4th Cir. Judges File Separate Opinion Praising Bravery Of Transgender Teen — Take Shot At Those On The “Wrong Side Of History!”

Senior Judge Davis, joined by Judge Floyd said this in a published separate opinion:

“Our country has a long and ignominious history of discriminating against our most vulnerable and powerless. We have an equally long history, however, of brave individuals—Dred Scott, Fred Korematsu, Linda Brown, Mildred and Richard Loving, Edie Windsor, and Jim Obergefell, to name just a few—who refused to accept quietly the injustices that were perpetuated against them. It is unsurprising, of course, that the burden of confronting and remedying injustice falls on the shoulders of the oppressed. These individuals looked to the federal courts to vindicate their claims to human dignity, but as the names listed above make clear, the judiciary’s response has been decidedly mixed. Today, G.G. adds his name to the list of plaintiffs whose struggle for justice has been delayed and rebuffed; as Dr. King reminded us, however, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” G.G.’s journey is delayed but not finished.

G.G.’s case is about much more than bathrooms. It’s about a boy asking his school to treat him just like any other boy. It’s about protecting the rights of transgender people in public spaces and not forcing them to exist on the margins. It’s about governmental validation of the existence and experiences of transgender people, as well as the simple recognition of their humanity. His case is part of a larger movement that is redefining and broadening the scope of civil and human rights so that they extend to a vulnerable group that has traditionally been unrecognized, unrepresented, and unprotected.

. . . .

 

G.G.’s lawsuit also has demonstrated that some entities will not protect the rights of others unless compelled to do so. Today, hatred, intolerance, and discrimination persist — and are sometimes even promoted — but by challenging unjust policies rooted in invidious discrimination, G.G. takes his place among other modern-day human rights leaders who strive to ensure that, one day, equality will prevail, and that the core dignity of every one of our brothers and sisters is respected by lawmakers and others who wield power over their lives.”

The full opinion is well worth a read. Here’s a link: 161733R1.P-4th Circuit GG

Judge Davis incorporates this poem,

Famous by N.S. Nye:

The river is famous to the fish.

The loud voice is famous to silence, which knew it would inherit the earth before anybody said so.

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds watching him from the birdhouse.

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.

The idea you carry close to your bosom is famous to your bosom.

The boot is famous to the earth, more famous than the dress shoe, which is famous only to floors.

The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.

I want to be famous to shuffling men who smile while crossing streets, sticky children in grocery lines, famous as the one who smiled back.

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular, but because it never forgot what it could do.

Here’s an article from yesterday’s Washington Post explaining the context of the 4th Circuit’s procedural decision and why the published, signed separate opinion is unusual.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/judges-hail-transgender-teen-gavin-grimm-as-human-rights-leader/2017/04/07/ade47f12-1bc8-11e7-bcc2-7d1a0973e7b2_story.html?utm_term=.11ce2b2d3a58

The case is G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board.

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The Trump Administration’s attacks on vulnerable individuals such as Muslims, migrants, and now transgender students have given rise to an interesting new phenomenon in the U.S. Courts of Appeals: separate published opinions vigorously commenting on or dissenting from what normally would be routine, unsigned, unpublished, barely noticed, procedural orders.

Another good example was the recent spate of published opinions dissenting and concurring with the granting of an uncontested motion by the Government to dismiss the appeal from the TRO in State of Washington v. Trump (“Travel Ban 1.0”) which I discussed in an earlier blog: http://wp.me/p8eeJm-vM

In the 9th Circuit case, several judges used separate opinions to lash out at their colleagues and show their support for the Trump Administration’s “Travel Ban 1.0.” This drew a reaction from some of their colleagues who accused the dissenters of using the forum and device of the separate opinions to deliver a message to politicians, other courts, and the parties for use in future litigation that was not yet before the court. In other words, to influence matters that were not part of the the actual “case or controversy” before the court, which was being dismissed without objection by either party.

In any event, in just a short time in office, the Trump Administration has “gotten the attention” of normally aloof and “ivory towerish” Federal Appellate Judges who seem to be energized and eager to engage in the fray with the Administration, its detractors, and each other.

PWS

04-09-17

 

DOJ’s Travel Ban Litigating Strategy Discussed — The Rush Appears To Be “Off!”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/03/23/trump-said-dangerous-people-might-be-pouring-in-without-his-travel-ban-but-hes-not-rushing-to-restore-it/?utm_term=.91d750428250

Matt Zapotosky reports in the Washington Post:

“Legal analysts and opponents say the Justice Department is likely pursuing a more methodical, strategic approach in hopes of a long-term victory — although in the process, the administration is hurting its case that the order is needed for urgent national security.

“If they don’t try to move the case as quickly as possible,” said Leon Fresco, deputy assistant attorney general for the Office of Immigration Litigation in President Barack Obama’s Justice Department, “it does undermine the security rationale.”

Trump’s new travel order — which suspended the U.S. refugee program for 120 days and blocked the issuance of new visas to citizens of Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Somalia and Syria for 90 days — was supposed to take effect March 16, but U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson in Hawaii blocked the administration from enforcing the critical sections of it. Early the next day, a federal judge in Maryland issued a similar ruling — leaving the administration with two different cases, in two different appellate circuits, that they would need to get overturned before they could begin carrying out the president’s directive. All roads seemed to lead to the Supreme Court.
But now it seems all but certain that the president’s revised entry ban will stay suspended at least into April, and possibly longer.

Lawyers for the Justice Department filed a notice of appeal in the Maryland case a day after the judge there ruled, but — unlike last time — they did not ask the higher court to immediately set aside the freeze on the new ban. They said they will do so Friday, but those challenging the ban will have a week to respond, and the Justice Department will then be allowed to file more written arguments by April 5.

The Trump administration has been content to let the court battle play out even more slowly in Hawaii, not elevating the dispute beyond a lower-court judge. The Justice Department has not filed a notice of its intent to appeal the ruling, and the next hearing in that case is set for March 29. Justice Department lawyers wrote Thursday that they would appeal to a higher court if that hearing doesn’t resolve in their favor. The courts will ultimately have to decide important questions, including how much authority they have to weigh in on the president’s national security determinations, whether Trump’s order was meant to discriminate against Muslims, and whether and how the president’s and his advisers’ own comments can be used against them.

There could be strategic reasons for pumping the brakes. Stephen W. Yale-Loehr, a professor of immigration law at Cornell Law School, said the Justice Department might be hoping for a favorable ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, of which Maryland is a part, before they bring a case before the 9th Circuit, of which Hawaii is a part. A three-judge panel in the 9th Circuit unanimously rejected the administration’s bid to restore Trump’s first entry ban after it was frozen. The 4th Circuit on Thursday scheduled oral argument in its case for May 8.

And the Justice Department could be playing an even longer game, hoping that by the time the case makes its way to the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch will have joined the justices and brought to an end what many see as a 4-to-4 split along ideological lines, said Jonathan E. Meyer, a former deputy general counsel in the Department of Homeland Security under Obama who now works in private practice at Sheppard Mullin.”

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Even assuming that the Supremes eventually take the case, by no means a “gimme,” it probably would not be heard by the Court until some time in 2018 with a decision perhaps months after the argument. During that time, it is highly likely that the Travel Ban will remain enjoined.

From a government standpoint, it’s always prudent to 1) think carefully before taking on issues that can be litigated in U.S. District Courts which have authority to issue nationwide injunctions which require only a preliminary showing and are very difficult to “undo” (by contrast, “Removal Cases” usually can only be litigated in Circuit Courts of Appeal, which, although higher on the “judicial totem pole” than USDCs, lack authority to issue nationwide injunctions in connection with such individual case judicial review); and 2) always have “Plan B.” Here, “Plan B” might be the more stringent requirements for screening and issuing visas from countries where terrorist activity has taken place set forth in Secretary of State Tillerson’s recent instructions discussed in my previous blog:

http://wp.me/p8eeJm-xN

PWS

03/23/17

 

 

THE HILL: N. Rappaport Blasts U.S. Courts For Blasting Trump!

http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/immigration/324764-federal-courts-upend-legal-precedent-in-blocking-trumps-travel

Nolan writes:

“But the court’s objection to the travel ban, which would impose a 90-day suspension on the entry into the United States of nationals from six countries which were designated by Congress and the Obama administration as posing national security risks, is that President Trump wrote it.

. . . .

Maybe the courts should heed the advice of former Vice President Joe Biden who said last week that President Trump “deserves a chance” to lead the country.”

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

PWS

02/20/17

TRAVEL BAN UPDATE: “SOPS” Continue To Flow From 9th Cir. Judges in Washington v. Trump — WSJ & WASHPOST Hang “Stupid But Constitutional” Tag On Trump — CNN’s Danny Cevallos Agrees With Rappaport That Trump Has Good Chance Of Ultimate Legal Win!

What’s a “SOP?”  That was BIA lingo for “separate opinion,” a fairly frequent occurrence on the “Schmidt Board.”

There are now five separate opinions commenting on the refusal of the en banc 9th Circuit to vacate the panel’s decision in State of Washington v. Trump following the Government’s decision to withdraw it’s appeal form the TRO on “Travel Ban 1.0:”

“This order is being filed along with a concurrence from Judge Reinhardt, a concurrence from Judge Berzon, a dissent from Judge Kozinski, a dissent from Judge Bybee, and a dissent from Judge Bea. No further opinions will be filed.

Josh Gerstein explains in Politico:

“President Donald Trump’s travel ban has triggered an unusually caustic public spat among the judges of the federal appeals court that first took up the issue.

The disagreement began to play out publicly Wednesday when five 9th Circuit Court of Appeals judges publicly recorded their disagreement with a decision three of their colleagues issued last month refusing to allow Trump to reinstate the first version of his travel ban executive order.
The fight escalated dramatically on Friday with the five Republican-appointed judges filing another withering attack on the earlier opinion and two liberal judges accusing their conservative colleagues of trying to make an end-run around the traditional judicial process.

In the new opinion, Judge Alex Kozinski blasted the earlier ruling for essentially ignoring the fact that most of those affected by Trump’s initial travel ban have no constitutional rights.

“This St. Bernard is being wagged by a flea on its tail,” Kozinski wrote, joined by Judges Carlos Bea, Jay Bybee, Sandra Ikuta and Consuelo Callahan.

Kozinski’s opinion harshly criticized the earlier 9th Circuit decision for blessing the idea that courts could take account of Trump’s campaign-trail statements vowing to implement a Muslim ban.

“My colleagues err by failing to vacate this hasty opinion. The panel’s unnecessary statements on this subject will shape litigation near and far. We’ll quest aimlessly for true intentions across a sea of insults and hyperbole. It will be (as it were) a huge, total disaster,” Kozinski said, in an an apparent tip of the hat to Trump’s bombast.

That didn’t sit well with Judge Stephen Reinhardt, who accused his colleagues of trying to affect the ongoing litigation over Trump’s redrafted executive order.

“Judge Kozinski’s diatribe, filed today, confirms that a small group of judges, having failed in their effort to undo this court’s decision with respect to President Trump’s first Executive Order, now seek on their own, under the guise of a dissent from the denial of en banc rehearing of an order of voluntary dismissal, to decide the constitutionality of a second Executive Order that is not before this court,” wrote Reinhardt, an appointee of President Jimmy Carter. “That is hardly the way the judiciary functions. Peculiar indeed!”

Another liberal 9th Circuit judge, Marsha Berzon, weighed in Friday with a more restrained rejection of her colleagues’ efforts to undermine the earlier ruling.

“Judges are empowered to decide issues properly before them, not to express their personal views on legal questions no one has asked them. There is no appeal currently before us, and so no stay motion pending that appeal currently before us either,” wrote Berzon, an appointee of President Bill Clinton. “All the merits commentary in the dissents filed by a small minority of the judges of this court is entirely out of place.”
“My dissenting colleagues should not be engaging in a one-sided attack on a decision by a duly constituted panel of this court,” Berzon added. “We will have this discussion, or one like it. But not now.”

Kozinski responded by accusing his liberal colleagues of trying to silence the court’s public debate on the issue.”

“My colleagues’ effort to muzzle criticism of an egregiously wrong panel opinion betrays their insecurity about the opinion’s legal analysis,” wrote Kozinski, an appointee of President Ronald Reagan.”

Here’s the link to Gerstein’s article:

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/9th-circuit-judges-feud-trump-travel-ban-236211

And, here is the link to the court’s order containing all of the opinions, so you can judge for yourself:

http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/general/2017/03/17/17-35105_Amd_Order.pdf

Meanwhile, the WSJ Editorial Board channeled a little of the late Justice Antonin Scalia:

“The late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia once wished aloud that all federal judges be issued a stamp that said “Stupid but Constitutional.” Such a stamp would have been useful this week to the two federal judges who bounced President Trump’s revised travel ban that suspends immigration from six Muslim-majority countries that the Administration says pose particular terror risks.

Our view is that the ban is lousy policy, and any urgency that Mr. Trump’s first-week executive order once had is gone. But after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the original version, the White House went back to the drafting board and tailored the new order to address the court’s objections. The President has vast discretion over immigration, and the do-over is grounded both in statute and core presidential powers, which is when the Supreme Court’s Youngstown decision teaches that a President’s authority to act is strongest.”

Read the complete editorial here:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-trump-legal-exception-1489706694

On today’s editorial page, the Washington Post made much the same point, if only a little less emphatically with respect to the Administration’s legal position:

“THE SPEED and enthusiasm with which two federal courts halted President Trump’s latest travel executive order might suggest that the revised policy is as obviously problematic as the last, which was a sloppy rush job that the government poorly defended in court. In fact, the revised policy, while still more likely to harm than help national security, is legally far more defensible. Decades of precedent instruct judges to defer to the executive branch on immigration and national security matters such as this. It should surprise no one if the Supreme Court eventually allows the Trump administration to proceed.”

Read the complete Post editorial here:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trumps-new-travel-order-is-self-defeating-and-maybe-legal-too/2017/03/17/95171a6c-0a93-11e7-93dc-00f9bdd74ed1_story.html?utm_term=.7cf47133cd49

Finally, CNN Legal Analyst Danny Cevallos makes many of the same points that Nolan Rappaport has made in his articles in The Hill in predicting that the Administration legally has a winner if they are ever able to get this issue to the Supremes:

“The president is in charge of immigration. Immigration policy, by its very definition, is a form of discrimination. The only truly nondiscriminatory immigration policy would be: Everyone come in, whenever you want. Anything short of that is discrimination in some form, and it’s generally within the president’s province. This is not some village rezoning policy. This is national immigration policy, and it’s different than any of the other Establishment Clause cases.
If courts can look into this particular President’s prior statements when considering the constitutionality of his actions, then every single executive action is potentially vulnerable. A gender-neutral executive order could be challenged as discriminatory against women. After all, this is the candidate who believes women can just be grabbed by the …, well, you know. A presidential action that is disability-neutral could be challenged on the basis that the candidate mocked a disabled reporter.
While the court in Hawaii cited established Supreme Court precedent in finding a probable Establishment Clause violation, the appellate courts could still find that Trump’s executive authority prevails. Yes, the district court cited some controlling authority, but an appellate court could distinguish those cases from the unique case before it — one that pits constitutional executive power head-to-head with the First Amendment.”

Read the full Cevallos analysis here:

http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/16/opinions/trump-win-travel-ban-appeal-danny-cevallos-opinion/index.html

Then, read Nolan’s previous articles from The Hill or as reposted on this blog.

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

Overall, I think it is a good thing when there is some spirited dissent and disagreement among members of a collegial court like the 9th Circuit.  It shows that the Judges are engaged and that they care about the issues, as they should. Also, dissent is often directed at other courts (like the Supreme Court), at Congress, the Executive, or at educating the media and the public at large about important legal issues. Without dissent and the resulting dialogue it often provokes, you would have “a room full of people patting each other on the back.” And, what’s the purpose of a “deliberative” collegial court that doesn’t “deliberate?”

PWS

03/18/17

 

HuffPost Politics: Trump’s Attacks on Federal Judges Continue to Draw Fire!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/blaming-judges-is-corrosive-says-a-judge-who-ruled-against-trump_us_58cbe793e4b0be71dcf40451

“HONOLULU (Reuters) – One of three federal appeals court judges who last month upheld a ruling that blocked U.S. President Donald Trump’s first try at a travel ban said on Thursday it was “corrosive to the justice system” when litigants attack judges for their decisions.

Judge Richard Clifton of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals became the latest in a series of judges to draw criticism from Trump after Clifton and two colleagues refused to reinstate an executive order temporarily barring entry by people from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Shortly after the Feb. 9 ruling, Trump tweeted: “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!” He also told reporters that the ruling was “political.”

“It’s easy to blame the referee when you don’t like the result,” Clifton said in a speech to the Conference of Western Attorneys General, which is meeting in Honolulu.

“It is corrosive to the system when a disappointing result, or result disappointing to you, is responded to by blaming the referee,” said Clifton, who did not mention Trump by name.

. . . .

In an order issued late Wednesday related to Trump’s first travel ban challenge, a colleague of Clifton, U.S. Circuit Judge Jay Bybee, had words of his own for the invectives against members of the judiciary in these cases.

“The personal attacks on the distinguished district judge and our colleagues were out of all bounds of civic and persuasive discourse — particularly when they came from the parties,” Bybee wrote, declining to mention the president by name.

The judge, who was also appointed by Bush, added: “It does no credit to the arguments of the parties to impugn the motives or the competence of the members of this court.”

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

As pointed out in my blog yesterday, Judge Bybee was actually filing a dissenting opinion supporting the President’s authority to issue “Travel Ban 1.0.” Even so, he was offended by the President’s attacks on his Federal Judicial colleagues. Never good when even those who agree with your legal position are put off by your obnoxious personal conduct.  Judge Bybee also reinforced one of my points — judges at any level never appreciate comments on the merits of a case by a party.

Here’s the link to my post from yesterday:

http://wp.me/p8eeJm-uZ

 

PWS

03/17/17

WashPost: Trump & Advisers Are Own Worst Enemies — Intemperate Statements And Overt Bias Undermine Litigation — Clients Should Not Comment On Pending Cases Is One Of The Oldest Rules Of The Game — Trump & Co. Should Follow It If They Want To Be “Winners”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-and-his-advisers-cant-keep-quiet–and-its-becoming-a-real-problem/2017/03/16/157d2100-0a63-11e7-93dc-00f9bdd74ed1_story.html?hpid=hp_rhp-top-table-main_trumpwords-815pm:homepage/story&utm_term=.9888c4c5deac

“But perhaps nowhere have Trump’s words been as damaging as his attempts to implement the travel ban — which may have been damaged further by Trump’s remarks at his Nashville rally. Trump inflamed controversy during the campaign by calling for a temporary ban on all foreign Muslims from entering the United States, then later shifted to vague pledges to ban people from countries with a history of Islamist terrorism.

“I am sure that challengers will use the president’s comments last night as further evidence that the true intent of his executive order is to bar Muslim immigration,” said Stephen W. Yale-Loehr, a professor of immigration law at Cornell Law School.”

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

Trying to defend this gang and some of their ill-conceived policies and unnecessarily inflammatory statements is going to be a challenge, even for the most savvy Government attorney.

PWS

03/16/17

Five Circuit Judges Dissent From 9th Circuit’s Decision Not To Vacate The Panel Decision In State of Washington v. Trump On Travel Ban 1.0!

Judge Bybee writing for the dissenters:

“Washington v. Trump, No. 17-35105 (Motions Panel–February 9, 2017)
U.S. COURT OF APPEALS

FILED

MAR 15 2017 MOLLY C. DWYER, CLERK

BYBEE, Circuit Judge, with whom KOZINSKI, CALLAHAN, BEA, and IKUTA, Circuit Judges, join, dissenting from the denial of reconsideration en banc.

I regret that we did not decide to reconsider this case en banc for the purpose of vacating the panel’s opinion. We have an obligation to correct our own errors, particularly when those errors so confound Supreme Court and Ninth Circuit precedent that neither we nor our district courts will know what law to apply in the future.

The Executive Order of January 27, 2017, suspending the entry of certain aliens, was authorized by statute, and presidents have frequently exercised that authority through executive orders and presidential proclamations. Whatever we, as individuals, may feel about the President or the Executive Order,1 the President’s decision was well within the powers of the presidency, and “[t]he wisdom of the policy choices made by [the President] is not a matter for our consideration.” Sale v. Haitian Ctrs. Council, Inc., 509 U.S. 155, 165 (1993).

1 Our personal views are of no consequence. I note this only to emphasize that I have written this dissent to defend an important constitutional principle—that the political branches, informed by foreign affairs and national security considerations, control immigration subject to limited judicial review—and not to defend the administration’s policy.

This is not to say that presidential immigration policy concerning the entry of aliens at the border is immune from judicial review, only that our review is limited by Kleindienst v. Mandel, 408 U.S. 753 (1972)—and the panel held that limitation inapplicable. I dissent from our failure to correct the panel’s manifest error.”

Read Judge Bybee’s full dissent here:

http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/general/2017/03/15/17-35105 en banc.pdf

 

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I had speculated at the time a Judge of the 9th Circuit requested a vote on rehearing en banc that it was part of a strategy not intended to actually force such review, but rather to give those Judges who disagreed with the 3-Judge panel a chance to publicly express dissenting views.  This dissent will be published.

Nevertheless, with only five of the 29 or so active Judges on the 9th Circuit joining Judge Bybee’s dissent, the prospect for the Administration obtaining any relief there from the TRO in State of Hawaii v. Trump enjoining Travel Ban 2.0 appears dim.

Notwithstanding President Trump’s claim that he will litigate Travel Ban 2.0 to the Supreme Court, that might not be so easy, particularly for the foreseeable future. The Supreme Court is not obligated to take any case just because the President wishes it.  The Court has discretion.

In exercising that discretion (known as a “petition for certiorari”) the Court generally does not like to intervene at the TRO or Preliminary Injunction stage, before a full record is developed. Also, the current eight member configuration, presenting the possibility of a tie vote, makes it less likely that the Court would take the case now.

And, one of the reasons for the Court taking such a case — a split in Circuits — doesn’t exist here. The Administration has consistently lost on the issue except for a single District Court ruling from Massachusetts.

Consequently, the Administration might have to wait for a full trial on the merits of the plaintiffs’ case, a process that would take weeks at a minimum and quite possibly months or even years. Even then, there is no guarantee that the Supreme Court would take the case, or that even with Justice Gorsuch on the bench the Administration’s position would prevail.

Finally, I note that much of Judge Bybee’s dissent echoes the views expressed by Nolan Rappaport in several articles from The Hill posted on this blog.  The most recent of those, relating to State of Hawaii v. Trump, can be found here:

http://wp.me/p8eeJm-tV

PWS

03/16/17

THE HILL: Nolan Rappaport Says New Trump Travel Ban A Slam Dunk Winner In Court! Get Link Here!

http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/immigration/322720-trumps-travel-ban-legally-sound-defensible-all-the-way-to-the

Nolan writes:

“The Trump administration released Monday a revised version of its immigration Executive Order to address the concerns raised in an appeals court decision, but those criticisms were always fundamentally irrational and not based in the text of the Order.”

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

Read Nolan’s complete article in The Hill at link.

As I indicated in my posts yesterday, the new travel ban appears to me just as bogus as the first one. Rather than being designed to solve a real national security problem, it is fear-mongering designed primarily to rev up public opinion, particularly among Trump’s base, against Muslims and refugees, neither of which pose a significant threat to the U.S. at present.

I noted that the Post “Fact-Checker” has already awarded “Three Pinocchios” to the misleading statistics that Secretary Kelly and AG Sessions cited in their “staged dialogue” asking the President to reimpose the travel ban. And, this is from a President and an Administration that already have pretty much zero credibility.

That being said, I don’t necessarily disagree with Nolan’s bottom line that Trump might well win this one if it even gets to the Supremes. This time, following the advice of Government litigators, he has applied the ban prospectively only to those foreign nationals overseas who have not previously been admitted or already documented to enter the U.S. He’s also eliminated the overt mention of religion.

Given that the standard for overseas visa denials is a “facially legitimate and bona fide reason,” the Administration might well be home free. Although the stated rationale might not stand up to a rigorous examination, it is unlikely that the Supremes, or even most lower Federal Courts, view engaging in a testing of the factual basis for this type of order affecting individuals overseas as something that can properly be adjudicated by Article III judges.

See my previous posts here:

http://wp.me/p8eeJm-ry

http://wp.me/p8eeJm-rH

PWS

03/07/17

 

 

 

New Administration “Travel Ban” Likely On Wednesday — Revisions Will Address Some Issues That Troubled Courts

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/new-travel-ban-will-exempt-current-visa-holders/2017/02/28/42ac1f3a-fe03-11e6-99b4-9e613afeb09f_story.html?hpid=hp_rhp-top-table-main_trumpban-0608pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.33edc3e29145

Matt Zapotosky reports in the Washington Post:

“Barring any last minute changes, President Trump will sign a revised travel ban that exempts current visa holders, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The revision marks a significant departure from the now-frozen first executive order, which temporarily barred refugees and citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, and resulted in the State Department unilaterally revoking tens of thousands of visas. Justice Department lawyers hope the new order will be more likely to withstand legal challenges and will not leave any travelers detained at U.S. airports.

The new order also removes an exception to the refu­gee prohibition for religion minorities, the person said. Critics of the order had said that exception proved it was meant to discriminate on the basis of religion, because it allowed only Christians into the country.
The new order, the details of which were first reported by the Wall Street Journal, is expected to be signed Wednesday. The person who described it to The Post did so on the condition of anonymity because the administration had not authorized the release of details.”

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I would expect advocates to quickly challenge the new order. If the Administration backs up the order with some evidence supporting its actions, the legal challenges might be more difficult this time around.

PWS

02/28/17

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

UPDATE:  NBC News reports Wednesday morning that the White House now says that the new Travel Ban Order will be further delayed.

PWS

03/01/17

Problems Mount For Administration On Travel Ban — Can’t Find Support For Their “Pre-Hatched” Conclusions — Stephen Miller Shoots Off Mouth Again — DOJ Litigators Undoubtedly Cringe As In-Court Statements Undermined!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/a-new-travel-ban-with-mostly-minor-technical-differences-that-probably-wont-cut-it-analysts-say/2017/02/22/8ae9d7e6-f918-11e6-bf01-d47f8cf9b643_story.html?utm_term=.e2b487b295a7

Matt Zapotsky writes in the Washington Post:

“Senior policy adviser Stephen Miller said President Trump’s revised travel ban will have “mostly minor technical differences” from the iteration frozen by the courts, and Americans would see “the same basic policy outcome for the country.”

That is not what the Justice Department has promised. And legal analysts say it might not go far enough to allay the judiciary’s concerns.

A senior White House official said Wednesday that Trump will issue a revised executive order on immigration next week, as the administration is working to make sure the implementation goes smoothly. Trump had said previously that the order would come this week. Neither the president nor his top advisers have detailed exactly what the new order will entail. Miller’s comments on Fox News, while vague, seem to suggest the changes might not be substantive. And that could hurt the administration’s bid to lift the court-imposed suspension on the ban, analysts said.

“If you’re trying to moot out litigation, which is to say, ‘Look, this litigation is no longer necessary,’ it is very bad to say our intent here is to engage in the prohibited outcome,” said Leon Fresco, who worked in the office of immigration litigation in President Barack Obama’s Justice Department.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2017/02/23/white-house-gives-plenty-of-ammunition-to-travel-bans-opponents/?utm_term=.9442c17ff14b

Jennifer Rubin writes in Right Turn in today’s Washington Post:

“Opponents of President Trump’s travel ban have one big advantage — the Trump White House. If not for the confusion, lack of staffing (nary a deputy, let alone an undersecretary or assistant secretary, has been named in national security-related departments), organizational disarray, policy differences or all of the above, the administration might have put together on its first try a legally enforceable executive order. It might by now even have come up with a new executive order, thanks to a road map provided by the 9th Circuit. However, the rollout has been pushed back to next week.

Understand that if this is such a matter of urgent concern, the president would have had his advisers working around the clock on this (not transgender bathroom assignments, plans to deport non-criminal illegal immigrants or haggling with Mexican officials over a wall that Trump insists they pay for). In fact, since the point of the ban is to initiate a review of our vetting procedures, you’d think that the Homeland Security Department would already have come up with its proposed “extreme vetting” recommendations.

Meanwhile, the president and his staff continue to provide legal ammunition to opponents of the ban. On Tuesday, senior adviser Stephen Miller in a Fox News interview boldly declared, “Fundamentally, you’re still going to have the same basic policy outcome for the country, but you’re going to be responsive to a lot of very technical issues that were brought up by the court.” Just to remind the courts of the administration’s arrogance, Miller proclaimed that there was nothing wrong with the first order.

“By saying that the policy effects of the new travel ban will be essentially the same as those of the travel ban that so many federal judges found constitutionally suspect, Miller is effectively inviting federal courts to suspend the new one as well, given that the religiously discriminatory history of the ban can’t be ignored, much less erased, simply by purporting to start over again,” Supreme Court litigator and professor Larry Tribe tells me. “If, as I am told, the new ban is a more artfully disguised version of [an] anti-Muslim measure, without explicit preferences for religious minorities in Muslim-majority countries (i.e., for Christians) written into the very text of the ban, then some judges might be less inclined to issue a temporary restraining order, but most federal judges would be savvy enough to recognize that they are being treated to a masquerade.”

http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/23/politics/white-house-effort-to-justify-travel-ban-causes-growing-concern-for-some-intel-officials/index.html

Meanwhile, Jake Tapper and Pamela Brown on CNN highlight more difficulties with the Administration’s “shoot first, ask questions later” approach:

“Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump has assigned the Department of Homeland Security, working with the Justice Department, to help build the legal case for its temporary travel ban on individuals from seven countries, a senior White House official tells CNN.

Other Trump administration sources tell CNN that this is an assignment that has caused concern among some administration intelligence officials, who see the White House charge as the politicization of intelligence — the notion of a conclusion in search of evidence to support it after being blocked by the courts. Still others in the intelligence community disagree with the conclusion and are finding their work disparaged by their own department.
“DHS and DOJ are working on an intelligence report that will demonstrate that the security threat for these seven countries is substantial and that these seven countries have all been exporters of terrorism into the United States,” the senior White House official told CNN. “The situation has gotten more dangerous in recent years, and more broadly, the refugee program has been a major incubator for terrorism.”

The report was requested in light of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ conclusion that the Trump administration “has pointed to no evidence that any alien from any of the countries named in the order has perpetrated a terrorist attack in the United States.” The seven counties are Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
The senior White House official said the desire to bolster the legal and public case that these seven countries pose a threat is a work in progress and as of now, it’s not clear if DHS and DOJ will offer separate reports or a joint report.
One of the ways the White House hopes to make its case is by using a more expansive definition of terrorist activity than has been used by other government agencies in the past. The senior White House official said he expects the report about the threat from individuals the seven countries to include not just those terrorist attacks that have been carried out causing loss of innocent American life, but also those that have resulted in injuries, as well as investigations into and convictions for the crimes of a host of terrorism-related actions, including attempting to join or provide support for a terrorist organization.
The White House did not offer an on-the-record comment for this story despite numerous requests.

. . . .

Asked about the report Thursday on “The Lead,” Rep. Dan Donovan, R-New York, emphasized that the intelligence community be nonpartisan.
“They should take data, take information, shouldn’t interpret it in a political way and provide the President the information he needs to make decisions to protect our country,” he said.
Also commenting on the report was Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, who acknowledged that he hadn’t seen the specifics but “it looks wrong to me.”
“We ought to be doing the intel first, then set the policy and in large part based upon the intelligence,” Haass said. “If these reports are true, it’s yet another example where this administration is having real trouble ing a functional relationship with the intelligence community.”

[Emphasis supplied in all quotes]

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I was never a “line litigator.” But, I was involved in defending and prosecuting thousands of cases during the “Legacy INS Phase” of my career. I also participated in thousands more cases as an appellate and trial judge during the last 21 years at EOIR.

One of my jobs in providing litigation assistance as the Deputy General Counsel of the INS was to make sure my “institutional clients” did not comment on pending cases. Such comments both unnecessarily antagonized the judges hearing the cases and, on occasion, when folks didn’t heed my instructions, completely “tanked” our positions by giving our opponents new arguments.

As a sitting judge, I can guarantee that one of the least successful approaches was for a lawyer to insult my intelligence or integrity and then turn around and ask me to help out his or her client. Sure, in the end, I had to separate the law from the lawyer and do the right thing. But, it certainly interfered with the effectiveness of the lawyer’s communication and made it more difficult for me to get to the substance of his or her client’s case.

And, one thing that certainly infuriated all judges, including me, was for a lawyer to represent one thing in court and then have his or her client do something else. It made me lose confidence in the lawyer’s reliability and integrity and his or her ability to control and speak for the client. I can remember “chewing out” several lawyers at Master Calendar for misrepresenting facts or law to me in their briefs or oral arguments.

It appears that the Trump Administration’s combination of arrogance, ignorance, and disrespect for the court system and the role of judges is undermining both their credibility and the credibility of the Department of Justice career lawyers whose job is to represent them over and over again before most of the same judges. Once a judge loses faith in the credibility of a lawyer and/or her or his client, “bad things will happen” and they do.

PWS

02/23/17

CNN: There Are Human Faces And Real Stories Of Horror, Pain, Perseverance, Belief, And Redemption Exposing The Trump Administration’s Wrong-Headed Attempt To Ban Refugees!

http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/21/us/travel-ban-somali-refugees-separated/index.html

Catherine E. Shoichet writes on CNN:

“For minutes that feel like hours, Abdalla and his family stand like statues in a line, their eyes laser focused on the set of escalators at Atlanta’s airport where waves of arriving passengers emerge.
Businessmen with briefcases, pilots in uniforms and families wearing winter coats come into view.
But so far, there’s no sign of Batulo.
Suddenly, Abdalla yells and bolts across the waiting area, past a bright red security line on the floor that says “DO NOT CROSS.”
Guards shout. He doesn’t hear them. To Abdalla, only one thing matters now. He sees his daughter’s face and sprints toward the light.
He sweeps Batulo into his arms and carries her like a running back toward a wall on the other side of the lobby. The rest of the family follows, like a trail behind a comet as it speeds through the sky.
Habibo sobs as she sits beside Batulo on the airport floor. They had feared this day would never come.
Habibo sobs as she sits beside Batulo on the airport floor. They had feared this day would never come.
Batulo is still wearing a plastic pouch around her neck, stuffed with a plane ticket and an ID card from the International Organization for Migration.
“I am a refugee from SOMALIA,” the card says. “I may not speak English and need help to find my next flight.”
Batulo flew more than 10,000 miles to get here, from Kakuma to Nairobi to Dubai to New York to Atlanta. American Airlines Flight 1687 brought her to a strange city, yet she is home.
Abdalla and his family sit on the airport floor, pressed together like puzzle pieces. They cling to each other, sobbing.
A new home
Batulo beams as she sips a can of Sprite through a straw.
Her sisters tug at her arms, pulling her from room to room as they show her their new home.
The living room floor is covered with plates stacked high with food that the family cooked together for hours as they awaited her arrival.
They sit in a circle, devouring baked chicken, fried fish, french fries and ugali, a cornmeal dish they prepared especially for Batulo.
Abdalla sends a voice message to Ramadhan, his oldest son, who’s still living in Kakuma. Batulo made it safely, he says.

Ramadhan replies that he’s relieved. “God willing,” he says, “someday I will make it, too.”
As they eat, Batulo’s family peppers her with questions.
Is there a still a mango hanging from the tree outside the transit center in Nairobi?
How many countries did you fly through to get here?
When we left, you didn’t look like this. Why are you so thin?
Ibrahim brings out some of his favorite new toys. Together, they sing the ABCs. He falls asleep, curled up on the floor beside his sister.
Abdalla yawns, then quickly gulps down a cup of coffee.
Exhaustion is starting to set in, but this is a moment he doesn’t want to miss. He leans back against the couch and listens to his daughters’ voices.
The only sound he hears is laughter.”

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

Read the complete story and see the video and pictures at the link. Happy ending to this one, thanks to the U.S. Courts which stood up to President Trump and his minions. As you read the entire story, compare the real situation of real refugees, human beings in great need, with the “fake news” and fear mongering put forth by the Trump Administration in an attempt to justify the unjustifiable.

PWS

02/21/17

 

 

Trump Administration Quietly Drops 9th Circuit Fight In Washington v. Trump — Will Rescind 1st Travel Ban EO And Issue Another!

http://www.vox.com/2017/2/16/14640676/trump-muslim-ban-new-replace

Dara Lind reports on VOX:

“The first thing President Donald Trump repeals and replaces is going to be his own executive order on immigration.

Both Trump, in a press conference, and the Department of Justice, in a court filing, said Thursday that the president is abandoning the order he signed January 27, banning all visa holders from seven majority-Muslim countries and nearly all refugees from entering the United States.

The ban was only in effect for a week before being put on hold by a federal court — and judges around the country have been less than sympathetic to the administration’s arguments for its constitutionality. President Trump continues to believe the judges’ ruling was “a bad decision.” But he’s buckling to it anyway.”

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The Department of Justice asked the full 9th Circuit to hold the case (Washington v. Trump) in abeyance until a new Executive Order is issued. Presumably, the Department will then argue that the new EO “moots” the case and that the full court therefore should vacate the decision of the 9th Circuit panel temporarily restraining the first Executive Order. In other words, there would no longer be a “case or controversy” once the first EO is rescinded.

There may well be challenges to the new Executive Order.  We will just have to wait and see what it looks like. Most observers expect that the new order will be limited to individuals who have never entered the United States. It might therefore be more difficult to formulate a successful constitutional challenge.

However a separate suite before Judge Brinkema in the EDVA, Aziz v. Trump, analyzed in earlier blogs, had a “religious discrimination” finding that might have a better chance of applying to those whose relatives or businesses are affected by a new EO.

The full article at the link contains a further link to the relevant section of the Department’s latest filing in the 9th Circuit.

Late Breaking Update:

Reuters reports that the 9th Circuit has agreed to hold action on Washington v. Trump pending “further developments.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/appeals-court-suspends-travel-ban-proceedings_us_58a655e0e4b07602ad532f2a?68v1jx9ghrb43g14i&

PWS

02/16/17

Morning Joe: “Stephen Miller’s weekend performance: That was horrendous and an embarrassment!” — Other Than That, He Loves The Guy!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/02/13/joe-scarborough-is-trying-to-make-trump-turn-on-stephen-miller/?utm_term=.8c119ea36330

Callum Borchers Wirtes in “The Fix” in today’s Washington Post:

“Joe Scarborough is trying to use whatever influence he has over Donald Trump to change the president’s mind about Stephen Miller. It hasn’t worked so far.

The MSNBC host previously blamed Miller for mishandling the rollout of the travel ban and on Monday resumed his campaign against Trump’s senior policy adviser, who made a series of breathtakingly forceful statements on the Sunday political talk shows, including:

“Our opponents, the media and the whole world will soon see, as we begin to take further actions, that the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.”
“Sean Spicer, as always, is a hundred percent correct.”
“It is a fact, and you will not deny it, that there are massive numbers of noncitizens in this country who are registered to vote.”

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

The video clips on this one (see link) are truly amazing.  Miller is the “Perfect Storm” of arrogance, ignorance, and intolerance all wrapped into a package of smart-ass, off-putting demeanor, lack of gravitas, and robotic delivery. Hopefully, they never let this guy into a courtroom. Or, perhaps they should . . . .

Come to think of it, I’d love to see him go “toe to toe” with Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit. Nothing Judge P loves better than being told “who’s in charge.” And, as for the “I’m from the White House come to tell you about your authority, you robed boob” tone, let’s just say it wouldn’t be pretty. On the other hand, couldn’t happen to a more deserving guy.

PWS

02/13/17

The Hill: N. Rappaport Predicts That Trump Will Have Slam Dunk Win If “Travel Ban” Case Gets To Supremes!

http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/immigration/319212-if-immigration-ban-goes-to-supreme-court-trump-is-is-shoo-in

“Two states challenged President Donald Trump’s executive order, Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States, in a U.S. District Court. The District Court preliminarily ruled in their favor and temporarily enjoined enforcement of the order.

The government appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and filed a motion for an emergency stay to reinstate the order while its appeal from the District Court’s decision proceeds.
The court denied the government’s motion because it was not convinced that the government is likely to prevail on the states’ due process claim when the case is adjudicated on its merits. The court reserved consideration, however, on the states’ religious discrimination claim until the merits of the appeal have been fully briefed.

I have found no merit in the States arguments in support of either of those claims.”

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

Read Nolan’s complete article at the link which gives his reasons for finding both the Due Process and Religious Discrimination Claims under the Constitution without merit.  Additionally, Nolan wrote an earlier article in The Hill on February 8, 2017, which I inadvertently missed, expanding upon his views of the nature of Presidential authority in this area:

http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/immigration/318540-exactly-how-much-immigration-authority-does-trump-have-well

I doubt that this case will reach the Supremes in its current posture for four reasons: 1) the Court generally does not review cases at the TRO stage; 2) with only eight Justices and having split evenly on the last major challenge to Executive Power (involving the Obama Administrations so-called DAPA program) I doubt the Court wants to take this on right now; 3) at the TRO stage, the record is very sparse and the Court often looks through the record for some non-Constitutional basis to avoid sweeping rulings; 4) the Court has complete discretion as to whether to grant review in this situation and does not have to provide any reasons for denying review.

As to the merits, I doubt that the EO as currently drafted can pass constitutional muster. For example, as noted by the 9th Circuit panel, a returning lawful permanent resident alien is entitled to full due process under Supreme Court rulings. Whatever that might mean in the section 212(f) context, it has to involve, at a minimum, a hearing before a quasi- judicial official with some type of Article III judicial review. To the extent that Nolan suggests that the President himself can make such determinations or delegate them to non-quasi-judicial officials I disagree.

Also, someone coming to the U.S. with a positive overseas refugee determination would clearly be entitled to a fundamentally fair forum in which to make claims for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture (“CAT”). Indeed, anyone arriving in the United States has such a right.

I recognize the Sierra Leonian example cited by Nolan in his 02/08/17 article, and apparently that case was affirmed by the BIA and the 2d Circuit in unpublished decisions. However, it seems to me that under the CAT, a full due process hearing is required before returning individuals to a country where they might be tortured, even where that country has given “diplomatic assurances” that the individual will not be tortured.  See Khouzam v. Attorney General, 549 F.3d 235 (3d Cir. 2008). I also doubt that withholding of removal, which can be granted to someone arriving at a land border after an order of removal has been entered, really is an “entry” under the INA.

These are just the most glaring examples of the lack of thought, judgement, and legal analysis that went into this ill-advised Executive Order. Haste makes waste. Bad cases make bad law, etc.

I’m inclined to believe, however, that it is likely that a carefully drafted and properly vetted Executive Order which applies only to individuals overseas who have never been admitted to the U.S., and which provides at least some type of “facially legitimate” factual basis to support it (and I don’t mean the idea that prior Congressional and Executive actions on the entirely different issue of whether an individual who was not from one of these countries, but who had visited one of these countries, could come in under a waiver of any visa vetting at all — “visa waiver”) would likely be upheld by the Court.

But, that’s probably not going to happen under this Administration. Indeed, President Trump is making the strongest possible case that our doctrine of separation of powers and the continued existence of our very constitutional republic will require, if anything, an even higher degree of judicial scrutiny of almost all Executive actions. A President who surrounds himself with such obviously unqualified individuals as Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, and Mike Flynn shows just why the President’s judgement is not to be trusted — on this or almost anything else.

There is a reason why this issue hasn’t come up before in our history. It’s called wise and prudent Executive judgement. And, it’s sorely lacking in this Administration.

 

PWS

02/13/17

 

 

Wow! Even Professor John “Johnny Waterboard” Yoo Thinks That Four Years Of Trump’s “‘So-called’ Judgement” Could Be Torture!

https://www.wsj.com/articles/trumps-so-called-judgment-1486941557

Yoo, author of the notorious “Torture Memos” under the Bush II DOJ, and his colleague Professor Sai Prakash (who, as far as I know, had nothing whatsoever to do with said Torture Memo) write in today’s Washington Post:

“But if presidential attacks on the courts are nothing new, the history also underscores the smallness of Mr. Trump’s vision. Jefferson, Lincoln and FDR knew when to speak and when to keep silent. They invoked the great powers of the presidency to oppose the Supreme Court only when fundamental constitutional questions were at stake: the punishment of political dissent; secession and slavery; Congress’s power to regulate the economy. The occasion for Mr. Trump’s fury is a temporary restraining order of a temporary suspension of immigration from seven countries. Mr. Trump still has the opportunity to prevail on the merits. He hasn’t lost the case—at least not yet.

The Trump administration will often appear in court over the next four or eight years. It will lose plenty of cases, because, like its predecessors, it will push the legal envelope. If the president publicly vents every time he loses a ruling, his complaints will recede into background noise.

Questioning judicial decisions, and even the judiciary’s legitimacy, is entirely proper. But a wise president will reserve such attacks for extraordinary matters of state involving the highest constitutional principles. To do otherwise risks dissipating the executive’s energy, weakening the president’s agenda, and wasting his political capital. When criticizing the Supreme Court for upholding the Bank of the United States, declaring Dred Scott a slave, or striking down the New Deal, presidents were advancing constitutional agendas worthy of a fierce attack on the courts. Mr. Trump is upset about losing a minor procedural test of a temporary executive order. If he doesn’t learn to be more judicious, we’re in for a long four years.”

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Kinda says it all. Yoo and Prakash are right. All Administrations lose cases on a daily basis in Federal Courts throughout the county — literally thousands of them over a full Administration.

I know, because one of my duties as the Deputy General Counsel of the “Legacy INS” was to to write or supervise the writing of “Adverse Decision Reports” (known in the DOJ litigation business as “Tombstones”) to the Solicitor General’s Office. It could have been almost a full time job (without some “help from my friends” in the office and the field).

And, of course, the INS was only one of many Government agencies litigating in the Federal Courts every day. We at the “Legacy INS” even had our own “dedicated litigation division,” known as the “Office of Immigration Litigation (“OIL”)” within the Civil Division. Also, no (or almost no) term of the Supreme Court goes by without the USG being on the “losing” side of one or more major decisions.

So, the Prez better get used to it. He could start by paying more attention to the career “Federal Court Pros” in the Solicitor General’s Office and OIL and less attention to the views of guys like Stephen Miller, Steve Bannon, and even VP Mike Pence who are totally clueless as to how to conduct winning Federal litigation. Indeed, as Governor of Indiana, Pence got “totally creamed” in his disingenuous, mean-spirited, and illegal attempt to bar the resettlement of well-screened Syrian refugee families in Indiana. But, some folks never learn (and. perhaps, never will).

PWS

02/13/17