Zachary Piaker  //  2/5/19  //  Daily Update


Prosecutors in the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York plan to subpoena President Trump’s inaugural committee. Rinat Akhmetshin—a Russian-born lobbyist and former Soviet military officer who attended the a Trump Tower meeting with senior Trump campaign officials  in June 2016—received a series of suspicious payments in 2016. The Trump Organization has fired at least eighteen undocumented workers from five golf courses over the past two months, in part of a purge apparently set in motion after a series of media reports about the clubs’ employment of workers without legal status. Republican congressional leaders are increasingly concerned with the vast number of executive branch positions currently unfilled by a permanent officeholder. As we learn more about the process that led to the Trump Administration’s travel ban, its roots in anti-Muslim animus become clearer, as do the parallels between the Supreme Court’s decisions in Trump v. Hawaii and Korematsu. 

 

TRUMP: INVESTIGATIONS AND LITIGATION

Prosecutors in the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York plan to subpoena President Trump’s inaugural committee, John Santucci and Josh Margolin report in ABC News.

Rinat Akhmetshin—a Russian-born lobbyist and former Soviet military officer who attended the a Trump Tower meeting with senior Trump campaign officials  in June 2016—received a series of suspicious payments in 2016, report Emma Loop, Anthony Cormier, Jason Leopold, Tanya Kozyreva, and John Templon in Buzzfeed.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia held a sealed hearing to consider whether Paul Manafort lied to federal investigators after agreeing to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office, write Andrew M. Harris and Erik Larson in Bloomberg.

  • Judge Jackson also delayed Manafort’s sentencing hearing until March 13 (Politico).

The European Parliament’s Committee on Tax Avoidance held on Deutsche Bank’s role in a possible money-laundering scheme, in proceedings watched closely by Democratic lawmakers eager to investigate the bank’s role in providing millions of dollars in loans to the Trump Organization, Zachary Warmbrodt and Bjarke Smith-Meyer report in Politico.

 

IMMIGRATION

The Trump Organization has fired at least eighteen undocumented workers from five golf courses over the past two months, in part of a purge apparently set in motion after a series of media reports about the clubs’ employment of workers without legal status, report Joshua Partlow and David A. Farenthold in the Washington Post.

 

CIVIL RIGHTS 

Under the Trump Administration, the Department of Justice has repeatedly reversed its prior positions on discrimination policies, writes Joan Biskupic in CNN.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s proposed revisions to how schools handle sexual assault and harassment allegations under Title IX could work, with some revisions, argues Louise Melling in the Los Angeles Times.

The D.C. Circuit reversed an FCC decision that would have made it harder for Native American  tribes to receive a federal subsidy for broadband service, Jon Brodkin writes in Ars Technica.

  • Read the opinion here.

 

DEMOCRACY

The Supreme Court is set to once again consider the constitutionality of partisan gerrymandering this term, writes Amy Howe in SCOTUSBlog.

The Federal Circuit is hearing a challenge to the legality of the PACER system’s 10-cent-per-page fees, Adam Liptak writes in the New York Times.

  • Read the plaintiffs’ brief here.

 

JUSTICE & SAFETY 

As we learn more about the process that led to the Trump Administration’s travel ban, its roots in anti-Muslim animus become clearer, as do the parallels between the Supreme Court’s decisions in Trump v. Hawaii and Korematsu, Leah Litman argues in Take Care.

The Department of Defense has launched a far-reaching investigation into civilian deaths from military operations, including an assessment of the way the Pentagon plans and conducts airstrikes, reports Missy Ryan in the Washington Post.

  • The internal review was quite narrow in scope and, as a result, does not answer some of the biggest questions about the principal causes of civilian casualties, argue Daniel R. Mahanty and Rita Siemion in Just Security.

Congressional Democrats wrote to White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney demanding that Senior Advisor Jared Kushner has his security clearance revoked in the wake of reports that a political appointee overrode the recommendation of career security officials in granting the clearance, Mary Papenfuss writes in the Huffington Post.

  • Read the letter here.

 

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

David Dunlap, a former Koch Industries official, is in charge of research that will shape how the government regulates a class of toxic chemicals contaminating millions of Americans’ drinking water—an issue that could have major financial repercussions for his former employer, reports Annie Snider in Politico.

 

REGULATION

The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs has made a number of important, and unheralded, contributions to the administrative state in the last two years, argues Bruce Levinson in the Regulatory Review.

Under Neomi Rao, President Trump’s nominee to the D.C. Circuit, OIRA embraced politicized regulatory obstruction, Patrice L. Simms writes in ACSBlog.

The Supreme Court in Kisor should make clear that Chevron-type deference is inappropriate, but should go no further, Samuel Estreicher argues in Verdict.

 

RULE OF LAW

Republican congressional leaders are increasingly concerned with the vast number of executive branch positions currently unfilled by a permanent officeholder, Juliet Eilperin, Josh Dawsey, and Seung Min Kim report in the Washington Post.

 

CHECKS & BALANCES

Federal judges should tread carefully in deciding whether to consider tweets by President Trump in litigation against the administration, Amelia Thompson-Deveaux writes in FiveThirtyEight.

The U.S. government may already be in an unrecognized constitutional crisis, Sandy Levinson muses in Balkinization.

 

FEDERALISM

States must step up to fill the regulatory void as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau steps back from curbing regulatory lending under President Trump, James Gutierrez argues in the Hill.

 


Daily Update | May 20, 2019

5/20/19  //  Daily Update

The federal government’s ban on spending federal funds on abortions means that Medicaid recipients cannot access abortion, creating a burden on women of color and women living in poverty. A new rule proposed by the Trump administration would prohibit families from obtaining subsidized housing if any family member is undocumented. The Fourth Circuit found that the Trump administration’s decision to rescind DACA was arbitrary and capricious – and therefore unlawful – because it was not adequately explained and the administration did not address the impact of this decision on DACA-recipients’ reliance interests. The White House has released a new tool to solicit information from people who believe that their social media posts have been censored by politically biased social media companies.

Karen Kadish

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | May 16, 2019

5/16/19  //  Daily Update

The Trump Administration’s forthcoming immigration plan will focused on increasing the educational and skills requirements for people who are allowed to migrate to the United States and would scale back family-based immigration. Loose regulation of government websites allows executive agencies to weaken policies the executive branch opposes, such as the Affordable Care Act, which has been censored at least 26 times on HHS websites. The Trump Administration will not sign an international pledge to combat extremist content online, potentially because of First Amendment concerns. A new report from Paul C. Light outlines the ways that the House has investigated presidents since World War II, and gives an analysis of how Congress can conduct a meaningful probe into Presidential actions.

Karen Kadish

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | May 15, 2019

5/15/19  //  Daily Update

The Alabama Senate approved a measure that would outlaw abortion at all stages of pregnancy except in cases where the mother’s life is at serious risk; it awaits signature by Governor Kay Ivey. A new law will impose financial burdens on individuals convicted of felonies that make it harder for them to vote in Florida, despite the passing of Florida’s ballot initiative to restore voting rights to felons. Action from the FCC has continued to increase tensions between the United States and China following a unanimous vote to block China Mobile, and threatening public statements from President Trump. Donald Trump Jr. has agreed that he will appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee behind closed doors, following a fight between Republican lawmakers. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis claimed he was not allowed to say which two Florida counties were hacked by Russians in the 2016 election.

Jacob Miller

Harvard Law School