Federal District Court Judge Andrew Hanen, who has jurisdiction over the DAPA/extended DACA amnesty case, concluded that Justice Department attorneys were “intentionally deceptive” and ordered them to take remedial ethics classes. Judge Hanen said Department of Justice lawyers knowingly hid information and misled the court concerning the approval of amnesty applications.
In November 2014 the Obama Administration established the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program and an extended version of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The programs offered three-year work permits to certain illegal aliens and “legal presence,” which formally stayed deportation for those already considered non-deportation priorities under Administration polices.
Shortly thereafter 26 states sued the Administration claiming the programs would impose “billions of dollars in costs.” The states also argued that President Obama exceeded his deferred action discretion, tread on Congress' power to write laws and violated the "Take Care Clause" of the U.S. Constitution. The case landed in Judge Hanen’s court.
In March 2015 Judge Hanen found there was sufficient merit in the states' challenge to warrant a temporary injunction. But in a subsequent court filing Justice Department attorneys informed Judge Hanen that 108,000 DACA program recipients received work permits prior to his injunction. Justice attorneys omitted that information under prior direct questioning by the judge. Then in May 2015 DOJ attorneys informed the judge that 2,000 work permits had been issued in direct violation of his injunction.
The Administration tried but failed to overturn the injunction in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, and eventually sought relief from the U.S. Supreme Court. But pending a ruling in the latter, the case technically remains in Judge Hanen’s hands. Not knowing whether he would see the case on a remand, Judge Hanen decided to address the DOJ attorneys' conduct now.
The following are excerpts from Judge Hanen's ruling.
“The (DOJ) has now admitted making statements that clearly did not match the facts. It has admitted that the lawyers who made these statements had knowledge of the truth when they made these misstatements…This Court would be remiss if it left such unseemly and unprofessional conduct unaddressed.
“While this Court does not hold the Department of Justice attorneys to a higher standard than it would attorneys practicing elsewhere, it would hope that the Justice Department, itself, would seek to maintain the highest ethical standards. The Justice Department purports to represent all Americans—not just those who are in favor of whatever actions the Department is seeking to prosecute or defend.
“Therefore, this Court, in an effort to ensure that all Justice Department attorneys who appear in the courts of the Plaintiff States…are aware of and comply with their ethical duties, hereby orders that any (DOJ) attorney…who appears, or seeks to appear, in a court...in any of the 26 Plaintiff States annually attend a legal ethics course…(and) the Attorney General is hereby ordered to report to this Court in sixty days with a comprehensive plan to prevent this unethical conduct from ever occurring again.”
Read more in The Washington Times.
Updated: Wed, Oct 11th 2017 @ 3:11pm EDT