Federal judge Andrew Hanen first clashed with the Obama administration over a year ago when he slammed DOJ lawyers for repeatedly giving him misleading information regarding Obama’s executive amnesty case.
At the time, he threatened to slap the DOJ with sanctions. He has now come out with his ruling – and it isn’t looking good for the sly and ethically-challenged DOJ lawyers.
The Washington Times reports,
In a scathing 28-page ruling, Judge Andrew S. Hanen said the lawyers knew the administration was approving amnesty applications but actively hid that information from the court and from the 26 states that had sued to stop the amnesty.
Judge Hanen thought about tossing all of the government’s arguments out, but said since the merits of the case are now pending before the Supreme Court, he couldn’t do that. He also thought about imposing a financial penalty on the government, but said since taxpayers would end up footing that bill, it seemed pointless.
“Therefore, this Court, in an effort to ensure that all Justice Department attorneys who appear in the courts of the Plaintiff States that have been harmed by this misconduct are aware of and comply with their ethical duties, hereby orders that any attorney employed at the Justice Department in Washington, D.C. who appears, or seeks to appear, in a court (state or federal) in any of the 26 Plaintiff States annually attend a legal ethics course,” Judge Hanen ordered.
It was a stunning rebuke for the department, which had admitted it gave wrong impressions to the judge, but said they were oversights or unintentional.
Judge Hanen, however, was having none of those explanations, concluding the lawyers were “intentionally deceptive.”
The case stems from Mr. Obama’s policy, announced in November 2014, to try to grant a proactive three-year stay of deportation, and legal work permits, to as many as 5 million illegal immigrants.
Texas led a large group of states in suing, arguing the proposal violated both federal law and overstepped the president’s constitutional powers.
Judge Hanen agreed, halting the amnesty just days before it was to begin accepting applications in February 2015.
But in the months between November and February, the Homeland Security Department had already begun approving three-year amnesties for so-called Dreamers, or young illegal immigrants who’d already qualified for two-year amnesties under a previous 2012 Obama policy. All told, more than 100,000 Dreamers’ applications were approved during that time.
The government lawyers said they didn’t think the Dreamers’ applications were an important part of the court case, arguing those should have been treated as a change to the 2012 policy, not part of the new 2014 policy.
They undercut their credibility, however, when several thousand more applications were approved in the weeks after Judge Hanen issued his February order halting the amnesty — something the government didn’t admit to until early March.
“The decision of the lawyers who apparently determined that these three-year renewals under the 2014 DHS Directive were not covered by the Plaintiff States’ pleadings was clearly unreasonable. The conduct of the lawyers who then covered up this decision was even worse,” Judge Hanen wrote.
The Outnumbered panel discusses the case in March of 2015: