Lark Turner  //  9/10/17  //  Topic Update


President Trump orders an end to DACA (NYTWaPoWSJ). 

  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ letter to the Department of Homeland Security recommending an end to DACA can be found here
  • President Trump’s legal justifications for ending DACA are fundamentally flawed, writes Leah Litman at Take Care. 
  • The President’s decision to end DACA likely violates the notice-and-comment requirement of the Administrative Procedure Act, notes Daniel Hemel at Take Care.
  • The decision to end DACA is at odds with the view of executive power in the Administration’s brief in the Travel Ban litigation, argues Michael Dorf at Take Care.
  • Lyle Denniston explains what is likely to happen to DACA in the immediate short term.
  • Nothing in the Constitution requires the President to end DACA, write Adam Cox and Cristina Rodriguez at Just Security. 
  • Allowing the Administration to use information from DACA to deport individuals would both be heartless and set a dangerous precedent, argues Rose Cuizon Villazor at The New York Times.
  • Ending DACA will fuel human smuggling and cause more illegal immigration from Central America, writes Rachel Kleinfeld at Just Security. 
  • Here’s what will happen when DACA permits expire, David Bier argues at the Cato Institute.
  • Immigrants shouldn’t have to be talented to be welcome, writes Masha Gessen at The New York Times.
  • DACA legislation is both an economic imperative and a humanitarian necessity, writes Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer of Microsoft, at ACSblog.
  • President Trump has endorsed a pathway to legal status for youthful immigrants, coupled with increased border security (LA Times).
  • Deporting ‘Dreamers’ would have a disproportionate impact on the health care and educational sector, where one fifth of Dreamers work (NYT).
  • Immigrant and native-born workers are not perfect substitutes, belying the White House’s claim that dreamers take jobs from Americans (WaPo).
  • The end of DACA has consequences for public school teachers in New York (NYT) and for military service members (WaPo).
  • Houses of worship and religious organizations could grant sanctuary to immigrants but doing so entails some risk, explains Ellen P. Aprill in her legal studies research paper.
  • Violent crime is at an all-time low and increasing legal immigration will help curtail violence even further, argues Rachel Kleinfeld on Just Security.
  • César Hernández on Crimmigration outlines the provisions of the Dream Act of 2017, a current Senate proposal.
  • Ending DACA is only one of many racist acts on the part of President Trump, writes Charles M. Blow at The New York Times.
  • Republican Congress members face a tough decision about what to support: a popular, flexible approach to minority communities or the Republican Party’s traditional nativist policies (LA Times).

Attorneys General from 15 states and the District of Columbia have sued over the Trump administration’s decision to rescind DACA (WaPoNYTimes).

  • The suits’ reliance on campaign statements could cause problems for travel-ban opponents (Politico).

President Trump tweeted that Congress has six months to legalize DACA or he will “revisit” the issue (NYTLA Times).

  • Denouncing DACA as illegal limits any ability to “revisit” the issue, argues Josh Blackman on his blog.

The Trump Administration’s definition of “close familial relationship” in the travel ban case is absurdwrites Sarah Mahmood at Take Care. 



Transgender soldiers and transgender people seeking to enlist sue the Trump Administration over the ban on transgender people serving in the military (The Hill). 

  • The complaint can be found here
  • Animus, not military readiness, explains President Trump’s ban, writes Scott Skinner-Thompson at Just Security.

Members of the President’s Election Commission led by Kris Kobach have been using personal email to communicate, in potential violation of the Presidential Records Act (The Hill).

A new bill in the House of Representatives would shift the burden of ADA compliance from businesses to the individuals being denied access, undermining the civil rights of people with disabilitieswrites Tyler Ray for the ACLU.

Eric Dreiband, President Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, faced stiff scrutiny from the Senate Judiciary Committee (FoxCNNNPR).

Lambda Legal has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case of Jameka Evans, seeking a nationwide ruling that sexual orientation discrimination violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Lambda Legal).

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos will rescind 2011 Title IX guidance relating to how schools should address sexual assault and harassment (Human Rights Campaign).



President Trump’s incendiary statements against the media may be purposeful and premeditated, argues David Kaye at Just Security.

DOJ has argued that Texas should be allowed to enforce its voter ID pending appeal, even though the Court found the law was intentionally discriminatory (Election Law Blog).

  • You can read the DOJ’s filing in the Fifth Circuit here.

President Trump shows signs of normalizing his presidency, argues Eric Posner on his blog.

A group of prominent politicians, including Senator John McCain of Arizona and Governor John Kasich of Ohio, have urged the Supreme Court to rule that partisan gerrymanders violate the Constitution (WaPo, NYT).

  • Rick Hasen on Election Law Blog has a full list with links to amicus briefs filed in support of the appellees.

A new Harvard study shows that voter identity theft constitutes a real threat to electronic voting systems (



North Korea conducted another nuclear test last weekend, drawing a U.S. warning of a “massive military response” (NYT).

  • The U.S. has grounds to state that Iran is violating the 2015 nuclear deal, according to U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley (Politico). 

The United States proposes stiffer United Nations sanctions against North Korea, including an embargo on the country’s oil and textile trade (WSJ).

  • China seems to support the U.N. adopting further sanctions against North Korea (Reuters).
  • Putin, on the other hand, opposes cutting off North Korea’s oil supply (NYT).
  • The Trump Administration should use legal tools such as criminal accountability as part of a comprehensive strategy for dealing with North Korea, writes the WSJ Editorial Board.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has rejected a U.S. proposal to cut off fuel supplies to North Korea, stating that sanctions would not deter North Korea’s nuclear testing (NYT).

AG Sessions is inconsistent and untruthful in his claims that violent crime is sweeping the nation (WaPo).

The civil-military divide is a temporary casualty of the Trump Administration, writes Ned Price at Just Security.

The Pentagon is expected to announce an increase of 3,500 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan (WaPo).

The Department of Homeland Security is reviewing a report that identifies a hacking effort targeting the U.S. energy sector (The Hill).

President Trump is increasingly using trade as a leverage point in matters of national security and foreign affairs (The Hill).

In most states, police body camera footage is not a matter of public record, and transparency varies widely from state to state (Ars Technica).

The United States sanctioned South Sudan officials for enriching themselves amid civil war and famine (WaPo).

Twitter will give a report of Russian activity to Congress (The Hill).

The House Homeland Security Committee advances a bill to protect United States ports from cyberattacks (The Hill).

The House Intelligence Committee interviewed former national security adviser Susan Rice behind closed doors regarding unmasking, the process by which officials can request to know the identity of Americans caught in U.S. surveillance (The Hill).

There must be judicial review of security clearance decisions to ensure that people are not losing their jobs because of their political viewpoints or discriminationwrites Heidi Gilchrist at Just Security.



On Saturday, September 23rd, Harvard Law School will host a one-day conference entitled “Populist Plutocrats: Lessons from Around the World,” which will focus on leaders who exploit anti-elite sentiment in order to gain power, but then use that power for profit (Take Care).

Donald Trump, Jr. will be paid $100,000 by the company of a major GOP donor to give a speech at a Texas University (WaPo).

Dozens of lobbyists, contractors, and others pay to join President Trump’s private golf clubs, giving them close access to the President (USA Today).



Fossil fuel industry officials will take key spots on a new Interior Department royalties committee (The Hill).

The EPA has changed its policy and placed a political appointee with little environmental policy experience in charge of approving grant applications (WaPo).

The Trump administration will not appeal a district court ruling blocking the Obama administration’s revised overtime pay rule (The Hill).

  • The administration should not rescind the rule, argues Sam Bagenstos at ACS Blog.

The Department of Education has terminated an agreement to cooperate with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on investigations of student loan fraud (The Hill).

Senate Democrats criticized a proposal by the FCC to redefine “broadband Internet” as including certain slower services (Ars Technica).

President Trump struck a deal with Democratic congressional leaders to avert a fiscal showdown over raising the budget ceiling and funding Hurricane Harvey relief (NYTWSJ).

  • President Trump confirmed to reporters that he suggested terminating the Congressional debt ceiling approval process in a meeting with Congressional leadership (Politico).
  • Congress should not raise the debt ceiling, but repeal itwrites Jack Balkin on his blog.

Congress must act to strengthen election cybersecuritywrites Michael Chertoff in The Wall Street Journal.

The Department of Education has now dissolved a 2016 arrangement under which the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau accepted federal student loan complaints (Consumer Finance Monitor).

The House of Representatives approved legislation designed to streamline rules governing self-driving cars, preempting state laws on the subject (Ars TechnicaThe Hill).

Stanley Fischer, vice chairman of the Federal Reserve, will step down in mid-October (NYT).

  • Fischer’s resignation marks the first time in the Fed’s history that the U.S. will have only three sitting Governors, a situation made more complicated by the “towering legislative agenda” before Congress, notes Peter Conti-Brown at Notice & Comment.

Disaster relief in the wake of Hurricane Harvey poses great risk for waste and fraud; Congress and the administration should insist on oversightwrites Nick Schwellenbach at POGO.

The EPA plans to submit its review of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan this fall, according to a court filing (The Hill).



DOJ says there is no evidence that President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower, despite President Trump’s earlier claims (Lawfare).

Increasing partisanship poses risks to American democracywrites Lee Drutman at Vox.

The task of interpreting the Equal Rights Amendment, should that amendment be ratified, will be made more difficult by the long time span between its proposal and ratificationwrites Gerard Magliocca at Concurring Opinions.

President Trump may be engaging in intimidating witnesses via his Twitter account, writes Hannah Ryan at Just Security.



President Trump submitted 16 nominations for the federal judiciary, including current deputy White House Counsel George Katsas (The Hill).

  • Senator Al Franken (D-MN) has announced he will not return a blue slip for Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras, President Trump’s nominee to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, setting up a potential showdown over the future of the blue slip process (Politico). Senator Franken’s statement on his decision is available here.
  • Despite an increasingly tumultuous relationship, President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are still working to reshape the federal judiciary, notes Joan Biskupic at CNN.
  • President Trump is set to remake the federal judiciary, putting that branch in serious jeopardywrites Lena Zwarensteyn at ACSblog. 
  • Lambda Legal and 27 other LGBT groups wrote to the Senate Judiciary Committee strongly opposing confirmation of Stephen Schwartz to the Court of Federal Claims, citing Schwartz’s history of undermining the rights of LGBT Americans (Lambda Legal).



If reports are true that Vice President Pence heard President Trump’s “screed” regarding former FBI Director James Comey’s handling of the Russian probe, then Pence may be in legal jeopardy for obstruction of justiceargues Jed Shugerman at Take Care.

Special Counsel Mueller is in possession of an early draft of a letter written by President Trump and an aide that explains the reasons for firing former FBI Director Comey (NYT).

Russian election hacking efforts have drawn little scrutiny from local, state, and federal officials (NYT).

  • In the event that President Trump pardons his associates to prevent their prosecution for involvement in Russian interference, state prosecutors have several means of prosecuting them, notes Jed Shugerman at Just Security.

The president likely cannot be named as an unindicted co-conspirator in an indictment resulting from the investigation into Russian interferenceargues James B. Jacobs at Just Security.

Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have proposed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would provide grants for state-level election security initiatives (Lawfare).

Facebook's ad sales team sold advertising to a “shadowy Russian company” ahead of the 2016 Presidential election, the company confirmed this week.

  • Most of the ads focused on divisive social issues such as race, gay rights, gun control, and immigration (NYT).

Donald Trump Jr. met with the Senate Judiciary Committee behind closed doors on Thursday (The Hill).

  • Trump Jr. told Senate Judiciary Committee investigators that his purpose in attending the June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower was to determine if Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya possessed information about Hillary Clinton’s fitness for office (NYT).
  • Special counsel Robert Mueller reportedly seeks to interview White House staffers regarding Donald Trump Jr.’s initial statement about the June 2016 meeting (The Hill).

The Senate Intelligence Committee interviewed former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice as part of its investigation into Russian interference (The Hill).

A former member of the CIA’s Senior Intelligence Service, John Sipher, examined the Steele dossier, concluding that its information on campaign collusion is generally credible despite some factual errors (Just Security).

FBI Director Christopher Wray stated that he has not seen any indications of Trump administration interference with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian involvement with the 2016 elections (WaPoThe Hill).

Updates | The Week of February 19, 2018

2/25/18  //  Daily Update

Special Counsel Robert Mueller filed a new charge against Paul Manafort while Richard Gates pled guilty. Meanwhile, President Trump's proposal to arm teachers drew controversy in Washington.

Jacob Miller

Harvard Law School

Updates | The Week of February 5, 2018

2/11/18  //  Daily Update

The Nunes memo set off aftershocks; agencies scrambled to implement the Trump Administration's policies to mixed effect; and Congress passes a budget after a brief overnight shutdown.

Updates | The Week of January 22, 2018

1/28/18  //  Daily Update

President Trump attempted to fire Special Counsel Mueller in June 2017 over his obstruction of justice probe, but refrained after White House Counsel Don McGahn threatened to quit.