//  4/16/18  //  Daily Update


A federal judge left in place an injunction over President Trump’s transgender troop ban, ruling that transgender people are a protected class. On Friday evening, the United States and European allies launched airstrikes in Syria targeting chemical weapons sites. There is a two-front legal war raging over the right of undocumented teenaged girls to receive abortions—the Supreme Court took up the issue at conference on Friday. Gina Haspel’s nomination to be the next CIA director is facing opposition from senators questioning her role in destroying videotapes of brutal interrogations conducted by the agency. Following an FBI raid on his home, hotel room, and office, President Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, filed for a temporary restraining order in the S.D.N.Y. President Trump issued a pardon to Scooter Libby, former Chief of Staff to Vice President Cheney.

 

IMMIGRATION

There is a two-front legal war raging over the right of undocumented teenaged girls to receive abortions—the Supreme Court took up the issue at conference on Friday (National Constitution Center).

The Justice Department is temporarily halting a program that offered free legal advice to detained immigrants (NPR).

 

CIVIL RIGHTS 

A federal judge left in place an injunction over President Trump’s transgender troop ban, ruling that transgender people are a protected class (HuffPost).

  • The ruling is a constitutional milestone—the first time a federal judge has ruled that transgender people are entitled to strict scrutiny against discrimination, writes Lyle Denniston at his blog.
  • The case is proceeding to trial (HRC).

 

DEMOCRACY

We should give a lower voting age a try, writes the Washington Post Editorial Board.

Mark Zuckerberg’s congressional testimony shed some light on Facebook’s current thinking about how it will combat hate speech on its platform, writes Evelyn Douek at Lawfare

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, a Republican, suggested that President Trump only won Wisconsin because of the state’s voter ID law (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel).

 

JUSTICE & SAFETY

On Friday evening, the United States and European allies launched airstrikes in Syria targeting chemical weapons sites (NYT).

  • Here is a transcript of the President’s remarks announcing the airstrikes.
  • The Pentagon revealed more details about the strikes (WaPo).
  • The U.S. and allies warned Syria of more attacks if chemical weapons are used again (WaPo). 
  • There is no apparent domestic or international legal authority for the strikes, write Jack Goldsmith and Oona Hathaway at Lawfare.
  • The Trump administration should do more to explain the legal basis for the airstrikes, writes John Bellinger at Lawfare

Gina Haspel’s nomination to be the next CIA director is facing opposition from senators questioning her role in destroying videotapes of brutal interrogations conducted by the agency (WaPo).

President Trump apparently cut a deal with Colorado Senator Cory Gardner that could lead to the end of federal marijuana prohibition throughout much of the country, writes Ilya Somin for The Volokh Conspiracy.

 

REGULATION 

In the short run, courts can stop Scott Pruitt’s “gerrymandered reimaging of ‘science.’” But avoiding lasting damage requires removing Pruitt from his seat of power, writes Eli Savit at Take Care.

The U.S. is considering re-entering into the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but re-entry will come with a price (WSJ).

 The D.C. Circuit heard argument in the appeal brought by Leandra English, who is requesting an injunction to install her as CFPB Acting Director (Consumer Finance Monitor).

The Senate Banking Committee questioned Acting CFPB Director Mick Mulvaney over his leadership of the agency (Consumer Finance Monitor).

Energy Secretary Rick Perry expressed willingness to issue an emergency order to help coal and nuclear plants (Arstechnica).

 

RULE OF LAW

Following an FBI raid on his home, hotel room, and office, President Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, filed for a temporary restraining order in the S.D.N.Y. (Lawfare).

  • A criminal investigation into Cohen’s business dealings began months ago (WaPo).
  • The fact that an attorney purports to act on her client’s behalf is no bar to prosecution—Harry Larson and Sabrina McCubbin run through recent examples at Lawfare

President Trump feuded with Former FBI Director James Comey over Twitter this weekend (NYTimes).

  • President Trump called Comey “Slippery” and a “Liar” (NYTimes).

President Trump can fire Robert Mueller—he shouldn’t, write John Yoo and Saikrishna Prakash in the New York Times.

The Justice Department’s Inspector General has released its report on Andrew McCabe. It is scathing, but probably would not have been written had the FBI and Justice Department not become the focus of historic partisan ire, writes Stewart Baker at Lawfare.

  • Sabrina McCubbin summarized the report and the response by McCabe’s lawyer here.

President Trump issued a pardon to Scooter Libby, former Chief of Staff to Vice President Cheney (White House).

  • By this action, President Trump may be looking to cloak in principle his exercise of the power of his office to protect himself, writes Bob Bauer at Lawfare.

Congress is considering a new Authorization for Use of Military Force—it would give President Trump a blank check for worldwide war, writes Christopher Anders at the ACLU.

  

CHECKS & BALANCES

The Supreme Court will provide same-day audio recordings and transcripts from the travel ban case, set for argument on April 25 (Supreme Court).

 

RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE

In the 24 hours following the U.S. strike in Syria, Russian trolling efforts online spiked 2,000% (The Hill).

  • “There's no one better, in the world, about lying about [the] U.S. role in the world than Russia,” said the State Department’s top spokesperson (The Hill).

 


Daily Update | April 24, 2019

4/24/19  //  Daily Update

The post-Mueller cold war between President Trump and House Democrats intensified on Tuesday, as the President indicated that he would fight any Congressional requests for additional information or testimony related to the Special Counsel’s investigation. The White House reportedly plans to invoke executive privilege to prevent former White House Counsel Donald McGahn from testifying before the House Judiciary Committee. After hearing oral argument in a challenge to the Commerce Department’s addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, the Supreme Court seems poised to rule in the Department’s favor. And the House sought a preliminary injunction to bar President Trump from using military funding to build a wall on the nation’s southern border.

Adam Smith

Harvard Law School

Kyle Skinner

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | April 23, 2019

4/23/19  //  Daily Update

The Supreme Court granted certiorari on a trio of cases that will decide whether Title VII protects LGBTQ workers from employment discrimination. President Trump and the Trump Organization sued the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in an effort to prevent the committee from subpoenaing the company’s financial records. The House Judiciary Committee issued a subpoena to former White House Counsel Don McGahn as part of its investigation into obstruction of justice by President Trump. Mississippi’s arguments in defense of its ban on abortions at or after 15 weeks of pregnancy underscore how aggressively some states are seeking to evade constitutional precedent on abortion jurisprudence without overturning it.

Zachary Piaker

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | April 22, 2019

4/22/19  //  Daily Update

The fallout from Thursday’s release of the Mueller Report continues to spread, as do calls for the dissemination of an unredacted version of the report — and for the President’s impeachment. The Ninth Circuit dealt another blow to the Trump administration’s efforts to undercut the authority of sanctuary cities and states. A proposed OPM rule that would likely limit the access of graduates of pre-trial diversion programs to federal jobs is drawing criticism from criminal-justice reform advocates.

Adam Smith

Harvard Law School