White House sources say that President Trump is planning to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s proposed budget for the Department of Justice says nothing about prosecuting illegal use of force by police officers. Jared Kushner’s company used a federal loan program intended to subsidize low-income housing to build a luxury residential building. Congress is investigating whether Jeff Sessions, who falsely testified before the Senate that he “did not have communications with the Russians,” may have had an additional private meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. And Jim Comey, former Director of the FBI, will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee as early as next week.
Although courts should be wary of giving legal force to political statements, they should consider giving force to presidential speech where it “supplies evidence of intent or purpose of established legal relevance—for example, when assessing a claim of religious discrimination,” argues Kate Shaw in a New York Times op-ed.
A burden-shifting mechanism such as applying heightened scrutiny to subsequent enactments of the policy is one way to doctrinally define a “cure” where there has been a finding of unconstitutional intent, argues Joseph Blocher on Take Care.
Judge Stephen Reinhardt’s concurring opinion in Magana Ortiz v. Holder, a deportation case, took “extraordinary courage, heart, and insight” and “should be read wide and far,” argues Joshua Matz on Take Care.
New York City Council Members and advocates are urging Mayor Bill de Blasio to halt proposed restrictions on funding for indigent immigrants facing deportation (NYT).
A federal district court has ruled that transgender rights are protected under the Americans With Disabilities Act (Rewire).
As President Trump fails to condemn violence against gay and bisexual men in Chechnya, newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron raised the issue in his first meeting with President Putin (Human Rights Campaign).
A proposed rule by the Trump administration would undermine the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit (Rewire).
Framing abortion as an economic issue is both ineffective and unhelpful to the other economic justice issues Democrats seek to advance, argue Anat Shenker-Osorio & Sharon Rose Goldtzvik (Rewire).
The Trump era has ushered in a sharp rise in hate-motivated violence in Portland, Oregon, often see as a progressive haven, argue Leah Sottile and Lindsey Bever (WaPo).
Texas officials in counties with large non-citizen populations have seen no evidence of voter fraud in the 2016 election, despite Trump’s persistent claims to the contrary (Texas Monthly).
JUSTICE & SAFETY
Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s proposed budget for the Justice Department signals his intention to forego civil rights enforcement by omitting any commitment to prosecuting police officers for illegal use of force (Rewire).
Several groups have written to the DOJ Inspector General urging an investigation into possible misconduct by senior DOJ officials related to the firing of former FBI Director James Comey (Brennan Center for Justice).
The D.C. Circuit recently struck down FAA drone regulations, leaving the future of drone regulation in flux, argue Russell Spivak and Ashley Deeks (Lawfare).
Compare the Trump administration’s use of economic sanctions against foreign countries to those of past administrations using a new data visualization tool available on Lawfare.
To finally settle the jurisdictional bounds of the military commissions, The Supreme Court should grant certiorari in two Guantanamo appeals, argues Steve Vladeck (Just Security).
Hassan Rouhani’s election victory in Iran is unlikely to strengthen the leader, but the Trump administration should not be dismissive of the result and should heed Rouhani’s message about the benefits of direct negotiation with the regime, argues Suzanne Maloney (Lawfare).
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
Documents acquired through a public records request provide an early indication of how the Department of Justice under President Trump will handle conflicts of interest, Zoe Tillman writes on Buzzfeed.
Jared Kushner’s company used a federal loan program intended to subsidize low-income housing to build a luxury residential building, reports Shawn Boburg in The Washington Post.
Under Administrator Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency has become significantly less accessible to journalists, argues Emily Atkin in the New Republic.
The Environmental Protection Agency has announced a 90-day delay of an Obama-era regulation on methane emissions from oil and gas drilling (The Hill).
Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin suggested that he is open to permitting the use of medical marijuana in VA facilities, which may conflict with Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ expressed intent to crack down on medical marijuana (The Hill).
The Federal Communication Commission’s plans to reverse Obama-era “net neutrality” regulations may jeopardize developments in medical technology such as telemedicine and electronic health records, argue Mark Gaynor, Leslie Lenert, Kristin Wilson, and Scott Bradner in HealthAffairs Blog.
The Trump administration is considering reviving the controversial proposal to construct a nuclear waste storage facility at Yucca Mountain, Nevada (The Seeker).
RULE OF LAW
Vice President Mike Pence’s advice to “follow the chain of command without exception” during his commencement speech at the U.S. Naval Academy raises ethical and legal concerns, argues Benjamin Haas at Just Security.
Maura Dolan documents how Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, has responded to the challenges posed by the Trump administration, in the Los Angeles Times.
The House Intelligence Committee has issued seven subpoenas as part of its investigation into Russian interference, including to former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and to Trump attorney Michael Cohen. The committee also subpoenaed former Obama administration officials as part of its investigation into allegedly improper “unmasking” (CNN, The Hill, Wall Street Journal).
Congress is investigating whether Jeff Sessions may have had an additional private meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak (CNN).
Former FBI director James Comey will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee regarding his conversations with President Trump about the Russia investigation as early as next week (CNN, WaPo).
In The Hill, former Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) argues that Congress must continue its investigation into Russian interference, despite the appointment of a special counsel.
The Trump administration is moving to return to Russia two diplomatic compounds that the Obama administration took control of in response to Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election (WaPo).