The Corner

Federal Judge Issues ‘Extraordinary’ Order Sanctioning the DOJ for Misconduct in Executive Amnesty Litigation

In one of the most stinging court opinions I’ve ever read, federal district judge Andrew Hanon blasted Department of Justice officials for misleading the court during the course of executive amnesty litigation. What did the DOJ do? Here are 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, 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. The judge was furious:

Such conduct is certainly not worthy of any department whose name includes the word “Justice.”7 Suffice it to say, the citizens of all fifty states, their counsel, the affected aliens and the judiciary all deserve better.

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.

David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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