//  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 | July 20, 2018

7/20/18  //  Daily Update

A federal judge ordered the pretrial detention of alleged Russian covert agent Maria Butina. The Trump administration announced new guidance for asylum officers, instructing them to scrutinize applications according to stricter standards and to weigh claims of fear against whether applicants have previously entered the country illegally. The White House withdrew the nomination of Ryan W. Bounds to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit after he faced intense opposition for past writings about multiculturalism and race. Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to be targeting U.S. officials who worked on Russian sanctions, including former U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul. European and Asian countries are taking affirmative steps to protect the global trade institutions and relationships the Trump Administration appears ready to abandon. In voting unanimously against the Sinclair/Tribune merger, the FCC blocked Sinclair Broadcast Group’s attempts to create a market share which would give the company access to nearly 75% of American households with a television.

Nicandro Iannacci

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | July 19, 2018

7/19/18  //  Daily Update

At a news conference, President Trump walked back comments he made which contradicted the assessment of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia had interfered in the 2016 U.S. election. Sikh Indian asylum seekers have reported that their turbans were taken away in a federal prison in Oregon. The Ninth Circuit denied the Trump administration’s motion to stay the preliminary injunction that prevents the implementation of a plan to ban transgender people from serving openly in the U.S. Armed Services. Secret Service documents received through FOIA requests revealed that taxpayers spent nearly $250,000 for two overseas trips by Eric and Donald Trump Jr. in which they visited Trump family businesses. New York City and State filed lawsuits over the DOJ public safety grants that require sanctuary cities to work with ICE.

Abigail DeHart

Michigan Law School

Daily Update | July 18, 2018

7/18/18  //  Daily Update

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is seeking immunity for 5 witnesses who are expected to testify against Paul Manafort at his impending trial. Maria Butina, who was indicted Tuesday on charges of acting as an unregistered agent of the Russian government, had developed extensive ties within the conservative movement. The Trump administration’s proposal to impose Medicaid work requirements puts it on course to break the law by reducing tribal health care funding by millions of dollars. The Internal Revenue Service will no longer require some non-profit groups to disclose the names of large donors. The Department of Labor rescinded an Obama-era regulation that would have required companies to disclose their use of consultants to undermine labor organizing efforts.

Jacqueline Sahlberg

Harvard Law School