Judge Hanen blasts Obama’s Department of Lying for Injustice [with comments by Paul and John]

At NR, David French observes: In one of the most stinging court opinions I’ve ever read, federal district judge Andrew Hanen blasted Department of Justice officials for misleading the court during the course of executive amnesty litigation. What did the DOJ do?” French quotes the court’s words:

In summary, this Court and opposing counsel were misled both in writing and in open court on multiple occasions as to when the Defendants would begin to implement the Secretary’s 2014 DHS Directive establishing the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (“DAPA”) program and amending the DACA program. Opposing counsel and this Court were assured that no action would be taken implementing the 2014 DHS Directive until February 18, 2015. Counsel for the Government made these assurances on the record on December 19, 2014, and in open court on January 15, 2015. Similar misrepresentations were made in pleadings filed on January 14, 2015, [Doc. No. 90 at 3] and even after the injunction issued, on February 23, 2015. [Doc. No. 150]. For example, on February 23, 2015, the Government lawyers wrote that: “DHS was to begin accepting requests for modified DACA on February 18, 2015.”5 [Doc. No. 150 at 7]. This representation was made despite the fact that in actuality the DHS had already granted or renewed over 100,000 modified DACA applications using the 2014 DHS Directive.

In other words, French explains, the Obama administration launched its executive amnesty program behind the court’s back, and lied about it — ultimately granting lawful residence to more than 100,000 illegal immigrants until the court halted the program with an injunction. If the government had told the truth, the state plaintiffs (including Texas) would have been able to seek a temporary restraining order to attempt to block the program. Judge Hanen was not happy:

Such conduct is certainly not worthy of any department whose name includes the word “Justice.” Suffice it to say, the citizens of all fifty states, their counsel, the affected aliens and the judiciary all deserve better.

French then notes:

In response, the court ordered the DOJ to provide lists of each affected illegal alien in each of the plaintiff states, required each DOJ attorney who practices in each of the plaintiff states to take additional legal ethics courses for a period of five years, and ordered the Attorney General to produce a comprehensive plan for ensuring that similar misconduct will not occur in the future. The court did not have the power to disbar the individual lawyers who made the misrepresentations, but it did revoke their permission to appear in the case. The DOJ’s conduct is an example of lies compounding lawlessness. The Obama administration circumvented Congress by attempting mass-scale executive amnesty via memorandum, then its lawyers attempted to circumvent judicial accountability by lying to a federal judge. And through it all, the administration and its defenders are unashamed — because, after all, when it comes to matters of social justice, the ends justify the means.

What a disgrace.

I note guiltily that this post is drawn entirely from David French’s NR post. Please click on the link to it above. The New York Times also covers the story in “Federal judge in Texas demands Justice Dept. lawyers take ethic class.”

PAUL ADDS: This is a remarkable order. As Josh Blackman says, Judge Hanen has basically placed the Justice Department under his supervision to ensure that they act ethically.

First, he has “sent back to school” all of the lawyers in Main Justice who litigate in the 26 states that challenged DAPA. They are required to take a three-hour legal-ethics case on “candor to the court.”

The class must be taught by a “recognized ethics expert who is unaffiliated with the Justice Department.” It cannot be a “self-study or online study” course.

Second, the Justice Department must appoint a person to certify annually that all attorneys who appear in the 26 states have completed the ethics course. This order will remain in effect until December 31, 2021.

In addition, Judge Hanen ordered Attorney General Loretta Lynch to report in 60 days “with a comprehensive plan to prevent this unethical conduct from ever occurring again,” and to “report what steps she is taking to ensure that . . . the Justice Department trial lawyers tell the truth — the entire truth.”

Lynch is also required to report in 60 days “what steps she is taking to ensure that the Office of Professional Responsibility . . . appropriately disciplines those whose actions fall below the standards that the American people rightfully expect from their Department of Justice.” Blackman “strongly recommends” that the offending attorneys self-report this order to their state bar’s disciplinary committees, before Judge Hanen does it for them.

Blackman compares Judge Hanen’s order to the federal courts that placed recalcitrant school districts under supervision to ensure compliance with desegregation orders or the courts that placed deficient police departments under federal oversight to ensure they reduce police brutality or other offenses.

That the U.S. Department of Justice would receive such treatment is, as I said, remarkable. That DOJ deserves this treatment is even more remarkable.

JOHN adds: What Barack Obama has done to the Department of Justice is a tragedy. Whoever the next president may be, he or she must make restoring a semblance of integrity to DOJ a top priority.

Responses