Eve Levin,  //  4/18/17  //  Daily Update

Two new plaintiffs have joined CREW's emoluments clause litigation against President Trump in the Southern District of New York. The White House is defending its refusal to release visitor logs. Tensions with North Korea are increasing rapidly. President Trump's nomination of Neomi Rao to head OIRA has drawn criticism. So has DOJ's brief attacking the constitutionality of the CFPB. Debates are underway within the White House over whether to remain in the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.  



The Administration’s extreme vetting practices will discourage business and tourism, argues Gary Shapiro for the Washington Post.

  • Backlash over President Trump’s immigration policies will undermine President Trump’s support in the next election, suggests Philip Klinkner (LA Times).

Tax filings appear to have dipped amid the Administration’s crackdown on illegal immigration. (NPR).

John Kelly, Secretary of Homeland Security, suggests that the President’s “tough” rhetoric helped curbed illegal immigration. (LA Times).

The Administration’s new immigration policies will likely swamp already backlogged immigration courts. (USA Today).



The Administration’s focus on privatizing public education could threaten the rights of students with disabilities, explains Eve Hill for Take Care.

Federal courts are likely the only avenue for LGBT progress during the Trump Administration, argues the NYT Editorial Board.

Vulnerable populations are under relentless attack by the Trump Administration in the first 100 days, Charles Blow argues for the NYT.

  • The Hill reports sweeping changes at the Department of Justice under Attorney General Sessions.
  • Attorney General Session is planning to double down on mass incarceration (Vice).



Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, defended the recent decision not to release visitor logs at the White House. (Politico).



Vice President Mike Pence declared “the era of strategic patience is over,” with North Korea during his visit to the region. (NYT) (WaPo) (Politico).

  • President Trump echoed this sentiment when he said North Korea has ‘gotta behave.’ (Politico).

President Trump should be careful to not let overconfidence box him into a showdown with North Korea, explains the Editorial Board of the NYT. 

  • Temperament matters in foreign policy, argues Josh Glaser for Cato At Liberty.

The motivations of the Administration matter for analyzing the legality of the United States striking a Syrian airbase, argues Michael Adams for Just Security.

  • Itamar Rabinovich discusses the Administration’s next move in Syria. (Lawfare)
  • Several bills have been proposed to help deal with the Syria conflict. (WaPo).
  • Michael Anton, in an interview with The Global Politico, suggests the President does not intend to use the U.S. military to effect regime change in Syria.

The White House lied about data regarding individuals convicted of terrorism, according to Benjamin Wittes for Lawfare.

The United States foreign policy goal should be motivated by the desire to keep the United States out of a new war, argues Jeffrey Sachs for the Boston Globe.



Two new plaintiffs have joined CREW's emoluments lawsuit against President Trump in NY federal court, and CREW has amended the complaint to encompass many more alleged constitutional violations (Washington Post).

The “anticorruption tools in the Anti-Trump toolkit” include statutory and constitutional provisions, writes Clara Spera in this primer at the Global Anticorruption Blog.

“Trump’s No Populist. He’s a Swamp Monster.” So begins Dana Milbank, outlining the unprecedented degree of corporate control in President Trump’s government (WaPo).

Renewed calls for President Trump to release his tax returns have gotten under the President’s skin, reports Matthew Nussbaum (Politico).

  • The President is still under IRS audit, Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Monday (Politico).

The White House’s decision to withhold visitor logs from disclosure is part of a larger pattern against transparency, claims Nolan McCaskill at Politico.

  • Press Secretary Spicer responded to criticism by arguing that complete withholding is better than the Obama administration’s “faux” transparency (Politico). 

The new Office of American Innovation, led by Jared Kushner, can avoid the pitfalls of “crony capitalism” if it follows three pieces of advice, writes Stanley A. Weiss (WSJ).

The President’s vacation and weekend travel is “lavish and wasteful,” costing taxpayers millions of dollars, writes Eugene Robinson (WaPo).



The nomination of Professor Neomi Rao to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) “fits into the pattern of Trump nominating people to run agencies who have publicly committed to blowing them up,” write Ian Samuel and Leah Litman at Take Care.

The government’s brief in PHH v. CFPB contains alternative facts, alternative history, and alternative reality, claims Neil J. Kinkopf at Take Care.

Much work remains to be done on the President’s deregulatory agenda, writes the Wall Street Journal editorial board.

  • The administration has added another trick to its repertoire: delaying federal court rulings on regulatory challenges as it crafts its deregulatory strategy (WaPo).
  • House Republicans are pushing an aggressive anti-regulatory packagethat some moderates doubt could overcome a Democratic filibuster in the upper chamber (The Hill).

Tax preparers across the country are reporting sharp decreases in filings with ITINs, the method used by undocumented immigrants, in light of deportation fears (NPR). 

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin admitted that tax reform is unlikely to reach President Trump’s desk by August (Politico).

  • The “root of all evil” at the IRS “is the complexity of the tax code,” urges Nina E. Olson at the Wall Street Journal. 

Analysis continues in anticipation of Tuesday’s White House meeting to determine the fate of U.S. participation in the Paris Climate Agreement.

  • The outcome of the meeting may turn on which cabinet members and advisors are invited, an as-of-yet-undetermined variable, predicts Evan Lehmann (ClimateWire).
  • Corporate America is breaking with President Trump over climate change, writes Amy Harder at Axios.
  • In an unexpected turn of events, some coal advocates are now supporting continued participation in the Paris Agreement, Jean Chemnick reports for ClimateWire.
  • China, Japan, the United Kingdom, Brazil, and others have submitted questions to the State Department on its climate change compliance plans, none of which have been answered (ClimateWire). The questions are here.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry ordered a study examining whether policies favoring renewable energy sources are undermining the reliability of steady power supplies (BloombergPolitics; The Hill).

The March for Science this Saturday has taken on new political significance for some participants (NYT), while scientists look beyond Saturday to longer-term fights (NYT).

  • The Trump Administration, bolstered by the House Science Committee, continues the “War on Science,” alleges Dan Farber at LegalPlanet.
  • Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA) agrees at The Hill.

EPA head Scott Pruitt condemned Obama’s “war on coal” at a mine owned by a company looking to get out of coal, an irony pointed out by the New York Times Editorial Board.

  • Why doesn’t the administration focus on dwindling job sectors other than coal and manufacturing, Paul Krugman wonders at the New York Times.

Democrats are compromising in exchange for a carbon tax that neither President Trump nor any Congressional Republicans support, David Roberts charges at Vox.

Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) outlined changes to the Financial Choice Act last week; Alan Kaplinksy assesses the changes at Consumer Finance Monitor.

Much-maligned CFPB head Richard Cordray kept his job because the administration didn’t want to bolster his political credibility, but he may have the chops to get elected anyways (Politico).

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos withdrew Obama-era policy guidance on student loan servicing, though it’s unclear what the replacement will look like (Consumer Finance Monitor).

President Trump must reverse course on his proposed federal budget cuts like he did on his attempted hiring freeze, Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD) urges at The Hill.

Republicans must get wise to the fact that most Americans support single-payer healthcare, argues Catherine Rampell at the Washington Post.

The President is increasingly leaning on and appointing Bush-era officials to the chagrin of some of his supporters (Politico).



The Supreme Court is not “broken” just because it has been made into a Presidential electoral prize, reasons Bob Bauer at More Soft Money Hard Law.

  • The public needs to face the truth about the Supreme Court to fix the confirmation process, argues Eric Segall at Dorf on Law.
  • Will Baude responds with skepticism at the Volokh Conspiracy.

President Trump may nominate three new Third Circuit judges, but the home-state senators could block the nominations; Mathew Stiegler considers what comes next at CA3blog.



Democratic state attorneys general are leading the fight to preserve the EPA’s Clean Power Plan against the Trump administration (The Hill).

The President’s relationship to the truth is novel among Presidents because “he doesn’t try to hide his relativism,” reflects Casey Williams in the New York Times.

The first season of this presidency has been “100 Days of Horror,” writes Charles Blow (NYT).


And that's our update today! Thanks for reading. We cover a lot of ground, so our updates are inevitably a partial selection of relevant legal commentary.

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Daily Update | December 23, 2019

12/23/19  //  Daily Update

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell seek to leverage uncertainties in the rules for impeachment to their advantage. White House officials indicated that President Trump threatened to veto a recent spending bill if it included language requiring release of military aid to Ukraine early next year. The DHS OIG said that it found “no misconduct” by department officials in the deaths of two migrant children who died in Border Patrol custody last year. And the FISA court ordered the Justice Department to review all cases that former FBI official Kevin Clinesmith worked on.

Emily Morrow

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | December 20, 2019

12/20/19  //  Daily Update

Speaker Nancy Pelosi indicated the House will be “ready” to move forward with the next steps once the Senate has agreed on ground rules, but the House may withhold from sending the articles to the Senate until after the new year. Commentary continues about the Fifth Circuit's mixed decision on the status of the ACA.

Emily Morrow

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | December 19, 2019

12/19/19  //  Daily Update

The House of Representatives voted to impeach President Trump. Some Democrats urge House leaders to withhold the articles to delay a trial in the Senate. Meanwhile, the Fifth Circuit issues an inconclusive decision about the future of the ACA, and DHS and DOJ proposed a new rulemaking to amend the list of crimes that bar relief for asylum seekers.

Emily Morrow

Harvard Law School