Lawless: Three Federal Judges Slam Obama Administration’s Noncompliance
A string of federal judges have been angrily slamming their gavels this month, incensed over a similar issue they’re encountering. See if you can spot the trend, with a hat tip to Gabriel Malor. On the president’s legally-dubious, unpopular immigration fiat:
A federal judge up in arms about non-compliance with a court order blocking President Barack Obama’s recent executive actions on immigration is demanding that Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and four other top immigration enforcement officials appear in a Brownsville, Texas, courtroom next month to explain why they should not be held in contempt of court. U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen issued an order Tuesday afternoon requring the five officials to show up for a hearing Aug. 19. However, the judge also said he would cancel the session if he’s “satisifed” with the government’s actions to limit or revoke 2,000 three-year work permits it issued to illegal immigrants after Hanen issued an injunction that limited new permits to a two-year duration. “This Court has expressed its willingness to believe that these actions were accidental and not done purposefully to violate this Court’s order. Nevertheless, it is shocked and surprised at the cavalier attitude the Government has taken with regard to its ‘efforts’ to rectify this situation,” Hanen wrote. “The Government has conceded that it has directly violated this Court’s Order in [the government’s] May 7, 2015 advisory, yet, as of today, two months have passed since the Advisory and it has not remediated its own violative behavior. That is unacceptable and, as far as the Government’s attorneys are concerned, completely unprofessional,” the judge added in his order (posted here). “Neither side should interpret this Court’s personal preference to not sanction lawyers or parties as an indication that it will merely acquiesce to a party’s unlawful conduct.”
A federal judge threatened to hold IRS Commissioner John Koskinen in contempt Wednesday after the IRS failed to produce, as ordered, newly recovered emails of former IRS official Lois Lerner. U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan had ordered the IRS on July 1 to turn over Lerner emails on a weekly basis in response to a lawsuit by the watchdog group Judicial Watch…At a U.S. District Court hearing in Washington Wednesday, Sullivan threatened to hold officials, including Koskinen, in contempt for not producing the documents as ordered every Monday. “If there is further noncompliance, I will haul into court the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service to show cause why that person should not be personally held in contempt of court. I can’t make that any clearer,” the judge told Geoffrey Klimas, the Justice Department attorney representing the IRS, according to the minutes published on Judicial Watch’s website. The judge dismissed the reasons provided by the IRS and the DOJ for not producing the documents, at one point saying, “I think the government’s position is clearly indefensible. It’s ridiculous. It’s absurd…”
Judge Sullivan is a Clinton appointee, by the way. And on the Obama State Department’s noncompliance on the court-ordered timely release of Hillary Clinton’s emails — at least the ones that weren’t permanently deleted:
An irritated federal judge Thursday put the Hillary Clinton email scandal into stark terms, grilling the State Department on a pattern of delayed document releases that has turned a possible bureaucratic logjam into a major problem for the leading Democratic presidential contender. U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon, known for his blunt manner, said he simply did not understand why the State Department has dragged its feet on responses for emails in requests to the Freedom of Information Act. “Now, any person should be able to review that in one day — one day,” the judge said, examining a request for just over 60 emails. “Even the least ambitious bureaucrat could do this.” Leon articulated what has been a major concern of State Department critics who contend that the agency is dragging out responses to FOIA requests to protect Clinton, who served as secretary of state during President Barack Obama’s first term…More Clinton emails are expected to be released Friday under a court-ordered process that has underscored Leon’s unhappiness. And in a twist, State also revealed holes in its own federal record as officials said they were still awaiting some work-related emails from Clinton’s top department brass, including Huma Abedin, Jake Sullivan and Cheryl Mills. One of them, Clinton’s former spokesman, Philippe Reines, for example, on Tuesday turned over 20 boxes of work-related emails taken in part from a personal email account, calling into question the extent to which top aides to the former secretary of state also engaged in controversial email practices.
That last bit further undermines Hillary Clinton’s tale about how and why “all” of her work-related emails are preserved for the record, a claim that has been proven false by evidence. Former Attorney General Eric Holder was held in contempt of Congress over his unresponsive stonewalling on the ‘Fast and Furious’ federal gunrunning scandal. Holder also appeared to have perjured himself before Congress regarding the Justice Department’s wiretapping of journalists. Republicans have also sued the president over unilateral Obamacare changes, EPA regulations (successfully), and illegal recess appointments (successfully). The Obama administration does not believe the rules apply to them. I’ll leave you with Obama’s remarks on the first day of his presidency, vowing that “transparency and the rule of law” would be “touchstones” of his administration.