The Texas Attorney General has accused Department of Justice (DOJ) lawyers of committing a “brazen disregard for a legal order” in the case filed against President Obama’s executive amnesty plan. This comes after a judge issued government lawyers a scathing written rebuke and ordered the Federal Government to produce documents showing who was responsible for making misrepresentations to the Court during the litigation.
The rebuke was directed at the representatives of the DOJ and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Breitbart Texas reported in early April that Judge Andrew Hanen in Brownsville, Texas, sternly reprimanded federal government lawyers and the DHS for making misrepresentations during the executive amnesty lawsuit. The judge ordered the federal government to produce documents by April 21st showing who was responsible for making those misrepresentations.
He also warned the government against destroying any evidence of who made the representations.
The government later received an extension of April 30th to comply.
Judge Hanen is the federal district judge who denied the U.S. Government’s request to remove the block of Obama’s amnesty plan after he issued an injunction to stop the President’s executive amnesty program.
In a statement obtained by the Texas Attorney General, Attorney General Ken Paxton stated:
In its most recent filing, not only does the Obama Administration deny the coalition of 26 suing states the opportunity to review documents about how the DOJ misrepresented the early implementation of its executive amnesty program, it also suggests that the judge himself should not review those documents. Regardless, we will continue to fight for the rule of law by asking the district court to carefully review the administration’s withheld documents and hold the DOJ accountable so they provide reliable information about this case, both to the court and to the states.
Texas and 25 other states had filed a motion asking for early discovery and launching accusations that federal lawyers and DHS officials had made misrepresentations to the Court. The misrepresentations related to executive actions by the Obama Administration in extending the period of work permits and quasi-legal status granted to individuals under the President’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). The period was raised from two to three years.
Federal government lawyers filed a “Defendant’s Advisory” on March 3rd updating the judge on the action of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) relative to the granting of DACA applications.
The judge wrote “the Court is extremely troubled by the multiple representations made by the Government’s counsel―both in writing and orally―that no action would be taken pursuant to the 2014 DHS Directive until February 18, 2015.” He stated it was clear “that the States were seeking to enjoin ‘the series of executive actions that were taken on November 20, 2014,’ which would obviously include the revision to DACA increasing DACA’s term from two to three years, effective November 24, 2015 (as expressly provided for in the 2014 DHS Directive).”
He found that “Whether by ignorance, omission, purposeful misdirection, or because they were misled by their clients, the attorneys for the Government misrepresented the facts.”
Judge Hanen warned the Government writing “This Court expects all parties, including the Government of the United States, to act in a forthright manner and not hide behind deceptive representations and half-truths.”
The Court cited the professional rules which govern the conduct of lawyers regarding making misrepresentations, half-truths, omissions, and failing to correct misstatements.
The Judge wrote in his 15-page opinion that while the Government’s misconduct could be used to strike the Government’s pleadings, he would refrain to do so.
He reasoned that “the issues at stake here have national significance and deserve to be fully considered on the merits by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and, in all probability, the Supreme Court of the United States. … Such a ruling would not only penalize those with an interest in the outcome, but would more importantly penalize the country, which needs and deserves a resolution on the merits.”
Judge Hanen partially granted the State’s requested discovery and ordered the Government to file:
- any and all drafts of the Advisory;
- the metadata showing when each draft was written and/or edited or revised;
- a list of each person who knew about the Advisory, or the DHS activity discussed in the Advisory;
- anyone who reviewed the Advisory and the date and time individuals were apprised of its contents, or of the DHS activity.
The Judge also warned the Government against destroying or erasing any of this evidence.
Judge Hanen held that any document claimed to be privileged could be reviewed in camera (“in chambers”).
The response to the filing of the DOJ by the Office of the Texas Attorney General is due May 11th.
Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2