DOJ Says Federal Judge Exceeded His Authority by Issuing Sanctions in Immigration Lawsuit

Loretta Lynch via screengrab The Justice Department filed a motion in response to an absolutely blistering sanctions order handed down two weeks ago by a federal judge in Texas.  The judge accused DOJ lawyers of knowingly making multiple misrepresentations in a lawsuit over Obama’s 2014 immigration directive. In its motion to stay filed on Tuesday, DOJ is essentially asking the judge to postpone his sanctions order, pending an appeal.

Earlier this month, U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen sanctioned the Justice Department in D.C. after finding DOJ attorneys arguing on behalf of President Obama’s immigration executive action knowingly misled the Court and opposing counsel.  Specifically, Hanen found the DOJ attorneys knew the Obama Administration had already implemented its new immigration directive and began processing approximately 108,000 three-year deferred renewals, but “for whatever reason Justice Department trial lawyers appearing in this court chose not to tell the truth.”

Judge Hanen then ordered that any D.C. based DOJ attorney who “appears, or seeks to appear, in a court (state or federal) in any of the 26 [states challenging the immigration executive action]  annually attend a [3-hour] legal ethics course.”  The special ethics program is mandatory for the next five-years.  Attorney General Loretta Lynch was also ordered to develop “a comprehensive plan to prevent this unethical conduct from ever occurring again.” Judge Hanen further ordered the DOJ to provide the Court with a list of the approximately 108,000 individuals that prematurely received benefits under the new immigration executive action.

The Department of Justice filed its response on Tuesday, asking Judge Hanen to stay the imposition of his sanctions order pending further review — by an appellate court.  The DOJ argues Judge Hanen’s sanctions “far exceed the bounds of appropriate remedies” and states his conclusion that intentional misrepresentations were made “lacks sufficient evidentiary support.”

“The Court found that certain representations made to it in this case were made in bad faith or with intent to deceive. We respectfully but emphatically disagree with that conclusion. It is wrong, and made worse by (and perhaps explained by) the absence of the required fair process for the Department and its attorneys,” the motion states.


Department of Justice Motion to Stay Sanctions Order

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