Daily Update | May 23, 2019

5/23/19  //  Daily Update

President Trump cut a meeting with the Democratic leadership short, as a growing Democratic chorus calls for his impeachment. The federal judiciary continues to rule against the President’s attempts to shield his affairs from public scrutiny. His former and now-imprisoned personal counsel Michael Cohen remains under investigation. Momentum builds behind an effort to abolish the Electoral College by interstate compact.

Adam Smith

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | May 22, 2019

5/22/19  //  Daily Update

The power struggle between the Trump Administration and Congress continues: The Democratic House moves towards impeachment, while two federal judges reject the President’s assertions of privilege. The President will appoint Ken Cuccinelli, a former Virginia attorney general and vocal anti-immigration hardliner, as his new immigration czar.

Adam Smith

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | May 21, 2019

5/21/19  //  Daily Update

The White House instructed former counsel Donald McGahn to ignore a subpoena from House Democrats to testify on Tuesday morning, citing an OLC opinion. A federal judge in DC upheld a subpoena from House Democrats to accounting firm Mazars for President Trump’s financial records. ICE is detaining more than 52,000 immigrants in jails around the country, an apparent all-time record. Assisted reproductive technology may disrupt traditional ideas about maternity on which abortion law and discourse rests. President Trump said he currently sees no threatening actions from Iran, but that the U.S. “will have no choice” but to respond if that changes. The president’s stated preference for acting cabinet secretaries is bad governance and bad for national security. The EPA plans to change how it calculates the health risks of air pollution, resulting in fewer projected deaths from the rollback of the Clean Power Plan.

Nicandro Iannacci

Columbia Law School

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

Daily Update | May 14, 2019

5/14/19  //  Daily Update

President Trump hosted Hungarian President Viktor Orban and praised his authoritarian approach to leadership. China announced $60 billion in tariffs in retaliation against new tariffs imposed by the Trump administration. An initial U.S. assessment indicates that Iran is likely responsible for an attack on four oil-industry ships in the Strait of Hormuz on Sunday. Restore Public Trust filed a lawsuit against Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to force the disclosure of documents related to the decision to include a citizenship question on the 2020 Census. A former Trump campaign staffer asked a federal judge to expand her lawsuit over allegations of sexual misconduct and pay discrimination to include former staffer and White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman and others.

Nicandro Iannacci

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | May 10, 2019

5/10/19  //  Daily Update

President Trump and his businesses filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent two banks from responding to Congressional subpoenas. Since Donald Trump was elected in 2016, the number of immigrants who have applied for voluntary departure has significantly increased, doubling from 2017 to 2018. One year after the United States withdrew from the Iran Nuclear Deal, Iran announced that it will no longer follow two of its nuclear obligations. President Trump announced that he will nominate Pat Shanahan as Secretary of Defense. President Trump’s recent announcement of his intent to withdraw from the Arms Trade Treaty is just another step away from a shared world order and toward isolationism.

Mackenzie Walz

University of Michigan Law School

Daily Update | May 9, 2019

5/9/19  //  Daily Update

The House Judiciary Committee voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt for his failure to produce an unredacted version of the Mueller report for Congress. President Trump invoked executive privilege over the unredacted Mueller report. The State Department is challenging a district court decision regarding the citizenship of a same-sex couple’s child, arguing that a biological relationship with their citizen father is required for US citizenship. The Trump Administration is using an obscure waiver provision in the Social Security Act to impose eligibility hurdles on Medicaid beneficiaries, resulting in thousands of people losing health insurance coverage. Vice President Pence announced that the Trump administration is going to challenge district judges’ authority to issue nation-wide injunctions. Donald Trump, Jr. was subpoenaed by the Senate Intelligence Committee in connection with their Russia probe.

Hetali Lodaya

Michigan Law School

Karen Kadish

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | May 8, 2019

5/8/19  //  Daily Update

Mueller fought to keep Comey from releasing his memo on conversations with Trump, fearing it would allow Trump and others to change their stories. The House will vote tomorrow on whether to hold Barr in contempt for refusing to comply with their subpoena. Jared Kushner briefed senators on an immigration proposal that will set up a new merit-based system that would maintain the number of legal immigrants at current levels. Two federal district courts have recently struck down gerrymandered election maps. A near-decade of Trump’s financial failures has been uncovered through tax documents from 1985-1994.

Kyle Skinner

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | May 7, 2019

5/7/19  //  Daily Update

The House Judiciary Committee said it will vote Wednesday on whether to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for missing congress’s deadline to turn over an unredacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has refused to release President Trump’s tax returns, stating that the House’s request for the tax returns “lacks a legitimate legislative purpose.” New guidelines issued by the Trump administration explicitly criminalize humanitarian aid at the border, leaving humanitarian workers in the Southern United States at risk for incarceration. The Trump administration deployed the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier to the Middle East in response to unusually specific intelligence reports indicating that Iran planned to target U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria.

Karen Kadish

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | May 6, 2019

5/6/19  //  Daily Update

As Michael Cohen, his beleaguered former personal counsel, prepares to begin his three-year prison sentence on Monday, the President continued to fume over reports that Special Counsel Robert Mueller will soon testify before Congress. An Ohio federal district court struck down the state’s districting scheme as an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.

Adam Smith

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | May 3, 2019

5/3/19  //  Daily Update

The Department of Health and Human Services finalized a regulation making it easier for health care workers to refuse to provide services that violate their religious or moral beliefs. The ACLU filed a lawsuit against Attorney General Barr’s recent decision allowing ICE to detain asylum seekers awaiting their hearings without due process. The Pentagon released its annual report on civilian casualties in connection with US military operations, but the numbers reported are significantly lower than those reported by NGOs. The Trump Administration’s regulatory agenda has faced several challenges in court, losing at a historic rate. Congress’ review of the Mueller report and Barr’s handling of the report is focused largely on criminality, which may obscure other issues, such as national security risks and presidential expectations.

Mackenzie Walz

University of Michigan Law School

Daily Update | May 2, 2019

5/2/19  //  Daily Update

Trump wants to speed up asylum cases and start charging an application fee. A federal judge has declined to dismiss a suit alleging that Trump has violated the Emoluments Clause. Congress held its first hearing on the ERA in 36 years. AG Barr testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Mueller wrote in a letter to the AG that he was dissatisfied with the summary the AG provided to the public. The DOJ argues that Robert Stone should not receive an unredacted version of the Mueller Report in preparation for his trial.

Kyle Skinner

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | April 30, 2019

4/30/19  //  Daily Update

Rod Rosenstein, the oft-maligned Deputy Attorney General, has resigned. His now-former boss, Attorney General William Barr, is expected to face lengthy questioning from lawyers to the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday. Two controversial (and potentially unconstitutional) ICE enforcement tactics are drawing both public criticism and legal challenge. And FBI Director Christopher Bray warned of Russia’s plans to meddle in the 2020 Presidential contest.

Adam Smith

Harvard Law School