sensible legal practices that promoted docket efficiency, reasonableness, and humanity been intentionally abandoned? Obviously it’s “malicious incompetence” as practiced by DHS & DOJ management in this regime that has ballooned the Immigration Court backlog to over 1.3 million cases and still growing. Whatever happened to responsible Government in the public interest?

One of those most responsible for this breakdown in legal ethics and fundamental fairness is former Attorney General Jeff  “Gonzo Apocalypto” Sessions who illegally and unethically did away with “administrative closing.” Yet “Gonzo” walks the streets, even having the audacity to run for the Senate again, while his victims and our legal system suffer. (Sessions was the “mastermind” of the unconstitutional “family separation” fiasco that even years later is still traumatizing innocent families for the “crime” of seeking legal protection under our laws.) What’s wrong with a system that lets corrupt, immoral individuals like Sessions escape accountability and publicly tout, even seek to benefit from, their “crimes against humanity?”

This is the second time recently that Article III Federal Judges have found Trump regime employees to be basically in contempt of their orders. When are Federal Judges going to start sending some of these folks to jail and referring Barr, “Cooch Cooch,” and the DOJ lawyers who continue to obfuscate and frivolously defend the indefensible to the appropriate bar (not Barr) authorities for license revocation?

PWS

02-20-20

 

HERE’S A SEPARATE LETTER ON THE URGENT NEED FOR AN ARTICLE I U.S. IMMIGRATION COURT THAT I SENT TO MY SENATORS AND CONGRESSMAN TODAY!

Sent to Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Representative Don Beyer (D-VA) and a few others today:

Dear

 

RE: Independent Article I U.S. Immigration Court

 

As an American, human being, taxpayer, and retired career civil servant, I am outraged at the totally unconstitutional and maliciously incompetent destruction of due process and the rule of law, not to mention simple human decency, in our U.S. Immigration Courts by the Department of Justice and the Trump Administration. They have created unprecedented dysfunction and grotesque unfairness.

 

The current mess, with already record low and plummeting morale and an out of control, largely self-created backlog of more than 1.3 million cases, serves neither the human beings condemned to its daily injustices and intentional degradations of humanity nor the legitimate needs of DHS enforcement. The latter should not be confused with the many outright lies and intentionally false narratives about the need for massive, counterproductive, fiscally wasteful, and intentionally cruel immigration enforcement spread by this Administration. I call on you to join your colleagues in supporting bipartisan legislation to create an independent, Article I U.S. Immigration Court as one of our highest and most pressing national priorities.

 

I have been involved in the field of immigration, law enforcement, refugees, and human rights for 47 years. More than 35 of those years were spent at the U.S. Department of Justice, where I worked under both Republican and Democratic Administrations. Indeed, as a career Senior Executive under the Reagan Administration, I helped create the Executive Office for Immigration Review (“EOIR”) to house the Immigration Courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”).

 

Our aim then was to increase judicial independence, due process, fundamental fairness, and professionalism. The Department that I loyally served bears no resemblance whatsoever to the unbelievable ethical and legal morass that now exists under Bill Barr, one of the three most totally unmqualified individuals to hold that post during my lifetime (the others being convicted felon John Mitchell and notorious White Nationalist enforcement zealot Jeff Sessions, who was primarily responsible for the Administration’s cruel and unconstitutional “child separation” program).

 

Prior to my retirement on June 30, 2019, I spent 13 years as an Immigration Judge at the U.S. Immigration Court in Arlington, Virginia. Before that, I was a Board Member and Appellate Immigration Judge at the BIA, for eight years, the first six as BIA Chair. I also spent more than a decade at the “Legacy Immigration & Naturalization Service,” (“INS”) where as Deputy General Counsel, and Acting General Counsel during portions of the Carter and Reagan Administrations, I was responsible for the overall operation of the nationwide legal program, including all representation before the Immigration Courts and the BIA. I have also practiced immigration law as a partner at the D.C. Office of Jones Day and as managing partner of the D.C. Office of Fragomen.

 

I currently teach Immigration Law & Policy as an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown Law, as well as making numerous speeches and other public appearances, and publishing my own blog, immigrationcourtside.com. I am a proud member of the Round Table of Former Immigration Judges, a voluntary organization, with more than 40 former judges as members, committed to filing amicus briefs, public statements, and taking part in educational efforts intended to increase public and judicial understanding of the Immigration Courts and to promote an essential restoration of due process and fundamental fairness as its focus.

 

I know of few, if any, other participants in the current “immigration dialogue,” who have personally been involved in more cases either helping deserving individuals achieve legal status under our laws or, conversely, ordering the removal of individuals found not to qualify to remain here under our laws. In other words, I know what I’m talking about, much of it from face to face encounters with individuals on all sides of the issue in Immigration Court, as well as years of experience in shaping national immigration policy and legislation in both the public and private sectors.

 

I have had to personally deliver to individuals and their families the “bad news” that I was required by the law to return them to countries where I had little doubt that they would suffer torture, rape, dehumanization, or even death. It’s a sobering experience not shared by most of those clueless demagogues now bragging about how “success” should be measured by our ability to inflict more unnecessary cruelty and inhumanity on some of the most vulnerable individuals in the world and how “court efficiency” means nothing other than assembly line removals with neither due process nor fundamental fairness.

 

What’s happening now in our Immigration courts is a travesty and a national catastrophe. It is wrong, from a Constitutional, legal, and moral standpoint. It eventually will join Jim Crow as one of the most heinous abuses of legal authority and human rights in modern American legal history. Surely, we all want to be on “the right side of history” on this fundamental issue.

 

Today, many NGOs involved in justice, immigration, and human rights launched a “twitter storm” to raise awareness of the tragic abuses of the legal system going on at the Administration’s instigation daily in our failed and unconscionably “weaponized” Immigration Courts.  Innocent lives are literally being lost and families and futures ruined while we stand by and watch. America’s future as a great nation and “beacon of hope” for the rest of the world is literally being dissolved and washed down the drain.

 

Please take time to read the detailed letter that our Round Table of Former Immigration Judges signed, along with the American Immigration Lawyers Association and 53 other distinguished non-governmental organizations, demanding an end to the abusive Immigration Courts under DOJ control and the establishment of a constitutionally required independent Immigration Court that will insure due process and fundamental fairness as required by our Constitution.

 

That letter may be found at this link: https://www.aila.org/advo-media/aila-correspondence/2020/advocates-call-on-congress-establish-independent

 

Also, if you have not already done so, I urge you to read the letter signed by me and more than 2,500 other former DOJ officials deploring the corruption and unethical behavior that Bill Barr has “normalized” at the DOJ and demanding his resignation.

 

That letter may be found at this link:  https://medium.com/@dojalumni/doj-alumni-statement-on-the-events-surrounding-the-sentencing-of-roger-stone-c2cb75ae4937

 

American justice is facing an existential crisis resulting from this Administration’s weaponization and maliciously incompetent management of what is perhaps our biggest, and certainly most important in terms of human lives and American’s future in the world, court systems: The Immigration Courts. When these courts finally implode under the Trump Administration’s continued abuses, they will take with them a large portion of our American justice system and that which makes America different from the rest of the world.

 

I should know – I dealt with the human wreckage caused by the failure of courts and justice systems in other countries nearly every working day for more than four decades. This Administration has turned our once-proud Immigration Courts into a “parody of justice” usually found in third-world dictatorships or authoritarian states where due process is but a mirage.

 

Therefore, I respectfully ask for your support in creating an independent Article I U.S. Immigration Court. Due Process Forever!

 

With my thanks and very best wishes,

 

 

 

Paul Wickham Schmidt

U.S. Immigration Judge (Retired)

 

 

***************************

PWS

02-19-20

54 NGOs DECLARE EOIR A DUE PROCESS DISASTER AREA, URGE CONGRESS TO CREATE INDEPENDENT ARTICLE I COURT — Round Table of Former Immigration Judges Among Groups Seeking Change — Join AILA’S “Twitterstorm” Today (Wednesday)

 

Laura Lynch
Laura Lynch
Senior Policy Counsel
AILA

Hi Local Asylum Liaisons-

 

Today AILA, the American Immigration Council, and 52 additional organizations sent a letter to members of Congress, urging them to establish an independent immigration court! This letter was sent in advance of tomorrow’s twitterstorm that aims to bring attention to the dysfunction in the immigration court system and call for reform.

 

Asks:

 

  1. Please amplify this letter on social media.

 

Twitter: You can retweet AILANational’s tweet or use some of the sample tweets below.

 

·          Click to tweet: Case-completion quotas force immigration judges to rush through cases, often at the expense of due process. This assembly-line justice is unacceptable. Read the letter @AILANational & others sent to Congress calling for independent courts. http://ow.ly/mV3730qiMW5

 

·          Click to tweet: The Trump administration’s certification decisions have undermined due process and weakened protections for asylum seekers. Read more in this letter @AILANational and over 50 orgs sent to Congress. #JudicialIndependence http://ow.ly/mV3730qiMW5

 

·          Click to tweet: Due process and #JudicialIndependence should never be sacrificed in the name of political expediency. Read the letter @AILANational sent with over 50 other orgs calling for the establishment of an independent immigration court. http://ow.ly/mV3730qiMW5

 

Sample LinkedIn/Facebook Post: Please share AILA’s Facebook post or use sample post below.

  • Due process and judicial independence should never be sacrificed in the name of political expediency. Read the letter AILA National sent with 50 other organizations calling for the establishment of an independent immigration court. http://ow.ly/mV3730qiMW5

 

  1. Please join us tomorrow, Wednesday (2/19) from 3pm – 4pm ET to participate in a Twitterstorm hosted by AILA, NIJC, and Human Rights First.
    • You can share tweets from our social media toolkit or craft your own using the hashtag #JudicialIndependence. Looking forward to seeing you on Twitter!

 

Thank you! -Laura

 

Also ICYMI –last week a group of Senators accused the Department of Justice of politicizing the immigration courts in a letter to Attorney General Barr. Read more here.

 

Laura A. Lynch, Esq.

Senior Policy Counsel

Direct: 202.507.7627 I Email: llynch@aila.org

 

American Immigration Lawyers Association

Main: 202.507.7600 I Fax: 202.783.7853 I www.aila.org

1331 G Street NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20005

 

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Here’s the link to our letter:

NGOLTREOIR20021838

 

DUE PROCESS FOREVER!

 

*******************

PWS

02-19-20

“Ex-federal prosecutor: DOJ has a virus, everything Barr touches dies – CNN Video” – True, But Hardly “News” to Migrants, Asylum Seekers, & Their Lawyers!

https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2020/02/17/barr-federal-prosecutor-doj-sot-nr-vpx.cnn

 

 

STORIES WORTH WATCHING (15 VIDEOS)

Ex-federal prosecutor: DOJ has a virus, everything Barr touches dies

 

Former Assistant US Attorney Gene Rossi explained why he was one of the 1,100 former Justice Department staffers who called for Attorney General Barr’s resignation.

Source: CNN

 

**************************************

Wow! Amazing! The “rest of the legal world” is just starting to “discover” the truth of what many of us in “immigration world” have been saying ever since Jeff “Gonzo Apocalypto” Sessions set his first White Nationalist nativist foot in the door at DOJ and “Due Process began to die.”

Corruption comes in all sorts of sizes and shapes. I guess Billy Barr’s corruption is easier for “legal elites” to understand and relate to than Gonzo’s and Barr’s “mere” deconstruction of Due Process for, and dehumanization of, migrants and other vulnerable minorities, particularly those of color.

Also interesting how Article III Federal Judges have “suddenly discovered” the threats to their independence and due process that many of them, starting with the Supremes’ majority, have been studiously ignoring as long as only migrants and asylum seekers’ lives were at stake. Wake up “oh exalted robed ones,” and start standing up for the Constitution, the rule of law, and human decency before Trump and his cronies wipe it all out! As many of us have been saying, but far too many of you have been “tuning out,” when you stand up for the rights of the most vulnerable among us you are standing up for everyone’s rights including your own. A truly independent judiciary is useless to authoritarian regimes and “unitary Executives!”

Due Process Forever; The DOJ’s Corruption Under Trump Never!

 

PWS

02-18-20

 

 

 

 

COMPLICITY HAS COSTS:  Article III Judges’ Association Apparently Worries That Trump, Barr, GOP Toadies Starting To “Treat Them Like Immigration Judges” — Do They Fear Descent To Status Of Mere Refugees, Immigrants, “Dreamers,” Unaccompanied Children, Or Others Treated As “Less Than Persons” By Trump, 5th Cir., 11th Cir., 9th Cir., & The Supremes’ “J.R. Five?” 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/02/18/judges-meeting-trump/

Fred Barbash
Fred Barbash
Legal Reporter
Washington Post

Fred Barbash reports for the WashPost:

By

Fred Barbash

Feb. 18, 2020 at 3:16 a.m. EST

The head of the Federal Judges Association is taking the extraordinary step of calling an emergency meeting to address the intervention in politically sensitive cases by President Trump and Attorney General William P. Barr.

U.S. District Judge Cynthia M. Rufe, the Philadelphia-based judge who heads the voluntary association of around 1,100 life-term federal judges, told USA Today that the issue “could not wait.” The association, founded in 1982, ordinarily concerns itself with matters of judicial compensation and legislation affecting the federal judiciary.

Republicans defend Barr as Klobuchar looks forward to testimony

Lawmakers and White House counselor Kellyanne Conway commented Feb. 16 on President Trump’s tweets and the conduct of Attorney General William P. Barr. (The Washington Post)

On Sunday, more than 1,100 former Justice Department employees released a public letter calling on Barr to resign over the Stone case.

More than 1,100 ex-Justice Department officials call for Barr’s resignation

A search of news articles since the group’s creation revealed nothing like a meeting to deal with the conduct of a president or attorney general.

Rufe, appointed to the bench by President George W. Bush, could not be reached for comment late Monday.

The action follows a week of turmoil that included the president tweeting his outrage over the length of sentence recommended by career federal prosecutors for his friend Roger Stone and the decision by Barr to withdraw that recommendation.

In between, Trump singled out the judge in the Stone case, Amy Berman Jackson of the U.S. District Court in Washington, for personal attacks, accusing her of bias and spreading a falsehood about her record.

“There are plenty of issues that we are concerned about,” Rufe said to USA Today. “We’ll talk all this through.”

Trump began disparaging federal judges who have ruled against his interests before he took office, starting with U.S. District Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel. After Curiel ruled against Trump in 2016 in a pair of lawsuits detailing predatory marketing practices at Trump University in San Diego, Trump described him as “a hater of Donald Trump,” adding that he believed the Indiana-born judge was “Mexican.”

Trump keeps lashing out at judges

President Trump has a history of denouncing judges over rulings that have negatively affected him personally as well as his administration’s policies. (Drea Cornejo/The Washington Post)

Faced with more than 100 adverse rulings in the federal courts, Trump has continued verbal attacks on judges.

Rufe’s comments gave no hint of what the association could or would do in response.

Some individual judges have already spoken out critically about Trump’s attacks generally, among them U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman, a colleague of Jackson’s in Washington, and most recently, the chief judge of the court in Washington, Beryl A. Howell.

*******************

In reality, judges were among those inside Germany who might have effectively challenged Hitler’s authority, the legitimacy of the Nazi regime, and the hundreds of laws that restricted political freedoms, civil rights, and guarantees of property and security. And yet, the overwhelming majority did not. Instead, over the 12 years of Nazi rule, during which time judges heard countless cases, most not only upheld the law but interpreted it in broad and far-reaching ways that facilitated, rather than hindered, the Nazis ability to carry out their agenda.

 

— United States Holocaust Museum, Law, Justice, and the Holocaust, at 8 (July 2018)

How soon we forget!

Will Trump & Barr eventually separate Article III Judges’ families or send them to danger zones in Mexico or the Northern Triangle to “deter” rulings against the regime? Will Mark Morgan and Chad Wolf then declare “victory?” Will their families be scattered to various parts of the “New American Gulag” with no plans to reunite them? Will they be put on trial for their lives without access to lawyers? Are there costs for failing to take a “united stand” for the rule of law, Constitutional Due Process, human rights, and the human dignity of the most vulnerable among us?

Why does it take the case of a lifetime sleaze-ball like Roger Stone to get the “life-tenured ones” to “wake up” to the attacks on humanity and the rule of law going on under noses for the past three years?

Complicity has costs!

Due Process Forever; Complicit Courts Never!

PWS

02-18-20

WHAT “MUSHROOMS” AT A RATE EVEN FASTER THAN THE EOIR BACKLOG? – The Number Of Former DOJ Employees Demanding The Resignation Of Billy Barr! –- We Are Now More Than 2,000 Strong!

Dear DOJ Alumni,

 

Your statement has received a tremendous amount of national media coverage. You have added your names for a variety of reasons and you may have slight qualms with portions of the statement, but because so many experienced former DOJ officials united behind this effort, you were able to focus attention on this important issue. Thank you.

 

Over 2,000 former DOJ officials have now signed. Please help us spread the news about your overwhelming response in protest of the ongoing politicization of the Department. For those of you who use social media, you can retweet Protect Democracy’s account:

 

https://twitter.com/protctdemocracy/status/1229487834211418117

 

Or here is some suggested content for you to modify for your own posts:

Again, we encourage you to submit op-eds and letters to the editor of your local newspaper to explain in your own words you signed the statement. Thanks to all of you who have sent us your interviews, articles, and editorials. Please continue to do so.

 

We will continue to accept new signatories over the coming days. DOJ alumni can add their names by completing this form. Please note that because we vet the submissions before adding them to the Medium post, there will continue to be lag time between the submission and when the name appears on the list.

 

Best,

Justin

 

Justin Vail

protectdemocracy.org | (314) 341-9149

 

See More from Justin Vail

 

 

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PWS

 

02-17-20

 

 

FORMER BUSH I DEPUTY AG DON AYER CALLS FOR BARR’S RESIGNATION OR REMOVAL — “The attorney general is working to destroy the integrity and independence of the Justice Department, in order to make Donald Trump a president who can operate above the law.”

Don Ayer
Don Ayer
American Lawyer
Former U.S. Deputy Attorney General

https://apple.news/AxUGOQnj8TbqfGGihMbzmng

Don Ayer writes in The Atlantic:

When Donald Trump chose Bill Barr to serve as attorney general in December 2018, even some moderates and liberals greeted the choice with optimism. One exuberant Democrat described him as “an excellent choice,” who could be counted on to “stand up for the department’s institutional prerogatives and … push back on any improper attempt to inject politics into its work.”

At the end of his first year of service, Barr’s conduct has shown that such expectations were misplaced. Beginning in March with his public whitewashing of Robert Mueller’s report, which included powerful evidence of repeated obstruction of justice by the president, Barr has appeared to function much more as the president’s personal advocate than as an attorney general serving the people and government of the United States. Among the most widely reported and disturbing events have been Barr’s statements that a judicially authorized FBI investigation amounted to “spying” on the Trump campaign, and his public rejection in December of the inspector general’s considered conclusion that the Russia probe was properly initiated and overseen in an unbiased manner. Also quite unsettling was Trump’s explicit mention of Barr and Rudy Giuliani in the same breath in his July 25 phone call with Volodymyr Zelensky, as individuals the Ukrainian president should speak with regarding the phony investigation that Ukraine was expected to publicly announce.

Still more troubling has been Barr’s intrusion, apparently for political reasons, into the area of Justice Department action that most demands scrupulous integrity and strict separation from politics and other bias—invocation of the criminal sanction. When Barr initiated a second, largely redundant investigation of the FBI Russia probe in May, denominated it criminal, and made clear that he is personally involved in carrying it out, many eyebrows were raised.

But worst of all have been the events of the past week. The evenhanded conduct of the prosecutions of Roger Stone and Michael Flynn by experienced Department of Justice attorneys have been disrupted at the 11th hour by the attorney general’s efforts to soften the consequences for the president’s associates. More generally, it appears that Barr has recently identified a group of lawyers whom he trusts and put them in place to oversee and second-guess the work of the department’s career attorneys on a broader range of cases. And there is no comfort from any of this in Barr’s recent protests about the president’s tweeting. He in no way suggested he was changing course, only that it is hard to appear independent when the president is publicly calling for him to follow the path he is on.

Bad as they are, these examples are more symptoms than causes of Barr’s unfitness for office. The fundamental problem is that he does not believe in the central tenet of our system of government—that no person is above the law. In chilling terms, Barr’s own words make clear his long-held belief in the need for a virtually autocratic executive who is not constrained by countervailing powers within our government under the constitutional system of checks and balances.

Indeed, given our national faith and trust in a rule of law no one can subvert, it is not too strong to say that Bill Barr is un-American. And now, from his perch as attorney general, he is in the midst of a root-and-branch attack on the core principles that have guided our justice system, and especially our Department of Justice, since the 1970s.

. . . .

The benefit of the doubt that many were ready to extend to Barr a year ago—as among the best of a bad lot of nominees who had previously served in high office without disgrace—has now run out. He has told us in great detail who he is, what he believes, and where he would like to take us. For whatever twisted reasons, he believes that the president should be above the law, and he has as his foil in pursuit of that goal a president who, uniquely in our history, actually aspires to that status. And Barr has acted repeatedly on those beliefs in ways that are more damaging at every turn. Presently he is moving forward with active misuse of the criminal sanction, as one more tool of the president’s personal interests.

Bill Barr’s America is not a place that anyone, including Trump voters, should want to go. It is a banana republic where all are subject to the whims of a dictatorial president and his henchmen. To prevent that, we need a public uprising demanding that Bill Barr resign immediately, or failing that, be impeached.

************************

Read Don’s full article at the link.

I always liked and respected Don Ayer. We worked together on a few projects at the DOJ and were partners together at Jones Day in the 1990s.

I’m sure that, like others, I was a guilty of giving Billy Barr “the benefit of the doubt,” as I did with his totally unfit predecessor Jeff “Gonzo Apocalypto” Sessions. I actually hoped they would function as they claimed under oath they would during their Senate confirmations. Obviously, both these dudes gave blatantly false testimony. But, it’s hardly surprising considering the litany of lies about migrants, lawyers, political opponents, and the law, not to mention loyal DOJ employees, that have come out of their mouths since they were confirmed.

The legal profession is basically back to the “bad place” we were at the time of Watergate. This time it’s probably even worse because of the lack of integrity among GOP legislators and too many Article III Judges who seem to have bought into Trump’s “I could shoot somebody in Times Square at noon and my toadies and enablers would still support me” rationale. After all, it was the loss of support among the Senate GOP that eventually led Nixon to resign. 

Obviously, for today’s “Trump owned and operated” GOP rank and file, no crime Trump could commit would ever rise to the level of an impeachable offense. And beyond a mild “slap on the wrist” to Wilbur Ross for giving intentionally false testimony, J.R. and his “Gang of 5” at the Supremes have been perfectly happy to dehumanize migrants and asylum seekers, many of them Hispanic or Muslims, in ways that would never be acceptable if applied to others in society. In other words, “Dred Scottification” of the “other” is OK, just so long as only the desperate, vulnerable, or people of color are at risk. 

What Trump has done to refugees, asylum, seekers, other migrants, and their families is actually far worse than the “Stone fiasco” in human and legal terms. Billy Barr actually unconstitutionally acts as prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner in their Immigration “Court” cases — that is, if they are even fortunate to get to any type of hearing at all.

This is completely and outrageously unfair and unconstitutional. Yet judges and others who haven’t taken the time to figure out what’s really happening or who have just abandoned their humanity routinely overlook these grotesque miscarriages of justice, clear violations of basic judicial ethics prohibiting conflicts of interest, and blatant disregard for Constitutional guarantees for fair and impartial adjudication, particularly in matters affecting life and/or freedom.

Someday, I think that history will accurately characterize the immigration and refuge policies of the Trump regime as “crimes against humanity” and will detail the culpability of all of those, be they government employees, judges, legislators, or voters, who assisted and enabled Trump’s cruel,  illegal, immoral, and abhorrent conduct.

Until then, many will suffer unnecessarily and unconstitutionally. And, no, despite all of Don’s cogent arguments, Billy Barr isn’t going anywhere unless and until “His Don” finds him no longer useful in corrupting justice in America.

PWS

02-17-20

WANT A GOVERNMENT THAT IS FAIR, FACT BASED, ENERGETIC, COMPASSIONATE, RESPECTFUL, AND COMMITTED TO THE COMMON GOOD? — WANT A REPRESENTATIVE WHO WILL SOLVE LOCAL PROBLEMS IN A “BIG-PICTURE” CONTEXT? WANT A LEGISLATOR WHO WILL DISCUSS IMMIGRATION FROM PRACTICAL, HUMAN, COMMUNITY-BASED EXPERIENCE, NOT BIAS & FEARFUL FALSE NARRATIVES? — Hillary Scholten, Michigan 3rd District, Democrat, is YOUR Candidate!  — Meet Hillary & “Get On Her Bandwagon” For Good Government That Will Work For YOU & for ALL-AMERICAN VALUES Every Day, on March 6, 2020, @ Noon in D.C.!

Hillary Scholten
Hillary Scholten
Democrat
Candidate for Congress
Michigan 3rd District
  • Brilliant

  • Courageous

  • Creative

  • Compassionate

  • Committed

  • Caring

  • Concerned

  • Genuine

  • Reputation for integrity

  • Family-friendly

  • Dedicated parent

  • Michigan born and raised

  • Michigan values, All-American vision

  • A leader and role model for the “New Due Process Army”

That’s my friend HILLARY SCHOLTEN — our candidate for a return to the basic values that made our country great!  Join me, meet Hillary in person, and find out more about one of American politics’ most refreshing, down-to-earth, and exciting “new faces” and her positive vision for all Americans. “Michigan’s Values are America’s Values!” Hillary is America’s future! Help put her to work for us and for all Americans now!

 — “Hillary was held in such high regard universally at the BIA.  In addition to all of her other attributes, she is highly inclusive and a consensus builder, which is so important in the present climate.”
***Honorable Jeffrey S. Chase, Retired U.S. Immigration Judge, Former BIA Senior Advisor, Author of “Jeffrey S. Chase Blog,” & a Leader of the Round Table of Former Immigration Judges

 

Here are links to the invitation:

https://secure.actblue.com/donate/dcluncheon

DC Luncheon Invitation (1)

Please join us
For a luncheon in support of
Hillary Scholten
Candidate for Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District With guest speaker
Judge Paul Schmidt Friday, March 6th
12:00-2:00 PM
The Dupont Room at the offices of Arent Fox
1717 K Street NW Washington, DC 20006
Contribution Levels:
Maximum: $2,800 | Host: $500 | Champion: $250 | Supporter: $100 | Guest: $50
RSVP online at: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/dcluncheon Or to Liz Gallagher at liz@hillaryscholten.com
Paid for by Hillary Scholten for Congress.

Luncheon in Support of Hillary Scholten for
Congress
th
March 6 , 2020 12:00-2:00 PM
Requested Contribution Levels:
Maximum: $,2800 | Host: $500 | Champion: $250 | Supporter: $100 | Guest: $50
You may give online at: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/dcluncheon
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Please make contributions payable and mail checks to:
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Contributions are not tax deductible. Federal law requires us to use best efforts to collect and report the name, mailing address, occupation and employer of individuals whose contributions exceed $200 in an election cycle. Contributions are limited to personal funds of $2,800 for the 2020 Primary election and $2,800 for the 2020 General election. Contributions from qualified Federal PACs are limited to $5,000 per PAC for each election. Corporate checks, funds from government contractors, foreign nationals, and labor organizations, and contributions made in the
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Paid for by Scholten for Congress.

**************************

Hope to see you on March 6!

PWS

02-16-20

 

LET’S HEAR IT FOR AMERICA’S “TRUE LEGAL HEROES” – “MD Carey School of Law and CLINIC: ‘Keeping Families Together’”

 

https://www.law.umaryland.edu/News-and-Events/News-Item/Keeping-Families-Together.php?fbclid=IwAR34KEpIXMTmWiT_xaKHHgMVk0qvfG22T3GuuEulLU54nu_A3ov4WH-XCcA

Keeping Families Together

Professor Maureen Sweeney (l) with student attorney Tonya Foley ’21.
Professor Maureen Sweeney (l) with student attorney Tonya Foley ’21.

Tonya Foley ’21 knew she was meant for a career in immigration law well before applying to law school. Living in Naples, Italy, during the 2015 refugee crisis, the mom of two was deeply impacted by her interactions with people who had risked their lives in rubber boats to find a safe harbor.

So, when picking a law school, one of the most important factors for Foley was a robust immigration clinic. That’s why she chose the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.

“I feel strongly about using the privilege of this education to help people,” said Foley. “The immigration system is so complicated that legal representation can make all the difference.”

Foley and her colleagues at the Maryland Carey Law Immigration Clinic, led by Professor Maureen Sweeney, proved that last fall when they won permanent residency for the mother in a family with two teenagers who had never known another home than the United States.

The student attorneys, including Foley, Alba Sanchez Fabelo ’20, and Miles Light ’21, “did an amazing job,” said Sweeney, “gaining the trust of the family, documenting the hardship that would accompany deportation, and convincing the judge to grant residence.”

The case was referred to the Immigration Clinic by Maryland Carey Law alumna Michelle Mendez ’08, director of the Defending Vulnerable Populations program at the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), a national non-profit.

Through three job changes, Mendez had been working the case pro bono since her days as an Equal Justice Works fellow in 2009. That’s when her client was taken away in handcuffs in front of her two young children for a minor traffic violation (later dismissed) in the parking lot of a church where her husband was teaching youth group bible study, and turned directly over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Years passed as Mendez fought through multiple denials and appeals to keep her client in the country, finally getting the case reopened in light of new evidence that the mother’s daughter was exhibiting emotional issues—including a crippling fear of police officers—and learning disabilities at school. Arguments before Baltimore Immigration Court were set for November 2019.

“Knowing I could not give this family the time and attention they needed and deserved,” said Mendez, whose current position is travel intensive, “with a heavy heart, I asked Professor Maureen Sweeney if the University of Maryland Carey School of Law Immigration Clinic would take over the case. They were one of the only groups I would trust with it.”

Sweeney agreed and, at the start of the fall semester, the students got to work—meeting weekly with the family, tracking down expert witnesses, gathering evidence, preparing affidavits, and, finally, making their case in court just before Thanksgiving. The students’ preparation and presentation were so thorough and effective that the judge ruled for permanent residency stipulating exceptional hardship for the children if their mother were deported to a region in Central America with insufficient resources to meet the daughter’s special needs.

Foley, who will join Sweeney helping asylum seekers in Tijuana for this year’s Alternative Spring Break, said that working on the case was an incredible experience for her first time in immigration court. “I was honored to be able to help the client and give her family long-term peace and security,” she said. “It’s what I’m here to do.”

Equally thrilled by the result, Mendez is grateful for the clinic’s hard work. “It took more than a decade,” she said, “but we won the greatest prize—we kept a family together.”

All full-time day students at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law are guaranteed practical lawyering experience in the school’s many clinics and legal theory and practice classes. Each year, students in the Clinical Law Program provide 75,000 hours of free legal service to poor and other underrepresented populations and communities.

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Thanks so much Michelle, my good friend and colleague in the New Due Process Army, for sharing this inspiring and uplifting story. With so much “negative leadership” out there today and all too many “poor role models” among judges and lawyers who “should know better,” it’s refreshing to know that folks like Professor Maureen Sweeney, Tanya Foley ‘21, Alba Sanchez Fabelo ’20, Miles Light ’21, and you are out there as members of the “New Due Process Army” fighting for all of our legal rights in a system that all too often appears to have abandoned the basics of the rule of law, professional ethics, and human decency.

 

Saving Lives Makes A Difference; Due Process Forever!

 

PWS

 

02-16-20

JOIN MORE THAN 1,100 FORMER DOJ OFFICIALS, INCLUDING MANY MEMBERS OF THE ROUND TABLE OF RETIRED JUDGES, IN SPEAKING OUT AGAINST BARR’S UNETHICAL ACTIONS AT DOJ & CALLING FOR HIS RESIGNATION — It’s Not Too Late To Get On Board For Protecting America’s Democratic Institutions From Corruption & Undue Political Influence!

Katie Benner
Katie Benner
Justice Correspondent
NY Times

Katie Benner reports for The NY Times:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/16/us/politics/barr-trump-justice-department.html

WASHINGTON — More than 1,100 former federal prosecutors and Justice Department officials called on Attorney General William P. Barr on Sunday to step down after he intervened last week to lower the Justice Department’s sentencing recommendation for President Trump’s longtime friend Roger J. Stone Jr.

They also urged current government employees to report any signs of unethical behavior at the Justice Department to the agency’s inspector general and to Congress.

“Each of us strongly condemns President Trump’s and Attorney General Barr’s interference in the fair administration of justice,” the former Justice Department lawyers, who came from across the political spectrum, wrote in an open letter on Sunday. Those actions, they said, “require Mr. Barr to resign.”

The sharp denunciation of Mr. Barr underlined the extent of the fallout over the case of Mr. Stone, capping a week that strained the attorney general’s relationship with his rank and file, and with the president himself.

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.

After prosecutors on Monday recommended a prison sentence of up to nine years for Mr. Stone, who was convicted of obstructing a congressional inquiry, Mr. Trump lashed out at federal law enforcement. Senior officials at the department, including Mr. Barr, overrode the recommendation the next day with a more lenient one, immediately prompting accusations of political interference, and the four lawyers on the Stone case abruptly withdrew in protest.

The Justice Department said the case had not been discussed with anyone at the White House, but that Mr. Trump congratulated Mr. Barr on his decision did little to dispel the perception of political influence. And as the president widened his attacks on law enforcement, Mr. Barr publicly reproached the president, saying that Mr. Trump’s statements undermined him, as well the department.

“I cannot do my job here at the department with a constant background commentary that undercuts me,” Mr. Barr said during a televised interview on Thursday with ABC News.

In the days after the interview, Mr. Trump has been relatively muted. He said on Twitter that he had not asked Mr. Barr to “do anything in a criminal case.” As president, he added, he had “the legal right to do so” but had “so far chosen not to!”

But lawyers across the Justice Department continue to worry about political interference from the president despite public pushback by Mr. Barr, long considered a close ally of Mr. Trump’s.

Protect Democracy, a nonprofit legal group, gathered the signatures from Justice Department alumni and said it would collect more.

In May, Protect Democracy gathered signatures for a letter that said the Mueller report presented enough evidence to charge Mr. Trump with obstruction of justice were that an option. At the close of his investigation, the special counsel Robert S. Mueller III declined to indicate whether Mr. Trump illegally obstructed justice, citing a decades-old department opinion that a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime. That letter was also critical of Mr. Barr.

Even as the lawyers condemned Mr. Barr on Sunday, they said they welcomed his rebuke of Mr. Trump and his assertions that law enforcement must be independent of politics.

But Mr. Barr’s “actions in doing the president’s personal bidding unfortunately speak louder than his words,” they said.

The letter comes days after some Democratic senators pressed for Mr. Barr to resign, and after the New York City Bar Association said that it had formally reported the attorney general’s behavior to the Justice Department’s inspector general.

Strikingly, the lawyers called upon current department employees to be on the lookout for future abuses and to be willing to bring oversight to the department.

“Be prepared to report future abuses to the inspector general, the Office of Professional Responsibility, and Congress,” they wrote, and “to refuse to carry out directives that are inconsistent with their oaths of office.”

Prosecutors who currently work at the department should withdraw from cases that involve abuses or political interference, the lawyers said.

As a last resort, they asked Justice Department employees “to resign and report publicly — in a manner consistent with professional ethics — to the American people the reasons for their resignation.”

Katie Benner covers the Justice Department. She was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for public service for reporting on workplace sexual harassment issues. @ktbenner

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Here’s the statement:

DOJ Alumni Statement on the Events Surrounding the Sentencing of Roger Stone

pastedGraphic.png

DOJ Alumni Statement

Feb 16 · 4 min read

We, the undersigned, are alumni of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) who have collectively served both Republican and Democratic administrations. Each of us strongly condemns President Trump’s and Attorney General Barr’s interference in the fair administration of justice.

As former DOJ officials, we each proudly took an oath to support and defend our Constitution and faithfully execute the duties of our offices. The very first of these duties is to apply the law equally to all Americans. This obligation flows directly from the Constitution, and it is embedded in countless rules and laws governing the conduct of DOJ lawyers. The Justice Manual — the DOJ’s rulebook for its lawyers — states that “the rule of law depends on the evenhanded administration of justice”; that the Department’s legal decisions “must be impartial and insulated from political influence”; and that the Department’s prosecutorial powers, in particular, must be “exercised free from partisan consideration.”

All DOJ lawyers are well-versed in these rules, regulations, and constitutional commands. They stand for the proposition that political interference in the conduct of a criminal prosecution is anathema to the Department’s core mission and to its sacred obligation to ensure equal justice under the law.

And yet, President Trump and Attorney General Barr have openly and repeatedly flouted this fundamental principle, most recently in connection with the sentencing of President Trump’s close associate, Roger Stone, who was convicted of serious crimes. The Department has a long-standing practice in which political appointees set broad policies that line prosecutors apply to individual cases. That practice exists to animate the constitutional principles regarding the even-handed application of the law. Although there are times when political leadership appropriately weighs in on individual prosecutions, it is unheard of for the Department’s top leaders to overrule line prosecutors, who are following established policies, in order to give preferential treatment to a close associate of the President, as Attorney General Barr did in the Stone case. It is even more outrageous for the Attorney General to intervene as he did here — after the President publicly condemned the sentencing recommendation that line prosecutors had already filed in court.

Such behavior is a grave threat to the fair administration of justice. In this nation, we are all equal before the law. A person should not be given special treatment in a criminal prosecution because they are a close political ally of the President. Governments that use the enormous power of law enforcement to punish their enemies and reward their allies are not constitutional republics; they are autocracies.

We welcome Attorney General Barr’s belated acknowledgment that the DOJ’s law enforcement decisions must be independent of politics; that it is wrong for the President to interfere in specific enforcement matters, either to punish his opponents or to help his friends; and that the President’s public comments on DOJ matters have gravely damaged the Department’s credibility. But Mr. Barr’s actions in doing the President’s personal bidding unfortunately speak louder than his words. Those actions, and the damage they have done to the Department of Justice’s reputation for integrity and the rule of law, require Mr. Barr to resign. But because we have little expectation he will do so, it falls to the Department’s career officials to take appropriate action to uphold their oaths of office and defend nonpartisan, apolitical justice.

For these reasons, we support and commend the four career prosecutors who upheld their oaths and stood up for the Department’s independence by withdrawing from the Stone case and/or resigning from the Department. Our simple message to them is that we — and millions of other Americans — stand with them. And we call on every DOJ employee to follow their heroic example and be prepared to report future abuses to the Inspector General, the Office of Professional Responsibility, and Congress; to refuse to carry out directives that are inconsistent with their oaths of office; to withdraw from cases that involve such directives or other misconduct; and, if necessary, to resign and report publicly — in a manner consistent with professional ethics — to the American people the reasons for their resignation. We likewise call on the other branches of government to protect from retaliation those employees who uphold their oaths in the face of unlawful directives. The rule of law and the survival of our Republic demand nothing less.

If you are a former DOJ employee and would like to add your name below, click here. Protect Democracy will update this list daily with new signatories.

Dianne

LAST NAME

(Kelly) Sanford

HIGHEST DOJ TITLE

Assistant United States Attorney (D.C.); Assistant Section Chief, Environment and Natural Resources Division

# YEARS DOJ SERVICE

13

ADMINS SERVED UNDER

Bush I, Reagan, Carter

Stephanie

LAST NAME

(Lachman) Golden

HIGHEST DOJ TITLE

Trial Attorney

# YEARS DOJ SERVICE

10

ADMINS SERVED UNDER

Reagan, Carter, Ford

Jonathan

LAST NAME

Abernethy

HIGHEST DOJ TITLE

Assistant United States Attorney, SDNY

# YEARS DOJ SERVICE

7

ADMINS SERVED UNDER

Bush II

Elkan

LAST NAME

Abramowitz

HIGHEST DOJ TITLE

Chief of the Criminal Division, SDNY

# YEARS DOJ SERVICE

6

ADMINS SERVED UNDER

Carter, Ford, Nixon, Johnson

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Signatories have been vetted to the best of our ability.

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It’s NOT Too Late! Let YOUR Voice Be Heard For Justice In America!

Here’s how more former DOJ employees can sign on:

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Due Process Forever! Corruption & Unethical Behavior At The USDOJ Never! 

PWS

02-16-20