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

Daily Update | April 26, 2019

4/26/19  //  Daily Update

House Democrats asked DHS for documents related to the recent series of firings and resignations at the department. A federal judge blocked a DHS “gag rule” that would strip Title X funding from health care providers that refer patients to an abortion provider. Advocacy groups sued the FEC for failing to act on alleged campaign finance violations by the NRA. House Democrats are considering various responses to the Trump administration’s refusal to cooperate with investigations. Russian agent Maria Butina will be sentenced in federal court on Friday. The Interior Department halted plans to expand offshore drilling to wait for the outcome of a legal case about similar drilling plans in the Arctic.

Nicandro Iannacci

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | April 25, 2019

4/25/19  //  Daily Update

Deutsche Bank has begun providing documents to the New York State Attorney General in response to a subpoena for records related to loans made to President Trump and the Trump Organization. ICE detention facilities routinely violate the religious rights of non-Christian detainees. The Supreme Court appears poised to hand the Trump Administration a victory in the litigation challenging the administration’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the Census. The Trump Administration has worked to water down a United Nations Security Council resolution aimed at “highlighting the harm of sexual violence in war, the needs of survivors, and the validity of accountability for such harm.” The Mueller report shows President Trump repeatedly directing subordinates to open criminal investigations of political rivals.

Zachary Piaker

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | April 24, 2019

4/24/19  //  Daily Update

The post-Mueller cold war between President Trump and House Democrats intensified on Tuesday, as the President indicated that he would fight any Congressional requests for additional information or testimony related to the Special Counsel’s investigation. The White House reportedly plans to invoke executive privilege to prevent former White House Counsel Donald McGahn from testifying before the House Judiciary Committee. After hearing oral argument in a challenge to the Commerce Department’s addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, the Supreme Court seems poised to rule in the Department’s favor. And the House sought a preliminary injunction to bar President Trump from using military funding to build a wall on the nation’s southern border.

Adam Smith

Harvard Law School

Kyle Skinner

Harvard Law School