//  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 | September 24, 2018

9/24/18  //  Daily Update

Former Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland reversed her statement to Special Counsel Mueller about former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, now saying that Flynn may have spoken to her about discussions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the 2016 presidential transition. The White House and its allies are divided over the possibility of firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. DOE announced it will “rethink anything and everything” related to its approach to special education, with more deference paid to local decision-making. A federal judge in New York ordered Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to be deposed as part of a lawsuit challenging the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census. The New York Times sued the FCC over its refusal to release records that the Times thinks might shed light on Russian interference in the net neutrality repeal proceeding.

Abigail DeHart

Michigan Law School

Nicandro Iannacci

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | September 21, 2018

9/21/18  //  Daily Update

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford says she would agree to testify at a Senate hearing next week, but would not be prepared to do so on Monday. The Trump Administration plans to shift $260 million from program like cancer research and AIDS prevention to cover the cost of housing thousands of undocumented immigrant children in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services. The Pentagon stopped announcing body counts of Taliban and Islamic State fighters killed in battle in Afghanistan, a practice which had begun in January. The Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention has begun dismantling decades-old policies meant to improve racial disparities in youth incarceration. A number of Russian oligarchs close to Vladimir Putin managed to build relationships with elements of the Trump campaign in 2016.

Zachary Piaker

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | September 20, 2018

9/20/18  //  Daily Update

As election day nears, many states and counties are beefing up their plans to deal with cyberattacks on election infrastructure. Undocumented immigrant families affected by Hurricane Florence are wondering whether seeking government resources like shelter, food, or other aid would put them at greater risk. State Department officials are facing backlash over the decision to drastically limit the number of refugees who will be permitted to settle in the U.S. The Office of Inspector General criticized the Bureau of Prisons’ management of female prisoners. Terrorism is down worldwide, but the State Department says that Iran maintains a ‘near-global reach’ as the leading state sponsor of terrorism. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un committed to some concrete steps towards denuclearization, but fell short of what American officials have demanded.

Hanna St. Marie

Columbia Law School