Eve Levin,  //  6/26/17  //  Daily Update

There is continued anticipation of the Supreme Court’s decision on President Trump’s revised travel ban. Senate Republicans have joined their House counterparts in proposing steep cuts to Medicaid, part of the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. A report reveals that President Obama authorized a covert hacking operation against key Russian networks in the last days of his presidency. And President Trump appeared to acknowledge on Friday that his earlier tweet hinting of taped conversations with James Comey was intended to influence his testimony before Congress.



President Trump floated the idea of a “solar” border wall at a campaign-style rally this week (Greentech Media).

Commentary continues in anticipation of the Supreme Court’s decision on President Trump’s revised travel ban.

  • Mark Sherman outlines possible outcomes for the Associated Press.
  • Josh Blackman also considers possible outcomes at Lawfare.

“The Mariel Cubans remain pawns in migration diplomacy, and the Trump administration is poised to punish them yet again”: Mark Dow argues for amnesty at The Hill.

The fight against the deportation of Minerva Cisneros Garcia, a resident of Winston-Salem for 17 years with no criminal history and a mixed-status family, has captured national attention (Rewire).

The Supreme Court’s decision in Maslenjak v. United States will make it harder for the government to strip Americans of their citizenship over trivial misrepresentations during naturalization proceedings (NYT).

  • The opinion is here.

A federal court in Michigan issued a 14-day stay of the deportation of over 100 Iraqis, many of whom are Chaldeans (Religion Clause).

  • The court’s opinion is here.

The Ninth Circuit held that an employer may be liable under the Fair Labor Standards Act for calling ICE on an undocumented employee as a form of retaliation (ImmigrationProf Blog).

  • The court’s opinion is here.



More than one hundred federal agencies have failed to report hate crimes to the FBI’s national database in violation of federal law, report A.C. Thompson and Ken Schwencke for ProPublica.

Delaying implementation of the policy allowing transgender people to enter the military “restricts the Armed Forces’ ability to recruit the best and the brightest,” argues Stephen Peters for the Human Rights Campaign.

The Human Rights Campaign is urging senators to reject the confirmation of two recent Trump judicial nominees, John Bush and Damien Schiff, for their lengthy anti-LGBTQ records.

The Department of Education must enforce Title IX to protect queer sexual assault survivors, writes Jordan Dashow for the Human Rights Campaign.



President Trump’s commission on voter fraud has yet to meet or make plans to do so, and the scope of its mandate remains unclear, observes Elizabeth Landers at CNN.

  • The commission appears to be “struggling to attract A-list talent,” writes Zachary Roth at Daily Democracy.

A report Friday revealed that in the last days of his presidency, President Obama authorized a covert hacking operation against key Russian networks (WaPo; Ars Technica).

Why are millions of voting-eligible citizens not registered to vote? This recently released Pew study begins to answer that question.

A magistrate judge fined the chair of Trump’s election fraud commission Kris Kobach for misleading a court in a voting-related lawsuit, but declined to order release of a memo Kobach prepared for the President (Politico; Election Law Blog).

  • Here is the order.

Several top fundraisers from Hillary Clinton’s campaign are now working as lobbyists on behalf of corporate interests to advance Trump’s legislative agenda, writes Lee Fang at the Intercept.



Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is increasingly isolated in the White House over differences of both style and substance, report David Sanger, Gardiner Harris, and Mark Landler at the New York Times.

President Trump’s proposed Pentagon budget prioritizes military might over humanitarian aid in Africa, writes Helene Cooper at the New York Times.

The United States must fund and pursue advanced missile defense development in light of the increasing threat from North Korea, argues the Wall Street Journal editorial board.

An extensive report by the Associated Press revealed horrific human rights abuses in secret prisons in Yemen, but the precise extent of US knowledge of or participation in the prisons remains unclear (AP).

  • In response, the ACLU has filed a FOIA request seeking information from the federal government about US military interrogations at the prisons.

The State Department is shuttering an Obama-era office dedicated to developing foreign policy strategies in Afghanistan and Pakistan (NYT; WaPo).

The President’s allies both inside and outside the administration are pushing the White House to consider pursuing regime change in Iran (Politico).

What should Senators ask Christopher Wray, President Trump’s pick for FBI Director, at his confirmation hearing? Sofia Resnick outlines six key questions for the nominee at Rewire.  

Recent sentencing data suggest federal judges may already be sentencing more harshly in the Trump era, notes Douglas Berman at Sentencing Law and Policy Blog.

Commentary continues on the US Navy’s downing of a Syrian fighter jet on June 18.

  • Was there a legal basis under jus ad bellum? Kinga Tibori-Szabo analyzes the application of collective self-defense  to the shootdown at Opinio Juris.
  • At Lawfare, Ryan Goodman considers whether the 2001 AUMF provides a domestic legal basis for the US government’s action.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo told MSNBC that the leaking of government secrets has “accelerated” and that “we need to redouble our efforts” to combat the phenomenon (The Hill).

The government recently released eighteen redacted FISA Court opinions, summarized by Chris Mirasola and Yishal Schwartz at Lawfare.

President Trump has appointed far more military leaders to civilian posts than his predecessors; Loren DeJonge Schulman and Amy Schafer analyze the likely effects of this move at Lawfare.

American Presidents have long struggled to appropriately communicate the nature of the threat of terrorism, and President Trump is even worse than his predecessors, writes Ned Price at Just Security.

Reports indicate that the House’s delay in considering the Iran and Russia sanctions bill is due to the Originations Clause of the Constitution; Ed Stein provides this primer on that unlikely culprit at Lawfare.

Recent comments by Sen. Chuck Grassley suggest a bipartisan coalition is still interested in federal sentencing reform, despite the “less reform-friendly administration” (Sentencing Law & Policy Blog).

Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ proposed new War on Crime won’t help combat nationwide violent crime and drug addiction problems, explains the ACLU’s David Cole.

  • Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates agrees in this Washington Post editorial titled “Making America Scared Again Won’t Make Us Safer.”

The DOJ filed a cert petition Friday in Microsoft v. United States, a case regarding the territorial limits of U.S. warrants (The Hill)

The TSA is testing a new policy that would require travelers to remove books and other paper goods from carry-ons, raising concerns over the privacy of reading material (ACLU).



As a matter of text, precedent, and policy, Congressmen have standing to sue to enforce the emoluments clause, argues Eric Segall for Take Care.



Former President Bill Clinton offered advice to U.S. mayors who plan to honor the Paris climate accords in the wake of President Trump's decision to pull the U.S. out of the agreement (The Hill).

Senate Republicans have joined their House counterparts in proposing steep cuts to Medicaid, part of the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act (NYT).

  • Unpacking the Senate's take on the repeal and replacement of the ACA, Timothy Jost and Sara Rosenbaum post for the Health Affairs Blog.
  • The Senate health plan falls short of Republicans' promise for cheaper health care, say experts (NYT).
  • The health debate shows what both parties care about most, argues Neil Irwin for The Upshot.
  • See how commentators from both the right and left have reacted to the Bill here.
  • The Better Care Reconciliation Act is troubling because it affords states the immense, hidden power to eliminate some of the ACA's most critical financial protections, argues Nicholas Bagley for Vox.
  • Planned Parenthood is mobilizing furiously to bring down the Republicans' broader legislation to repeal the ACA before it reaches President Trump's desk (NYT).
  • The New York Times explains how Medicaid works and who it covers.

The Los Angeles City Attorney, Mike Feuer, describes why losing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which House Republicans have acted to eviscerate, would be misguided (LA Daily News).

The White House shows no signs of reopening Paris talks, reports Andrew Restuccia for Politico.

The EPA's internal watchdog wants it to better manage the ways it uses technology to help test the safety of chemicals (The Hill).

The Trump Administration wants to exclude the shipbuilding and construction industries from an Obama-era rule to reduce workers' exposure to a toxic material that can cause a deadly lung disease (The Hill).

President Trump signed a bill into law on Friday that will make it easier for the Department of Veterans Affairs to remove bad employees and promote whistle-blowing, explain Maggie Habermas and Nicholas Fandos for the NYT.



We need a coordinated approach to election security, argues Matthew V. Masterson for The Hill.

President Trump is in the perfect position to dramatically remake the courts, explain Jennifer Bendery and Alissa Scheller for the Huffington Post.



The FBI is investigating financial transactions involving Paul Manafort and his son-in-law in connection with the Russia investigation (NYT)

President Trump's deflections and denials on Russia have frustrated even his allies, argues Maggie Haberman for the NYT.

President Trump appeared to acknowledge on Friday that his earlier tweet hinting of taped conversations with James Comey was intended to influence his testimony before Congress (NYT).

President Trump and Kellyanne Conway said in interviews that President Obama failed in his response to Russian meddling in the 2016 election (WaPo).

Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Trey Gowdy, told reporters that he would not probe matters related to the alleged Russian interference in the Presidential Campaign, leaving it more squarely under the purview of special counsel Robert Mueller (WaPo).


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