SUPREMES SIDE WITH TRUMP — LEAVE REFUGEE BAN IN PLACE (FOR NOW)!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-agrees-with-trump-administration-says-some-refugees-can-be-barred-for-now/2017/09/12/f38d5884-97ee-11e7-82e4-f1076f6d6152_story.html?hpid=hp_rhp-top-table-main_travelban704pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.69d624f195a7 Continue reading SUPREMES SIDE WITH TRUMP — LEAVE REFUGEE BAN IN PLACE (FOR NOW)!

BATTLE BREWING AT JUSTICE? — DEA PUSHES BACK AGAINST SESSIONS’S FALSE NARRATIVES ON MARIJUANA, MS-13!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/justice-department-at-odds-with-dea-on-marijuana-research-ms-13/2017/08/15/ffa12cd4-7eb9-11e7-a669-b400c5c7e1cc_story.html?utm_term=.77af31733d0e

Matt Zapotosky and Devlin Barrett

report in the Washington Post:

“The Justice Department under Attorney General Jeff Sessions has effectively blocked the Drug Enforcement Administration from taking action on more than two dozen requests to grow marijuana to use in research, one of a number of areas in which the anti-drug agency is at odds with the Trump administration, U.S. officials familiar with the matter said.

A year ago, the DEA began accepting applications to grow more marijuana for research, and as of this month it had 25 proposals to consider. But DEA officials said they need the Justice Department’s approval to move forward. So far, the department has not been willing to provide it.

“They’re sitting on it,” said one law enforcement official familiar with the matter. “They just will not act on these things.”

As a result, said one senior DEA official, “the Justice Department has effectively shut down this program to increase research registrations.’’

DEA spokesman Rusty Payne said the agency “has always been in favor of enhanced research for controlled substances such as marijuana.’’

. . . .

The standoff is the latest example of the nation’s premier narcotics enforcement agency finding itself in disagreement with the new administration. While President Trump and Sessions have vowed a crackdown on drugs and violent crime, DEA officials have publicly and privately questioned some of the administration’s statements and goals.

Late last month, acting DEA administrator Chuck Rosenberg wrote in an email to staff members that Trump had “condoned police misconduct” in remarking to officers on Long Island that they need not protect suspects’ heads when putting them into police vehicles. The acting administrator said he was writing his employees “because we have an obligation to speak out when something is wrong.” After public criticism, White House officials said the president was joking.

DEA officials say Sessions and his Justice Department have pressed the agency for action specifically on MS-13 despite warnings from Rosenberg and others at the DEA that the gang, which draws Central American teenagers for most of its recruits, is not one of the biggest players when it comes to distributing and selling narcotics.

Mexican cartels, DEA officials have warned, will use any gang to sell their drugs, and DEA leaders have directed those in their field offices to focus on the biggest threat in their particular geographic area. In many parts of the country, MS-13 simply does not pose a major criminal or drug-dealing threat compared with other groups, these officials said.

The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they could face professional consequences for candidly describing the internal disputes.

“Mexican cartels, Mexican transnational organizations are the greatest criminal threat to the United States,” Payne, the DEA spokesman, said. “There’s no other group currently positioned to challenge them. Whenever drug investigations that we do involve MS-13, we respond, but right now the No. 1 drug threat in the U.S. is the Mexican cartels.’’

. . . .”

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Read the complete article at the link.

Just another example of how Sessions’s personal and political agenda has little to do with effective law enforcement. Wonder how long these folks in DEA will be around before Sessions orders a “purge” and installs his minions?

PWS

08-16-17

 

 

GUILTY! — JoeToGo (To Jail?) — Arpaio On Wrong Side Of Law!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/ex-sheriff-joe-arpaio-convicted-of-criminal-contempt/2017/07/31/26d9572e-7620-11e7-8f39-eeb7d3a2d304_story.html

Matt Zapotosky reports in the Washington Post:

“Joe Arpaio, a former Arizona sheriff whose extreme stance on illegal immigration made him a household name, was convicted Monday of criminal contempt of court for ignoring a judge’s order to stop detaining people because he merely suspected them of being undocumented immigrants.

U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton wrote that Arpaio had shown a “flagrant disregard” for the court’s command and that his attempt to pin the conduct on those who worked for him rang hollow.

“Not only did Defendant abdicate responsibility, he announced to the world and to his subordinates that he was going to continue business as usual no matter who said otherwise,” Bolton wrote.

A Justice Department spokeswoman said Arpaio faces up to six months in prison at his sentencing, which is scheduled for October 5. Arpaio’s attorney said he would appeal in order to get a trial by jury. He had been convicted after a trial in front of Bolton.”

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Read the complete article at the link.

Eventually, justice catches up with folks like Arpaio.

PWS

08-01-17

NO CHAOS: Matt Zapotosky Summarizes Supreme’s Travel Ban Decision — Former DOJ Immigration Litigator Leon Fresco Says Case Likely To Resolve Itself Before Argument In Fall!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/what-the-supreme-courts-travel-ban-ruling-means/2017/06/26/5e86e1cc-5a7e-11e7-9fc6-c7ef4bc58d13_story.html?utm_term=.13c35f5c2033

Zapotosky writes in the WashPost:

“The Supreme Court’s decision to allow portions of President Trump’s travel ban to take effect is a win for the administration, but the impact will be far less severe than President Trump’s initial version of the measure.

That is because the high court effectively allowed Trump to ban from coming to the United States only citizens of six majority-Muslim countries “who lack any bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” It also nudged the president to complete his promised review of vetting procedures, which might mean the issue is resolved by the time the court is set to fully consider the ban in its October term.

For now, if you are not a U.S. citizen and have a relative here, have been hired by a U.S. employer or admitted to an American university, you can still probably get a visa. But if you’re applying cold as a visitor or through the diversity visa program, you probably can’t.

. . . .

The Supreme Court wrote that the government now should be able to do its work. “We fully expect that the relief we grant today will permit the Executive to conclude its internal work and provide adequate notice to foreign governments within the 90-day life of [the order],” the justices wrote.

The court said it would take up the travel ban fully in its October term; their ruling Monday only partially lifted lower courts’ stays on the measure. By that time, the 90-day period will have run, and Fresco said the administration will be pressed to come up with good reasons for imposing a ban.

“If there is not an answer to the question on the first day of oral arguments about why this ban is still in place, that is going to make the court much more skeptical about the government’s reasons for having this ban,” Fresco said.”

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Read the complete analysis at the link.

According to this analysis, the six Justices in the majority apparently have skillfully maneuvered the Trump Administration into a “put up or shut up” situation. They have alleviated the greatest hardships caused by the ban by allowing individuals with bona fide connections to the U.S. to continue to come. At the same time, they have pressured the Trump Administration into completing its “study” before Fall and lifting the “temporary ban,” thus largely mooting the case. As Fresco points out, if the Administration attempts to continue the ban after its scheduled expiration, they will likely have to come up with a much more convincing explanation that they have provided to date. Otherwise, the whole thing is going to look like a “pretext” for a blanket “Muslim ban,” which is what the plaintiffs have been arguing all along. Actually, sounds to me like the kind of practical solution that Chief Justice Roberts sometimes devises to avoid ugly showdowns between the three branches of Government. Interesting.

PWS

06-26-17

 

BREAKING: WashPost Reports That Russia Probe Now Involves Trump Top Aide! — Is The “House Of Cards” Beginning To Wobble?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/russia-probe-reaches-current-white-house-official-people-familiar-with-the-case-say/2017/05/19/7685adba-3c99-11e7-9e48-c4f199710b69_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_fbiprobedeck-315pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.2f64c5fc8b83

Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky Report:

“The law enforcement investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign has identified a current White House official as a significant person of interest, showing that the probe is reaching into the highest levels of government, according to people familiar with the matter.

The senior White House adviser under scrutiny by investigators is someone close to the president, according to these people, who would not further identify the official.

The revelation comes as the investigation appears to be entering a more overtly active phase, with investigators shifting from work that has remained largely hidden from the public to conducting interviews and using a grand jury to issue subpoenas. The intensity of the probe is expected to accelerate in the coming weeks, the people said.

The sources emphasized that investigators remain keenly interested in people who previously wielded influence in the Trump campaign and administration but are no longer part of it, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Flynn resigned in February after disclosures that he had lied to administration officials about his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Current administration officials who have acknowledged contacts with Russian officials include President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, as well as Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Rex Tikkerson.”

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Read the complete story at the link.

I think “we’ve got trouble, right here in River City!” Stay runed!

PWS

05-19-17

 

BETSY WOODRUFF @ THE DAILY BEAST: Going Gonzo At The USDOJ!

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/04/12/prosecutor-jeff-sessions-new-immigration-plan-is-f-cking-horrifying

Betsy writes:

NOGALES, Arizona—The crowd was small, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s speech was short. But his message couldn’t have been clearer:
“This is a new era,” said Sessions, who sported a dark suit in the hot Arizona sun. “This is the Trump era.”
And with that Sessions officially weaponized the Justice Department to crack down on undocumented immigration. After taking a private border tour with Customs and Border Protections agents in Nogales, on the southern edge of Arizona, the attorney general announced the feds will soon be spending a lot more time prosecuting people who break immigration laws.

Sessions made the announcement over a glitchy sound system to a group of reporters and Customs and Border Protection agents just a few feet away from the Mexico border. A gust of wind knocked over the American flag behind him as he spoke, so a CBP agent stood behind it and propped it up until the attorney general finished his speech.
All federal prosecutors, Sessions said in his slow Alabama drawl, must now consider bringing cases against people suspected of the “transportation or harboring of aliens.” Those prosecutors must also look to bring more felony prosecutions against some immigrants who illegally enter the country more than once and should charge immigrants with document fraud—which includes using a made-up Social Security number—and aggravated identity theft when they can.
One veteran federal prosecutor told The Daily Beast these changes are a generating significant concern.
“It’s fucking horrifying,” the prosecutor said. “It’s totally horrifying and we’re all terrified about it, and we don’t know what to do.
“The things they want us to do are so horrifying—they want to do harboring cases of three or more people,” the prosecutor continued. “So if you’re illegal and you bring your family over, then you’re harboring your kid and your wife, and you can go to jail.”
Sessions broke the news on his first trip to the border as attorney general. The last time he visited was a few days before the 2016 presidential election, when he appeared with former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to talk up Trump’s tough-on-immigration credentials. During his time in the Senate, Sessions was a relentless advocate for much tougher enforcement of immigration laws. Now that he’s the nation’s top law enforcement official, he’s making good on those commitments—which this trip is highlighting.
Immigration-related crimes are already a massive portion of federal prosecutors’ caseloads; Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Clearinghouse found that immigration violations—including illegal entry and illegal re-entry—made up 52 percent of federal prosecutions from September 2015 to September 2016. In the Trump era, though, immigration offenses will be an even larger part of prosecutors’ work. It’s a move that delights immigration hawks.
“All of these steps from detention to more judges to prosecuting those who have previously been deported will drive down the number of illegals in the country and lead to even bigger drops in those trying to sneak across the border,” said Hans von Spakovsky of the conservative Heritage Foundation. “All of this is long overdue.”
The Federation for American Immigration Reform, a restrictionist group whose leaders have worked closely with Sessions on immigration issues and that has significant clout among Trump’s nationalist-populist allies and aides, takes a broad view of what kind of activity could constitute “harboring.” In a position paper on its site, FAIR says anyone who knowingly helps an undocumented immigrant get a job could be prosecuted.
Some view the change as a waste.

“Every dollar spent on prosecuting an illegal immigrant for illegal reentry is a dollar that could have been spent on prosecuting or investigating a real crime,” said Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration expert at the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute. “It’s a shame the government is prioritizing the enforcement of, essentially, labor market regulations over violent and property crimes.”
Others welcome it. John Huber, the U.S. attorney for Utah, told The Daily Beast his office has already been doing much of what Sessions called for—especially prosecutions related to people entering the U.S. illegally after previously being deported—but that he expects to bring more harboring prosecutions to comply with the guidance. That would include people who drive vans full of undocumented immigrants across the border and into Utah looking for work, he said.
“That’s the type of case we may see here, where you have someone transporting a vehicle full of unlawful immigrants,” he said. “We will go after the people who are transporting them, organizing, and coordinating that trip, bringing aliens into our country.”
Sessions made clear that the new crackdown won’t exempt parents of U.S. citizens.”

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Read Betsy’s Full article at the above link.

And, the zaniness doesn’t end with immigration prosecutions. Just today, the Washington Post reported on Sessions’s plans to pile on criminal charges and fill up the prisons:

“Attorney General Jeff Sessions overturned the sweeping criminal charging policy of former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr. and directed his federal prosecutors Thursday to charge defendants with the most serious, provable crimes carrying the most severe penalties.

In a speech Friday, Sessions said the move was meant to ensure that prosecutors would be “un-handcuffed and not micromanaged from Washington” as they worked to bring the most significant cases possible.

“We are returning to the enforcement of the laws as passed by Congress, plain and simple,” Sessions said. “If you are a drug trafficker, we will not look the other way, we will not be willfully blind to your misconduct.”

The Holder memo, issued in August 2013, instructed his prosecutors to avoid charging certain defendants with drug offenses that would trigger long mandatory minimum sentences. Defendants who met a set of criteria such as not belonging to a large-scale drug trafficking organization, gang or cartel, qualified for lesser charges — and in turn less prison time — under Holder’s policy.

Civil liberties advocates at the time praised the move as appropriately merciful — potentially preventing people from facing lifelong penalties for crimes that did not warrant such a punishment. But Sessions’s new charging policy, outlined in a two-page memo and sent to more than 5,000 assistant U.S. attorneys across the country and all assistant attorneys general in Washington, orders prosecutors to “charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense” and rescinds Holder’s policy immediately.

Sessions said prosecutors would have discretion to avoid sentences “that would result in an injustice,” but his message was clear: His Justice Department will be tougher on drug offenders than its predecessor.

“These are not low-level drug offenders we, in the federal courts, are focusing on,” Sessions said. “These are drug dealers, and you drug dealers are going to prison.”

The Sessions memo marks the first significant criminal justice effort by the Trump administration to bring back the toughest practices of the drug war, which had fallen out of favor in recent years with a bipartisan movement to undo the damaging effects of mass incarceration.
“Drug trafficking is an inherently dangerous and violent business,” Sessions said. “If you want to collect a drug debt, you can’t file a lawsuit in court. You collect it with the barrel of a gun.”

[How Jeff Sessions wants to bring back the war on drugs]

Civil liberties advocates condemned the measure as a return to ineffective policies.

“Attorney General Jeff Sessions overturned the sweeping criminal charging policy of former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr. and directed his federal prosecutors Thursday to charge defendants with the most serious, provable crimes carrying the most severe penalties.

In a speech Friday, Sessions said the move was meant to ensure that prosecutors would be “un-handcuffed and not micromanaged from Washington” as they worked to bring the most significant cases possible.

“We are returning to the enforcement of the laws as passed by Congress, plain and simple,” Sessions said. “If you are a drug trafficker, we will not look the other way, we will not be willfully blind to your misconduct.”

The Holder memo, issued in August 2013, instructed his prosecutors to avoid charging certain defendants with drug offenses that would trigger long mandatory minimum sentences. Defendants who met a set of criteria such as not belonging to a large-scale drug trafficking organization, gang or cartel, qualified for lesser charges — and in turn less prison time — under Holder’s policy.

Civil liberties advocates at the time praised the move as appropriately merciful — potentially preventing people from facing lifelong penalties for crimes that did not warrant such a punishment. But Sessions’s new charging policy, outlined in a two-page memo and sent to more than 5,000 assistant U.S. attorneys across the country and all assistant attorneys general in Washington, orders prosecutors to “charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense” and rescinds Holder’s policy immediately.

Sessions said prosecutors would have discretion to avoid sentences “that would result in an injustice,” but his message was clear: His Justice Department will be tougher on drug offenders than its predecessor.

“These are not low-level drug offenders we, in the federal courts, are focusing on,” Sessions said. “These are drug dealers, and you drug dealers are going to prison.”

The Sessions memo marks the first significant criminal justice effort by the Trump administration to bring back the toughest practices of the drug war, which had fallen out of favor in recent years with a bipartisan movement to undo the damaging effects of mass incarceration.
“Drug trafficking is an inherently dangerous and violent business,” Sessions said. “If you want to collect a drug debt, you can’t file a lawsuit in court. You collect it with the barrel of a gun.”

Civil liberties advocates condemned the measure as a return to ineffective policies.”

Read the complete article by Sari Horwitz and Matt Zapotsky at this link:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/sessions-issues-sweeping-new-criminal-charging-policy/2017/05/11/4752bd42-3697-11e7-b373-418f6849a004_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-more-top-stories_sessions-7a%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.84d70fd2e9ee

 

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PWS

05-11-17

Turning Back The Hands Of Time — Sessions Seeks To Restore AG’s Lead Role In Immigration Enforcement!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/seeking-central-role-on-immigration-attorney-general-jeff-sessions-plots-border-visit-to-arizona/2017/03/30/34fc8596-1550-11e7-833c-503e1f6394c9_story.html

David Nakamura and Matt Zapotosky report in the Washington Post:

“The Justice Department is seeking to play a more muscular role in the Trump administration’s immigration enforcement strategy, a move that is alarming immigrant rights advocates who fear Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s hard-line ideology could give Justice too much clout in determining policy.

To highlight the department’s expanding role, Sessions is considering making his first trip to the southern border in mid-April to Nogales, Ariz., a busy border crossing region that features a major patrol station and already has miles of fencing and walls designed to keep out illegal immigrants from Mexico. Aides emphasized that his itinerary is still being developed and the stop in Nogales — which would come as Sessions travels to a conference of state police officials from around the country 200 miles away in Litchfield Park — is still tentative.

If he follows through, the border visit would come at a time when President Trump is asking Congress for billions of dollars to begin construction on a longer and larger wall between the United States and Mexico, a central campaign promise.

In recent weeks, Sessions has taken steps to increase his department’s focus on immigration.

. . . .

But legal experts said Sessions could significantly restructure the Justice Department by ramping up the number of immigration judges sent to the border to speed up hearings and by pursuing more criminal prosecutions against immigrants in the United States beyond those associated with drug cartels and human smugglers that past administrations have focused on.

The Sessions Justice Department also could move to strip some protections from undocumented immigrants, such as how much time they have to find a lawyer; more robustly defend DHS enforcement policies that are challenged in court; and use the Office of the Special Counsel to aggressively prevent employers from discriminating against American workers by hiring undocumented workers, said Leon Fresco, a former deputy assistant attorney general in the Obama administration.

“I think they will be in­cred­ibly active,” said Fresco, who helped draft the 2013 immigration bill while serving as an aide to Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.). The only thing that could slow Sessions, he added, was “finding enough individuals with expertise and the willingness to speed these issues along.”

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Prior to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”), the Attorney General had responsibility for nearly all aspects of domestic immigration enforcement and adjudication. Most of those functions were reassigned to the DHS, leaving the AG responsible primarily for the Immigration Courts (through the Executive Office for Immigration Review – “EOIR”) and for conducting immigration litigation in the Article III Federal Courts (through the Office of Immigration Litigation — “OIL”).

Apparently, Attorney General Sessions finds these legal roles too “passive” for his enforcement-oriented outlook. Sensing a vacuum because of his closeness to the President and DHS Secretary Kelly’s relative inexperience in immigration issues, Sessions now seeks to make, rather than just defend or adjudicate, immigration policy.

What does this say about the chances that Sessions will promote a fair and impartial administrative hearing system through the U.S. Immigration Courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals over which he exercises ultimate control.

PWS

03/31/17

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

 

 

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

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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]

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

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

Matt Zapotsky in WashPost: “7 key take-aways from the court’s ruling on Trump’s immigration order”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/02/09/7-key-takeaways-from-the-courts-ruling-on-trumps-immigration-order/?hpid=hp_rhp-top-table-main_trumpban-takeaways-930pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.64ae82747f5

PWS

02/10/17