Daily Update | August 7, 2017
Civil rights groups are suing the State Department for refusing to process visa applications for winners of a federal visa lottery program from the countries included in President Trump’s travel ban. Lambda Legal reacts to reported guidance on the transgender military ban by saying "See you in court, President Trump." Betsy DeVos declined to answer a question about whether she would intervene if states offered vouchers to private schools that discriminated against LGBTQ students. The Trump administration issued a formal notice announcing the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris climate deal. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has asked the White House for documents related to Michael Flynn.
Daily Update | July 28, 2017
Pentagon officials have declined to reinstitute a ban on transgender troops serving in the military in the absence of formal policy guidelines. The DOJ has filed an amicus brief in the Second Circuit arguing that employers are not prohibited from discriminating against employees on the basis of sexual orientation. The Trump Administration has asked the Ninth Circuit to again limit immigrants who fall under the definition of a bona fide relationship for immigration purposes. Senate movement on a “Skinny Repeal” bill has prompted numerous analyses.
Daily Update | July 27, 2017
President Trump tweets a new prohibition on transgender individuals serving in the military. Congress pushes forward with a “skinny repeal” of the Affordable Care Act. And the Trump Administration attempts to pull federal funding from sanctuary cities.
Daily Update | June 14, 2017
196 Members of Congress have filed suit against President Trump for violating the Foreign Emoluments Clause. Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee concerning Russian interference, his own prior testimony, and the firing of FBI Director James Comey. President Trump announced his first set of U.S Attorney nominations. The Senate voted against blocking an arms sale to Saudi Arabia. And Congress is considering a bill to roll back the whistleblower protections of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act.
Yes, Hope is a Sufficient Basis for Obstruction of Justice
I reviewed all federal circuit courts of appeals cases, federal district court cases, and state supreme court cases for obstruction of justice cases involving a defendant’s use of language similar to “I hope” or “I’m hoping.” The results are in line with what we would expect if “hope” verbiage is uncontroversially and generally understood as implying direction.
Daily Update | June 13, 2017
The Ninth Circuit upheld an injunction of President Trump’s revised entry ban. Maryland and the District of Columbia filed lawsuits against President Trump alleging violations of the Emoluments Clauses. The Justice Department argued that federal courts cannot review the Administration’s approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. The Trump Administration will recommend limits for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Daily Update | June 7, 2017
President Trump's latest tweets about the Muslim Ban have drawn further analysis. A number of Twitter users have invoked to the First Amendment to demand that Trump unblock their accounts. An intelligence contractor has been charged in the first leak case under Trump. The Trump Administration is struggling to fill key positions—most notably FBI director. Former FBI Director James Comey reportedly asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions not to leave him alone in a room with the President. And facing Trump's fury over Russia, Sessions at one point reportedly floated his resignation to the President.
Daily Update | June 6, 2017
Yesterday, President Trump tweeted several times about the revised travel ban. Many experts concluded that these statements undermine critical parts of DOJ's legal position before the Supreme Court. Debate has ensued over whether this was deliberate or inadvertent. The Trump Organization announced plans for a new three-star hotel chain with “patriotic flair,” which will make its debut in Mississippi. Analysis continues of the President's revised contraception rule and decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. It has been reported that President Trump will not invoke executive privilege to try to block former FBI director James Comey’s testimony from testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee this Thursday.
Daily Update | May 26, 2017
The en banc Fourth Circuit largely upheld a nationwide injunction against the revised travel ban. The latest episode of Versus Trump covers transgender rights and a challenge to Trump's 2-for-1 executive order. Democrats have launched new efforts to protect the right to vote. President Trump met with NATO allies amid tensions and uncertainty. The Trump Organization has adopted a plan for foreign payments at hotels that fails to stop Foreign Emolument Clause violations. And it has been reported that the FBI is now investigating Jared Kushner's connections to Russia.
Daily Update | May 15, 2017
Discussion continues about the legal and political ramifications of the President's firing of FBI Director James Comey. Scholars and politicians debate whether the President may have obstructed justice, and whether we are now in the midst of a constitutional crisis. There has also been recent commentary about the President's so-called “election integrity” commission, among many other topics.
Daily Update | April 5, 2017
Department of Homeland Security agents plan to make unannounced visits to companies that rely heavily on H-1B visas. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has ordered a nationwide review of consent decrees implemented to address civil rights violations. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has confirmed that President Trump can withdraw money from his businesses at any time. Government officials have expressed concern about allegations that former National Security Advisor Susan Rice sought to identify surveilled Trump associates.
Daily Update | April 4, 2017
DOJ's brief defending the revised entry ban is flawed. VP Pence's policy of refusing to dine alone with women raises legal and ethical concerns. Notwithstanding a trust arrangement, President Trump can still access his assets, including his businesses, at will. Trump's deregulatory agenda has raised a host of legal challenges and may have grave national security implications. Trump has continued to deflect attention from the Russia inquiry by tweeting about President Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Daily Update | April 3, 2017
The Attorney General and Secretary of Homeland Security have criticized the California Chief Justice for objecting to federal immigration enforcement near state courthouses. President Trump's advisors have submitted financial disclosures that raise extensive conflict of interest concerns. Trump has signed two executive orders relating to international trade. Environmental groups have challenged Trump's approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline. A federal judge has ruled that a suit against President Trump for inciting violence at a campaign rally may proceed. And there have been new developments in the investigation surrounding Russia, Trump, and Michael Flynn.
Daily Update | March 23, 2017
As evidence of collusion between the Trump Campaign and Russia mounts, President Trump's allies have sought to deflect attention by denouncing leaks and the intelligence community. The Trump administration appealed one of the entry ban rulings. Experts have denounced the administration's use of data collection and reporting requirements to target immigrants and sanctuary cities. And President Trump's constant falsehoods are raising significant legal concerns.