Daily Update | February 19, 2019

2/19/19  //  Daily Update

Sixteen states sue to challenge the President’s authority to declare a national emergency to build the border wall. A lawsuit was filed by multiple civil rights organizations challenging the administration’s policy of sending asylum seekers back to Mexico while their cases are considered. The budget bill passed last week pushes back against some Trump Administration policies, but overall continues to expand the federal government’s immigration prison regime. President Trump stopped cost-sharing payments under the ACA, and Congress may end up liable to insurers for over $12 billion in missed payments. The First Circuit says the board appointed to oversee Puerto Rico’s finances was illegally constituted, and President Trump may have to appoint a new one.

Hetali Lodaya

Michigan Law School

Daily Update | February 18, 2019

2/18/19  //  Daily Update

Trump has declared a national emergency to fund the border wall. As a border wall becomes more likely, asylum seekers at the border are giving up hope. The Court will review the census citizenship question dispute this term. The Special Counsel's office filed its sentencing memo in Paul Manafort's case. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed a former employee of the data firm Cambridge Analytica. A district court ordered the Trump administration to halt the imminent discharge of HIV-positive airmen.

Kyle Skinner

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | February 15, 2019

2/15/19  //  Daily Update

President Trump is expected to sign Congress’ budget as well as declare a national emergency to obtain the remaining funds necessary for the construction of a southern border wall. A group of civil liberties organizations filed a lawsuit against the administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols policy, arguing it violates US immigration laws, the APA, and international human rights law. The Senate confirmed the nomination of William Barr as attorney general along partisan lines. If Congress tries to access the July 2018 Helsinki meeting notes, President Trump may be able to claim executive privilege, but that privilege is not absolute.

Mackenzie Walz

University of Michigan Law School

Daily Update | February 14, 2019

2/14/19  //  Daily Update

William Barr remains non-commital on whether the Mueller report will be made public. The district court judge rules that Paul Manafort lied while under the plea deal cooperation agreement. As the budget deal nears completion, Trump makes it clear that he wants to avoid a shutdown. The Supreme Court is likely to act on the census citizenship question this week. The ACLU argues that New Hampshire is unfairly targeting young voters to remove them from rolls ahead of 2021 election.

Kyle Skinner

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | February 13, 2019

2/13/19  //  Daily Update

Earthjustice released a report that highlights how the Trump administration's planned migrant detention center for unaccompanied children is slated to be placed on top of a former landfill which could have damaging effects on children’s health. The EPA rejected a ban on toxic chemicals that are known to cause serious health threats. The new head of the CFPB proposed getting rid of rules that have served to protect Americans from a predatory industry.

Abigail DeHart

Michigan Law School

Daily Update | February 12, 2019

2/12/19  //  Daily Update

Lawyers for the Trump Foundation argued that the New York attorney general's lawsuit against the organization should not move forward because of political bias. The House Veterans Affairs Committee opened an investigation into the role of three members of President Trump's Florida country club Mar-a-Lago in a digital health record contract and other VA business. The FBI’s International Human Rights Unit, a unit that handles war crimes, may be shut down. Even though Inspectors General play a key role as internal agency watchdogs that help promote accountability, there are 12 IG vacancies across federal agencies.

Abigail DeHart

Michigan Law School

Daily Update | February 11, 2019

2/11/19  //  Daily Update

Paul Manafort continued political work for Ukraine months after his indictment, and may have lied in the hopes of getting a pardon. The Supreme Court blocks a Louisiana abortion law from going into effect. Georgia voters suing for paper ballots win their appeal to the 11th Circuit. SCOTUS vacates a stay of execution for a man who wanted a Muslim chaplain at his side. 2018 was a record-low year for EPA enforcement. The legal challenge to Trump’s executive order requiring a “two-for-one” elimination of regulations continues to discovery. DHS unveils a new “Remain in Mexico” plan.

Kyle Skinner

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | February 8, 2019

2/8/19  //  Daily Update

After earlier saying he would not testify before Congress unless the subpoena threat were removed, Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said he would testify before the House Judiciary Committee. Federal investigators have given David Pecker, chief of the National Enquirer’s publisher, immunity to cooperate with the investigators. The HHS Office of Population Affairs removed content about birth control and related medicine from its Title X website. The FEC adjusted the individual contribution limit to $2,800 per person for the next election cycle. DOJ awarded $8.3 million to the victims of the Las Vegas shooting. President Trump is likely to sign an executive order banning Chinese telecom equipment next week. The Trump Administration relaxed rules for gun exports. The CFPB proposed new regulations on payday loan lenders that would rescind “ability-to-repay” provisions.

Zak Lutz

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | February 7, 2019

2/7/19  //  Daily Update

DOJ and DHS issued a report finding no evidence of foreign interference in the 2016 elections. Democrats are starting a series of investigations into the Trump administration. Federal prosecutors have looked into a foreign flow of money in Paul Manafort’s firms. The Supreme Court will review a certiorari petition about gun carry license policies and another about California’s ban on new pistol models. DOJ unsealed two “sweeping” indictments of Huawei, and opened an investigation into the Jeffrey Epstein sex offender case. T-Mobile executives hoping for approval of a merger booked more than 52 nights at Trump Hotel. The Education Department’s proposed regulation on Title IX harassment could transform campus harassment procedural protections.

Zak Lutz

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | February 6, 2019

2/6/19  //  Daily Update

New York federal prosecutors delivered a subpoena to Trump’s inaugural committee, requesting an array of documents related to the committee’s donations and spending. Two years later, President Trump’s Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement hotline is still being criticized as racist and anti-immigrant. The Trump Administration concluded there is no evidence that a foreign entity materially impacted US election systems during the 2018 election. Trade negotiations between the United States and the European Union are likely doomed as each side has made propositions the other finds unacceptable. President Trump will nominate senior Treasury Department official and World Bank critic, David Malpass, as President of the World Bank.

Mackenzie Walz

University of Michigan Law School

Daily Update | February 5, 2019

2/5/19  //  Daily Update

Prosecutors in the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York plan to subpoena President Trump’s inaugural committee. Rinat Akhmetshin—a Russian-born lobbyist and former Soviet military officer who attended the a Trump Tower meeting with senior Trump campaign officials in June 2016—received a series of suspicious payments in 2016. The Trump Organization has fired at least eighteen undocumented workers from five golf courses over the past two months, in part of a purge apparently set in motion after a series of media reports about the clubs’ employment of workers without legal status. Republican congressional leaders are increasingly concerned with the vast number of executive branch positions currently unfilled by a permanent officeholder. As we learn more about the process that led to the Trump Administration’s travel ban, its roots in anti-Muslim animus become clearer, as do the parallels between the Supreme Court’s decisions in Trump v. Hawaii and Korematsu.

Zachary Piaker

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | February 4, 2019

2/4/19  //  Daily Update

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is continuing to refuse to resign amid blackface controversy. President Trump’s reelection campaign spending rose sharply to $23 million in the last months of 2018, driven by rallies and advertising. Bans on LGBTQ “conversion therapy” for minors are now under threat. Mueller's team reportedly seized “voluminous and complex” evidence from Roger Stone in the investigation. President Trump taps Ronny Jackson to be his top medical adviser, despite an investigation into Jackson on allegations of mismanagement and misconduct. U.S. national parks are struggling with up to $11 million in revenue loss resulting from the government shutdown.

Hilary Robin Rosenthal

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | February 1, 2019

2/1/19  //  Daily Update

President Trump says he will let the Justice Department decide whether to release the report to be issued at the close of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. The Senate rebukes President Trump over troop withdrawals from Syria and Afghanistan. President Trump offers a pessimistic assessment of congressional negotiations over border security funding. Hundreds show up for immigration court hearings that turn out not to exist. President Trump pushes back against his own “naive” intelligence officials. The Trump Administration proposes big changes in how prescription drugs are priced.

Roshaan Wasim

Columbia Law School

Daily Update | January 31, 2019

1/31/19  //  Daily Update

Senator Lindsey Graham wrote a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray asking for FBI testimony on the arrest of Roger Stone. Democrats have offered an initial deal within the House and Senate that would give new customs officers and scanning technology to search cars and attempt to find opioids, but have not offered any funding for President Trump’s proposed border wall. President Trump met with with Mick Mulvaney, Jared Kushner and other officials to discuss potentially using emergency powers towards the border wall. Kansas lawmakers are seeking an amendment that would effectively ban abortion under state law, even if it would remain federally legal. President Trump called his intelligence officials “extremely passive and naive” on Iran after facing criticism over his administration’s policies in testimony before Congress. The Ninth Circuit upheld a terror-reporting tool used by the federal government, finding that the government did not need to show “reasonable suspicion” to share information about individuals potentially suspected of activity linked to terrorism.

Jacob Miller

Harvard Law School

Daily Update | January 30, 2019

1/30/19  //  Daily Update

Roger Stone, a longtime advisor to President Trump, pleaded not guilty to charges of obstruction, witness tampering, and making false statements. The Board of Immigration Appeals ruled that federal law, rather than state law, must be used to determine the immigration consequences of a criminal conviction. A planned Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation vote on the nomination of William Barr to be Attorney General has been postponed amidst concerns raised by several Democrats. By the end of this fiscal year, the “Muslim ban” will have prevented approximately 15,000 spouses and adopted minor children of U.S. citizens from reuniting. Concerned with the possibility that the Supreme Court may chip away at Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey in the coming months and years, New York enacted legislation to strengthen reproductive health protections in the state.

Zachary Piaker

Columbia Law School