//  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 | December 18, 2018

12/18/18  //  Daily Update

Two business associates of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn were indicted for conspiring to serve as unregistered foreign agents of Turkey and lying to federal investigators. Congressional Republicans continue to attempt to convince President Trump not to shut down the government if there is no funding allocated for a border wall. Democrats in Michigan have turned to Governor Rick Snyder in hopes of blocking Republican legislation that would strip significant authority from the Democratic Secretary of State and Attorney General. An official statement from Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs sharply criticized the United States Senate for claiming that crown prince Mohammed bin Salman was at least partially responsible for the death of Jamal Khashoggi. The Senate Intelligence Committee released two reports on Russian social media activity during the 2016 election. Russian disinformation teams targeted special counsel Robert Mueller with claims that he was corrupt and had ties to extremist groups.

Jacob Miller

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | December 17, 2018

12/17/18  //  Daily Update

A federal district judge in Texas struck down the Affordable Care Act after the Trump administration declined to defend the law. Nearly every organization that President Trump has led in the past decade is under criminal investigation. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke resigned after allegations of financial misconduct. Two years after its publication, many of the claims in the Steele dossier have been confirmed by other investigations. Kim Jong-un publicly warned that increased sanctions from the United States could end any chance of North Korean denuclearization. The Trump administration has aggressively sought to expedite high-profile cases to the Supreme Court in the hopes of securing victories from its conservative majority. A new report prepared for the Senate Intelligence Committee reveals that Russian government support for President Trump on social media was more widespread than previously known.

Jacob Miller

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | December 14, 2018

12/14/18  //  Daily Update

President Trump claimed he “never directed Michael Cohen to break the law,” and publicly criticized his former attorney following Cohen’s sentence to three years in jail. A 7-year-old girl from Guatemala died of dehydration and shock after being taken into Border Patrol custody a week ago according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The United States Senate voted 56 to 41 to withdraw American military assistance to Saudi Arabia in Yemen, going against President Trump’s defense of the nation following the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. Solicitor General Noel Francisco filed two requests at the Supreme Court asking it to stay injunctions from three lower courts on the Trump administration’s ban on transgender individuals from serving in the military. National security advisor John Bolton outlined a new strategy for the The Trump administration in Africa aimed primarily at opposing China. Maria Butina pled guilty to conspiracy to act as a foreign agent, and agreed to cooperate with with federal prosecutors going forward.

Jacob Miller

Harvard Law School