Eve Levin,  //  4/6/17  //  Daily Update

Improper communications have been sent to Fourth Circuit judges regarding the revised entry ban. The Seventh Circuit's holding that Title VII forbids sexual orientation discrimination raises questions about the Trump Administration's position. A judge has denied DOJ's request to delay a hearing on the proposed consent degree regarding police practices in Baltimore. Trump's nominee to run FDA faced tough questions in his Senate hearing. President Trump has accused former National Security Advisor Susan Rice of committing a crime by seeking to unmask the identifies of Trump associates whose communications were intercepted incidentally by U.S. intelligence agencies.



The Clerk of Court for the Fourth Circuit has revealed that numerous "ex parte" e-mail messages supporting President Trump's revised entry ban have been sent to judges on the court, reports Lyle Denniston.

A magistrate judge has ordered one of President Trump’s key campaign advisors on immigration to turn over a document he used to brief the president-elect during the transition (Politico).

California Democrats are debating over whether the fight President Trump’s immigration policies through forceful opposition or through measured diplomacy (NYT).

Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly says it is doubtful that a wall along the full border with Mexico will ever be built (NYT).

  • On Just Security, Matthew Wein suggests that empowering DHS and Customs and Border Protection to enter into more trusted traveler and trade agreements would help secure the borders.

Following Trump Administration policies and reports, funds that provide lawyers to indigent deportation defendants are debating whether to assist undocumented migrants with violent criminal pasts  (The Intercept).



The Seventh Circuit's holding this week that Title VII forbids sexual orientation discrimination makes Supreme Court review likely and raises questions about the Trump Administration's position on this issue, reports Joshua Matz at Take Care.

  • Lyle Denniston breaks down the Seventh Circuit decision and the concurring and dissenting opinions in Hively v. Ivy Tech.
  • The Seventh Circuit decision is also great news for trans rights explains Mark Joseph Stern at Slate.
  • Further coverage is rounded up on How Appealing here and on Above the Law here.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has updated U.S. Attorneys and DOJ Component Heads on the Department’s Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety.

DOJ's request to delay a public fairness hearing on the consent decree negotiated between the federal government and Baltimore relating to police practices has been denied.

  • On Take Care, Chiraag Bains has explained why denial of DOJ's motion would be the correct holding.
  • In a NYT Op-Ed, Vanita Gupta and Corey Stoughton argue that Sessions’ order will undermine police reform.
  • Ryan Devereaux also argues that Sessions’ order will roll back decades of police reform.



Analysis of White House officials’ financial disclosures continues this week after their release last Friday.

  • The disclosures reveal “the richest, most conflicted, and least transparent [Administration] in living memory,” writes John Cassidy at the New Yorker.
  • The Center for Public Integrity has released a public, sortable, searchable database of the disclosures.

Since inauguration, President Trump has spent 22 out of 76 days in office at his properties, a move that some ethics experts think “blur[s] the line between the family business and his presidential duties” (NYT).



Characterizing H.J. Res. 43 as an effort to defund Planned Parenthood plays to conservatives’ advantage, Leah Litman writes at Take Care.

The White House is attempting to court the most conservative members of the House to resuscitate healthcare reform legislation, but risks alienating more moderate allies (NYT).

  • Rachel Bade and Josh Dawsey report that negotiations have been mired in disagreements between the two factions about what the White House has promised them (Politico).
  • At Rewire, Christine Grimaldi analyzes HHS Secretary Tom Price’s ability to dismantle women’s healthcare protections.

Environmental groups filed suit Wednesday to challenge the EPA's decision not to ban a common pesticide linked to developmental problems in children (The Hill; Intercept).

The EPA is considering shifting the cost of vehicle emissions standards enforcement onto car manufacturers, in the face of President Trump’s proposed budget cuts (ClimateWire).

DOJ has filed an unopposed motion with the D.C. Circuit requesting ten minutes of oral argument in the en banc rehearing of PHH Corp. v. CFPB (CFPB Monitor).

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka accused President Trump of pulling a “bait-and-switch” after campaigning on promises to help the working class (The Hill).

The White House has denied reports that it is considering a carbon tax or value-added tax as part of its tax reform plan (The Hill).

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions questioned President Trump’s nominee to lead the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Dr. Scott Gottlieb, in hearings on Wednesday (NYT, WaPo).

  • Gottlieb identified nationwide opioid addiction as the agency’s “biggest crisis” (NYT).
  • Senate Democrats have denounced Gottlieb’s nomination, citing his close ties to the pharmaceutical industry (The Hill).
  • Charley Grant suggests that while Gottlieb is favored by the pharmaceutical industry, his confirmation may disadvantage some drug manufacturers (WSJ).
  • At the Washington Post, David Shaywitz suggests that Gottlieb’s ties to the industry are an asset rather than a liability.

Retired Gen. Stanley MyChrystal argues that pitting funding for public broadcasting and military expenditures against one another is a “false choice,” and that both make Americans safer (NYT).



"I believe the President. I have always believed him. I believed him when he said he wanted to ban Muslims from entering the United States. And I believe him now when he says his travel ban has nothing to do with religious discrimination."  So begins an essay on Lawfare entitled, "I Believe," that surveys many of President Trump's statements.

President Trump’s statements regarding Bowe Bergdahl “raise an incredibly serious . . . issue” under the law of Unlawful Command Influence, Steve Vladeck argues at Just Security.



Congress may soon exercise its appropriations power to limit some of President Trump’s key initiatives, but Trump might seek to resist, Zachary Price writes for Take Care.

Members of Congress are growing impatient with the Executive Branch’s failure to respond to their letters, Daniel Van Schooten reports at the Project on Government Oversight.



President Trump has claimed that former National Security Adviser Susan E. Rice committed a crime by seeking to "unmask" the identifies of Trump associates whose communications were intercepted incidentally by U.S. intelligence agencies (NYT, Politico).

  • Rice has previously denied this accusation (WaPo).
  • Rep. Adam Schiff told reporters that the House Intelligence Committee would “be happy” for Rice to testify (The Hill).
  • The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board argues that Rice’s own statements constitute evidence that she did unmask the names of some officials.

Carter Page has confirmed that he was targeted by Russian spies for recruitment in 2013, before he became campaign adviser to President Trump (WSJ, NYT).

  • Rep. Adam Schiff has announced that the House Intelligence Committee investigation into the Trump campaign will request that Page testify before the panel (Politico).

The Logan Act is not a dead letter and may indeed have been violated by President Trump’s inner circle, Ryan Goodman argues at the Washington Post.

Blackwater Founder Erik Prince’s White House ties and meetings with associates of Vladimir Putin must be investigated, Rep. Jan Schakowsky states in a podcast at the Intercept.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren has denounced as “crazy” the idea of confirming President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee while the FBI’s Russia investigation is still ongoing (The Hill).


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.  

If you have any feedback, please let us know here.

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