Judge Andrew Hanen has filed a memorandum opinion and order denying the Obama administration’s motion to lift his temporary injunction preventing implementation of Obama’s post-election executive amnesty program. The memorandum opinion and order are posted online here. In media reports of Judge Hanen’s order, you won’t see this comment on the administration’s misrepresentations concerning implementation of the amnesty:
The Court finds that the Government’s multiple statements on this subject were indeed misleading, as detailed in the Order filed simultaneously with this Order. It also finds that the remedial measure taken by counsel for the Government through the filing of an “advisory” on March 3, 2015, was neither prompt nor fully candid. Despite this, a sanction as severe as striking the Government’s pleadings, while perhaps merited based upon the Government’s misconduct, would not at this juncture be in the interests of justice or in the best interest of this country. The issues contested in this case are of national importance, and the outcome will affect millions of individuals. The parties’ arguments should be decided on their relative merits according to the law, not clouded by outside allegations that may or may not bear on the ultimate issues in this lawsuit. Consequently, while this Court may impose some other sanction in response to the misrepresentations made to the Court, it will not strike the Government’s pleadings.
Striking of pleadings based on misconduct of a party or its attorneys is one of the most severe sanctions a court can impose. It is no surprise that Judge Hanen declines to take this step. His reiteration of the seriousness of the administration’s misconduct — to the extent that the sanction would perhaps be merited — is notable.
Our posts on the pending lawsuit can be accessed here. The action now reverts to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The administration’s motion for an order lifting Judge Hanen’s injunction is to be heard by the Fifth Circuit on April 17.