Public Law, Policy, and Public Administration

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What's New?

Federal District Court Dismisses Challenge to Texas Medical Center COVID-19 Immunization Requirement
June 14, 2021. Judge Lynn N. Hughes of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas has dismissed a challenge brought by employees of the Houston Methodist Hospital and Houston Methodist The Woodlands Hospital who sought to overturn their employers' requirement that they receive vaccination against COVID-19. Judge Hughes rejected as "false" the claim that the vaccines are "experimental and dangerous." Bridges v. Houston Methodist Hospital, Order on Dismissal, at 1. The judge also rejected Bridges' claim that "the injection requirement violates public policy." Judge Hughes responded that: "The U.S. Supreme has held that (a) involuntary quarantine for contagious diseases and (b) state imposed requirements of mandatory vaccination do not violate due process." Id. at 2.
   Read the Order on Dismissal.

Biden Administration Releases FY 2022 Budget Materials
May 28, 2021. The White House released the President's budget request for FY 2022 today. The Office of Management and Budget released the the budget proposal and the "fact sheets," . . . . other key documents include the "Major Savings and Reforms for FY 2022" document, the "Analytic Perspectives" document which provides the economic and policy assumptions behind the budget, and the "Appendix" which is the document that contains the very detailed information on agency budgets and funds. Those materials have now been released and all of the key budget documents are posted below.
   Download the FY 2022 Budget proposal as a single .pdf document, including the President's Message to Accompany the FY 2022 Budget.
   Download the FY 2022 Budget Facts Sheet.
   Access the FY2022 Budget Appendix -- All detailed information about agencies and funds.
   Access the FY 2022 Budget Analytic Perspectives document (economic and budget assumptions).
   Access the FY 2022 Federal Credit Supplement (information on direct loans and loan guarantees by the Federal Government.
   Access the FY 2022 Supplemental Materials website, including Federal Credit Supplement and other items.
   Access the U.S. Department of Education, Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Summary and Background Information.
   Access the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Fiscal Year 2022 Budget-in-Brief.
   Access the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Fiscal Year 2022 Budget-in-Brief.

Under Court Order the U.S. Justice Department Releases Part of 2019 Memo on Whether to Prosecute then President Trump Following Special Counsel Report, but Appeal is Pending as to the Full Document
May 25, 2021. Purusant to a federal district court ruling by Judge Amy Berman Jackson, the U.S. Department of Justice released yesterday portions of a March 24, 2019 memorandum to the Attorney General concerning whether a prosecution of then President Trump was warranted following the Special Counsel's report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. However, the Justice Department is pursuing appeals with respect to the ruling that rejected DOJ claims that the document was exempt from disclosure under exemption 5 of the Freedom of Information Act. As Judge Berman Jackson indicated, Exemption 5 of the FOIA "bars disclosure of 'inter-agency or intra-agency memorandums or letters that would not be available by law to a party other than an agency in litigation with the agency.' 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(5)." Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) v. U.S. Department of Justice, Case 1:19-cv-01552-ABJ, May 3, 2021, Memorandum Opinion at 10. AND ETHICS IN WASHINGTON
   Read the District Court Memorandum Opinion of May 3.
   Read the Redacted Memo as Released on May 24, 2021.

Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Mississippi Abortion Case
May 18, 2021. The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday granted certiorari in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, No. 19-1392, to review the decision of the Fifth Circuit striking down a new Mississippi statute dramatically limiting a woman's right to obtain an abortion, a statute intentionally created in order to encourage the Court to reconsider its rulings in the Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992). In its order granting certiorari, the Court indicated that its review would be "limited to Question 1 presented by the petition." That issue is "Whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional." Petitioner for Certiorari at (i).
   The case has already attracted many amicus curiae briefs and will certainly have a great many more as the case moves to a hearing on the merits in the fall. The Supreme Court docket sheet with links to all filings in the case is posted below.
   Read the Court's order granting certiorari "limited to Question 1 presented by the petition."
   Read the Petition for Certiorari.
   Read the Brief in Opposition to the Petition for Certiorari.
   Read Mississippi House Bill No. 1510 of December 2018, the Statute Challenged in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization.
   Read the Fifth Circuit Opinion in Jackson Women's Health Organization v. Dobbs of December 13, 2019, Now Under Challenge in the U.S. Supreme Court.
   Access the Supreme Court Docket Sheet for Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, No. 19-1392.

EPA Moves to Rescind Trump Administration EPA Rule on Cost/Benefit Calculations for Clear Air Regulation
May 13, 2021. The Environmental Protection Agency today announced that it was taking action to rescind the Trump administration's rule changing cost/benefit calculations for policies issued under the Clean Air Act that made it substantially more difficult to justify regulation. For more information and the key documents, see the Sustainable Development page of this website.

President Biden Executive Order Mandating $15 Minimum Wage for Federal Contractor Employees
April 27, 2021. President Biden issued Executive Order to "increasing the hourly minimum wage paid by the parties that contract with the Federal Government to $15.00 for those workers working on or in connection with a Federal Government contract."
   Read the Order.

Biden Administration Hosts Leaders Virtual Summit on Climate
April 25, 2021. President Biden, together with the Vice President, Secretary of State, and the Special Envoy on Climate, hosted a two-day virtual summit on climate this week. The summit sought to have leaders from a variety of nations around the world dedicate themselves to new and more aggressive targets [(Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)] under the Paris Climate Accords ahead of the COP 26 conference to be held in Glasgow on November 1-12. In addition, the summit focused on the need for commitments needed to ensure effective implementation of those targets, including financing. For the U.S. the President promised that the U.S. will cut carbon emissions in half by 2030 and to be "net neutral" by 2050 in the global effort to stay within the global warming target of 1.5° Celsius. However, although he recognized that the largest economies have a special obligation to take serious action, he also pointed out that the U.S. is responsible for 15% of global carbon emissions.

White House Releases a Preliminary Version of the President's FY 2022 Budget
April 11, 2021. The White House has released what the Biden administration has termed the "President's Fiscal Year 2022 Discretionary Funding Request." Normally, the President's budget is released in February, but in the past few years that has varied significantly. It is not unusual for an incoming president to issue budget materials later than normal, particularly where there are major changes from a previous administration's expectations. In this instance, the White House has issued the basic budget request, which states the administration's goals and expectations in broad terms, as compared to the fully developed budget.
   In releasing this document, the Biden White House Office of Management and Budget indicated that the administration would issue the full budget documentation "later this spring." Those materials will be posted here as soon as they are available. Those materials usually include a "Major Savings and Reforms for FY 20__" document, the "Analytic Perspectives" document, which provides the economic and policy assumptions behind the budget, and the "Appendix," which is the document that contains the very detailed information on agency budgets and funds. There is also usually a "fact sheet" which summarizes broad major spending changes agency-by-agency.
   It is also normal for executive branch agencies to issue what are generally called budget-in-brief documents, which detail program-by-program spending changes, immediately after the full formal presentation of the budget documents by OMB. The budget-in-brief documents for the Departments of HHS, Education, and EPA will be posted here once they are available.
   The President's Budget and related documents for previous years are available online. See the posting below.
   Read the "President's Fiscal Year 2022 Discretionary Funding Request."
   Read the White House Press Release to Accompany the "President's Fiscal Year 2022 Discretionary Funding Request."
   Access Budget Documents for Previous Years.

New Treasury Secretary Issues Financial Report of the United States Government
April 12, 2021. Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen has released the Financial Report of the United States for FY20. The department publishes the report annually. The Government Accountability Office publishes a guide to understanding the financial report and the Congressional Research Service has provided a brief "primer" on "Federal Financial Reporting." The CRS published a more fully developed report on the subject in 2013 which remains a useful resource yet today.
   Read the FY 2020 Report.
   Access the Financial Report of the U.S. Government website
   Access the GAO Guide to the Financial Report
   Read the Congressional Research Service's Report, "Federal Financial Reporting" Federal Financial and Budgetary Reporting: A Primer," 2020
   Read the Congressional Research Service's Report, "Federal Financial Reporting" (A 2013 report, but still a useful resource.)

Biden-Harris Administration Announces Actions to Address Gun Violence, but Relies on Executive Departments Rather than Executive Orders or Memoranda
April 8, 2021. President Biden and Vice-President Harris yesterday announced policy actions to address gun violence, but notably did not, at this point at least, indicate any intention to use executive orders or presidential memoranda to do that work. The White House issued two "Fact Sheets" laying out the administration's proposed steps to address gun violence in addition to his previous requests to Congress to enact legislation in that area. The two documents were (1) "Fact Sheet: Biden-Harris Administration Announces Initial Actions to Address the Gun Violence Public Health Epidemic" and (2) "Fact Sheet: More Details on the Biden-Harris Administration's Investments in Community Violence Interventions." In addition to the discussion of the legislative proposals, the two fact sheets address planned actions by the Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Education.
   Read the "Fact Sheet: Biden-Harris Administration Announces Initial Actions to Address the Gun Violence Public Health Epidemic."
   Read the "Fact Sheet: More Details on the Biden-Harris Administration's Investments in Community Violence Interventions."

New Mexico Passes New Civil Rights Act Addressing Qualified Immunity Issues
April 8, 2021. New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has signed HB 4, the New Mexico Civil Rights Act, into law this week, barring state or local officals from using the qualified immunity defense in any suit brought under this state statute. This bill was enacted at the 2021 special session of the legislature following a report issued in November of 2020 by the New Mexico Civil Rights Commission, a body created by the legislature and governor in the summer of 2020 following the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota. For more information and key documents, see the Civil Rights page of this website.

Biden Administration Releases Fact Sheet on Its Major Infrastructure and Jobs Package
March 31, 2021. The Biden administration today released a fact sheet laying out the major elements of what it terms "The American Jobs Plan," which has an an important core the major infrastructure package the president had promised before taking office. It also contains other provisions aimed specifically at labor related issues.
   Access the Fact Sheet.

GAO Issues a New Program Evaluation Key Terms and Concepts Resource
March 22, 2021. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a new document, Program Evaluation: Key Terms and Concepts. As GAO notes: "This product updates our previous glossary (GAO-11-646SP) to highlight different types of evaluations for answering questions about program performance, as well as relevant issues to ensure study quality. As agencies identify the key questions they will address in their Evidence-Building Plans (Learning Agendas) and Annual Evaluation Plans, they may consult guidance provided by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). This glossary can help agency officials better understand fundamental concepts related to evaluation and enhance their evidence-building capacity."
   Access the Key Terms and Concepts Resource

House Concurs with Senate on Biden Administration's COVID-Relief Package
March 10, 2021. The House today voted today 220-211 to approve the Biden administrations relief packaged, H.R. 1319 the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, as amended by the Senate.
   Read the H.R. 1319 as Amended by the Senate

NAACP Files Suit on Behalf of Representative Thompson Against Trump, Giuliani, Proud Boys, and Oath Keepers After Storming of U.S. Capitol Based on 1871 Civil Rights Statute
February 17, 2021. The NAACP announced yesterday that it filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of Representative Bennie G. Thompson (D, MS.), alleging that these individuals and groups conspired to prevent Thompson and others from carrying out their officials duties with respect to counting the electoral college votes on January 6 in violation of the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. § 1985(1). For more information and documents, see the Civil Rights page of this website.

Prosecutors and Defense File Key Documents Ahead of Impeachment Trial to Begin in the Senate Tomorrow
February 8, 2021. The Senate trial on the second impeachment of President Donald Trump begins tomorrow. House of Representatives' prosecutors have filed their trial memorandum in the matter and Mr. Trump's attorneys have filed their answer. Today Mr. Trump's lawyers filed their trial brief. The impeachment trial follows the passage of the impeachment resolution H. Res. 24 in the House of Representatives on January 13, charging the president with incitement of insurrection.
   News reports indicate that the Senate majority and minority leaders have reached agreement on a resolution posted below in its current form that sets forth the trial process.
   Read the House Prosecutors' Trial Memorandum
   Read President Trump's Attorney's Answer.
   Read President Trump's Attorney's Trial Brief.
   Read the Reply by the House Impeachment Managers (filed February 8) to President Trump's Answer to the Charges.
   Read H. Res. 24 as Engrossed.
   Read the Senate Impeachment Trial Resolution Setting Forth the Process.

Executive Direct Actions by President Biden Since Taking Office
February 6, 2021. The following are the executive orders, proclamations, presidential memoranda, and national security directives issued by President Biden since taking office in January as of this date. Also, most, but not all of the memoranda have been published in the Federal Register. That is not required by the Federal Register Act and is usually done when presidents wish to publicize a particular action. Note also that the Biden administration issued one national security directive, but has now shifted to the term national security memorandum.
   Executive Orders
   Read Executive Order 13985 of January 20, 2021 Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.
   Read Executive Order 13986 of January 20, 2021 Ensuring a Lawful and Accurate Enumeration and Apportionment Pursuant to the Decennial Census.
   Read Executive Order 13987 of January 20, 2021Organizing and Mobilizing the United States Government To Provide a Unified and Effective Response To Combat COVID-19 and To Provide United States Leadership on Global Health and Security.
   Read Executive Order 13988 of January 20, 2021 Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation.
   Read Executive Order 13989 of January 20, 2021 Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Personnel.
   Read Executive Order 13990 of January 20, 2021 Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science To Tackle the Climate Crisis.
   Read Executive Order 13991 of January 20, 2021 Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask-Wearing.
   Read Executive Order 13992 of January 20, 2021 Revocation of Certain Executive Orders Concerning Federal Regulation.
   Read Executive Order 13993 of January 20, 2021 Revision of Civil Immigration Enforcement Policies and Priorities.
   Read Executive Order 13994 of January 21, 2021 Ensuring a Data-Driven Response to COVID-19 and Future High-Consequence Public Health Threats.
   Read Executive Order 13995 of January 21, 2021 Ensuring an Equitable Pandemic Response and Recovery.
   Read Executive Order 13996 of January 21, 2021 Establishing the COVID-19 Pandemic Testing Board and Ensuring a Sustainable Public Health Workforce for COVID-19 and Other Biological Threats.
   Read Executive Order 13997 of January 21, 2021 Improving and Expanding Access to Care and Treatments for COVID-19.
   Read Executive Order 13998 of January 21, 2021 Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel.
   Read Executive Order 13999 of January 21, 2021 Protecting Worker Health and Safety.
   Read Executive Order 14000 of January 21, 2021 Supporting the Reopening and Continuing Operation of Schools and Early Childhood Education Providers.
   Read Executive Order 14001 of January 21, 2021 A Sustainable Public Health Supply Chain.
   Read Executive Order 14002 of January 22, 2021 Economic Relief Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
   Read Executive Order 14003 of January 22, 2021 Protecting the Federal Workforce..
   Read Executive Order 14004 of January 25, 2021 Enabling All Qualified Americans To Serve Their Country in Uniform.
   Read Executive Order 14005 of January 25, 2021 Ensuring the Future Is Made in All of America by All of America's Workers
   Read Executive Order 14006 of January 26, 2021 Reforming Our Incarceration System To Eliminate the Use of Privately Operated Criminal Detention Facilities.
   Read Executive Order 14007 of January 27, 2021 President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
   Read Executive Order 14008 of January 27, 2021 Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.
   Read Executive Order 14009 of January 28, 2021 Strengthening Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act.
   Read Executive Order 14010 of February 2, 2021 Creating a Comprehensive Regional Framework to Address the Causes of Migration, to Manage Migration Throughout North and Central America, and to Provide Safe and Orderly Processing of Asylum Seekers at the United States Border.
   Read Executive Order 14011 of February 2, 2021 Establishment of Interagency Task Force on the Reunification of Families .
   Read Executive Order 14012 of February 2, 2021 Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans.
   Read Executive Order 14013 of February 4, 2021, Rebuilding and Enhancing Programs To Resettle Refugees and Planning for the Impact of Climate Change on Migration.
   Read Executive Order 14014 of February 10, 2021, Blocking Property With Respect to the Situation in Burma.
   Read Executive Order 14015 of February 14, 2021, Establishment of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
   Read Executive Order 14016 of February 17, 2021, Revocation of Executive Order 13801.
   Read Executive Order 14017 of February 24, 2021, America's Supply Chains.
   Read Executive Order 14018 of February 24, 2021, Revocation of Certain Presidential Actions.
   Read Executive Order 14019 of March 7, 2021, Promoting Access to Voting.
   Read Executive Order 14020 of March 8, 2021, Establishment of the White House Gender Policy Council.
   Read Executive Order 14021 of March 8, 2021, Guaranteeing an Educational Environment Free From Discrimination on the Basis of Sex, Including Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity.
   Presidential Proclamations
   Read Proclamation 10140 of January 20, 2021 A National Day of Unity
   Read Proclamation 10141 of January 20, 2021 Ending Discriminatory Bans on Entry to the United States
   Read Proclamation 10142 of January 20, 2021 Termination of Emergency With Respect to the Southern Border of the United States and Redirection of Funds Diverted to Border Wall Construction
   Read Proclamation 10143 of January 25, 2021 Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting Coronavirus Disease 2019
   Read Proclamation 10144 of February 1, 2021 Adjusting Imports of Aluminum Into the United States
   Read Proclamation 10145 of February 3, 2021 American Heart Month, 2021
   Read Proclamation 10146 of February 3, 2021 National Black History Month, 2021
   Read Proclamation 10147 of February 3, 2021 National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, 2021
   Read Proclamation 10148 of Feburary 22, 2021 Remembering the 500,000 Americans Lost to COVID–19
   Read Proclamation 10149 of Feburary 24, 2021 Revoking Proclamation 10014 (and lifting suspension of immigration)
   Read Proclamation 10150 of March 1, 2021 American Red Cross Month, 2021
   Read Proclamation 10151 of March 1, 2021 Irish-American Heritage Month, 2021
   Read Proclamation 10152 of March 1, 2021 National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, 2021
   Read Proclamation 10153 of March 1, 2021 Women's History Month, 2021
   Read Proclamation 10154 of March 1, 2021 National Consumer Protection Week, 2021
   Read Proclamation 10155 of March 1, 2021 Read Across America Day, 2021
   Read Proclamation 10156 of March 18, 2021 Honoring the Victims of the Tragedy in the Atlanta Metropolitan Area
   Read Proclamation 10157 of March 19, 2021 National Poison Prevention Week, 2021
   Read Proclamation 10158 of March 22, 2021 National Agriculture Day, 2021
   Read Proclamation 10159 of March 23, 2021 Education and Sharing Day, U.S.A., 2021
   Read Proclamation 10160 of March 23, 2021 Honoring the Victims of the Tragedy in Boulder, Colorado
   Read Proclamation 10161 of March 24, 2021 Greek Independence Day: A National Day of Celebration of Greek and American Democracy, 2021
   Read Proclamation 10162 of March 24, 2021 National Equal Pay Day, 2021
   Presidential Memoranda
   Read Memorandum of
   Read Memorandum of January 20, 2021 Reinstating Deferred Enforced Departure for Liberians
   Read Memorandum of January 20, 2021 Preserving and Fortifying Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
   Read Memorandum of January 20, 2021 Modernizing Regulatory Review
   Read Memorandum of January 21, 2021 Memorandum To Extend Federal Support to Governors' Use of the National Guard To Respond to COVID-19 and To Increase Reimbursement and Other Assistance Provided to States
   Read Memorandum of January 26, 2021 Tribal Consultation and Strengthening Nation-to-Nation Relationships
   Read Memorandum of January 26, 2021 Redressing Our Nation's and the Federal Government's History of Discriminatory Housing Practices and Policies
   Read Memorandum of January 26, 2021 Condemning and Combating Racism, Xenophobia, and Intolerance Against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States
   Read Memorandum of January 27, 2021 Restoring Trust in Government Through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking
   Read Memorandum of January 28, 2021 on Protecting Women's Health at Home and Abroad
   Read Memorandum of February 2, 2021 on Maximizing Assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to Respond to COVID-19
   Read Memorandum of February 4, 2021 on Revitalizing America's Foreign Policy and National Security Workforce, Institutions, and Partnerships.
   Read Memorandum of February 4, 2021 on Advancing the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex Persons Around the World.
   Read Notice of February 11, 2021 on Continuation of the National Emergency With Respect to Libya
   Read Notice of February 24, 2021 on Continuation of the National Emergency With Respect to Cuba and of the Emergency Authority Relating to the Regulation of the Anchorage and Movement of Vessels
   Read Notice of February 24, 2021 on Continuation of the National Emergency Concerning the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID–19) Pandemic
   Read Notice of March 2, 2021 on Continuation of the National Emergency With Respect to Zimbabwe
   Read Notice of March 2, 2021 on Continuation of the National Emergency With Respect to Venezuela
   Read Notice of March 2, 2021 on Continuation of the National Emergency With Respect to Ukraine
   Read Notice of March 5, 2021 on
   Read Notice of March 5, 2021 on Continuation of the National Emergency With Respect to Iran
   National Security Directives (National Security Memoranda)
   The Biden issued one directive labeled as NSD-1, but it has now shifted to the term National Security Memorandum. It is important to remember that most NSDs are classified, but the administration may choose to make some of them public. It usually takes a period of time for the new administration's national security and intelligence community leaders to work with the White House on the development of NSDs.
   Read National Security Directive 1, January 21, 2021, United States Global Leadership to Strengthen the International COVID-19 Response and to Advance Global Health Security and Biological Preparedness
   Read National Security Memorandum 1, February 4, 2021, Memorandum on Revitalizing America's Foreign Policy and National Security Workforce, Institutions, and Partnerships
   Read National Security Memorandum 2, February 4, 2021, Memorandum on Renewing the National Security Council System
   Read National Security Memorandum 4, February 4, 2021, Memorandum on Advancing the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex Persons Around the World

House Considers Resolution to Remove Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene from Her Committee Assignments
February 4, 2021. The House of Representatives is considering today H. Res. 72 that states in part: "Marjorie Taylor Greene should be removed from her committee assignments."
   Read the full text of H. Res. 72.

Biden Administration Issues National Strategy for COVID-19 Pandemic Response
January 21, 2021. The Biden Administration today published its National Strategy for COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness.
   Read the Strategy.

White House Websites Change as President Biden Takes Office
January 20, 2021. As a new president takes office, it is now standard for the incoming administration to immediately take down its predecessor's website and load its own site. That has happened today. The new Biden Administration page is found below as is the archived Trump White House site. Also, the National Archives has a page with information about other archived Trump administration sites.
   Access the Biden Administration homepage.
   Access the Archived Trump White House Website.
   Access the National Arhives Site on the Archived Trump Websites.

Last Round of Pardons Expected as President Trump Prepares to Leave Office
January 17, 2021. President Trump, like other chief executives before him, is expected to issue pardons before leaving office on January 20. According to the Department of Justice listing, Mr. Trump had issued 70 pardons as of December 23, with 42 of those coming from November 25 on. (There may be other cases not yet posted on the DOJ list.) Pardons are primarily administered through the Office of the Pardon Attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice.
   The Congressional Research Service has provided a number of reports on the subject of pardons in response to questions from legislators that frequently arise at the point of presidential transitions.
   Read the January 2020 CRS Report "Presidential Pardons: Overview and Selected Legal Issues."
   Read the November 2020 CRS Report "Presidential Transitions: Executive Clemency."
   Read the July 2016 CRS Report "The President's Pardon Power and Legal Effects on Collateral Consequences."
   Access the DOJ Office of the Pardon Attorney FAQs.
   Read DOJ List of Pardons Granted by President Trump.

Justice Department Opinion and Other Sources on Self-Pardon
January 17, 2021 [Updated Item Originally Posted January 13.]. Now that the House has voted to impeach Mr. Trump again and as President Trump's term of office is nearing an end, there has been discussion of a possible self-pardon by the president as well as the likelihood of pardons of others which has drawn attention to a 1974 memorandum opinion issued by the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel on August 5, 1974. That opinion, Presidential or Legislative Pardon of the President, 1 Op. O.L.C. Supp. 370 (1974), begins with a statement that: "Under the fundamental rule that no one may be a judge in his own case, the President cannot pardon himself." Id. at 370.
   The Congressional Research Service issued a report entitled "Presidential Pardons: Overview and Selected Legal Issues" on January 14, 2020, prepared by Michael A. Foster, that addresses the question of self-pardon briefly. It does provide a variety of citations to commentary and opinion on the question. Id. at 13-14. The CRS also issued a "Legal Sidebar" report entitled "Presidential Pardons: Frequently Asked Questions" in August 2017 that discusses the subject briefly as well.
   One of the widely cited pieces on the subject was a Note in the Yale Law Journal written by Brian C. Kalt, entitled "Pardon Me?: The Constitutional Case AgainstPresidential Self-Pardons" which, as the title indicates, argues against a self-pardon power.
   Read the DOJ Office of Legal Counsel Opinion on Pardon of the President.
   Read the 2020 "Presidential Pardons" CRS Report.
   Read the 2017 CRS Pardons FAQ Document.
   Read the Kalt Article.

House Impeaches President Trump for the Second Time
January 17, 2021. The House of Representatives voted to impeach President Trump on January 13 by a vote of 232-197. The resolution has not yet been presented to the Senate for trial. That trial will be conducted after Mr. Trump leaves office on January 20.
   The Congressional Research Service has published two reports on impeachment of particular relevance to the pending process. The first is a report on "The Impeachment Process in the Senate," published in January 2020, and the most recent item is a report on "The Impeachment and Trial of a Former President," published on January 15, 2021.
   Read H. Res. 24 as Engrossed.
   Read the CRS Report on The Impeachment Process in the Senate.
   Read the CRS Report on The Impeachment and Trial of a Former President.

House Begins Debate on the Resolution of Impeachment
January 13, 2021. The House of Representatives has begun debate on the H. Res. 24 "Impeaching Donald John Trump, President of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors."
   Read H. Res. 24 as Debated today.

House Judiciary Committee Issues Impeachment Report
January 12, 2021. The House Judiciary Committee has issued its report on impeachment with the full house scheduled to vote on the resolution of impeachment tomorrow.
   Read the House Judiciary Committee Report on H. Res. 24 January 12, 2021.

Speaker of the House Announces Next Step in Reponse to President's Conduct in Office
January 11, 2021. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has announced in a letter to representatives the planned steps in the attempt to remove President Trump from office, following the insurrection at the Capitol last week and other actions. Her letter indicates that they will bring to the floor today the resolution calling upon Vice President Pence to start the process under the Twenty-Fifth Amendment to remove the president from office. (Now introduced as H. Res. 21.) It then indicates an intention to introduce the article of impeachment authored by Representatives David Cicilline (D.RI), Jamie Raskin (D.MD), Jerrold Nadler (D.NY), and Ted Lieu (D.CA), charging President Trump with "incitement of insurrenction."
   Read the H. Res. 21 Calling for Invocation of the Twenty-Fifth Amendment.
   Read the Article of Impeachment Introduced Today.
   Read the Speaker's Letter to the Democratic Caucus on Next Steps.

House Members Developing Article of Impeachment
January 8, 2021. The majority party members in the House of Representatives have a draft article of impeachment, charging the president with "Incitement of Insurrection" they are preparing to introduce as early as the beginning of next week. This action comes in the wake of Wednesday's assault on the U.S. Capitol.
   Read the Draft Article of Impeachment.

Congressional Research Service Publishes Concise Report on Congressional Counting of Electoral Votes
December 30, 2020. In preparation for the January 6th convening of Congress for the purpose of formally counting the electoral votes in the presidential election, the Congressional Research Service earlier this month issued an updated version of its very concise report (10 pages) entitled "Counting Electoral Votes: An Overview of Procedures at the Joint Session, Including Objections by Members of Congress." The report details the process by which that session of Congress is to be conducted under Article Article II, Section 1, and Amendment 12 of the Constitution and the Electoral Count Act of 1887 as amended in 1948. Sections 15-18 of Title 3 of the U.S. Code set forth the process for the counting of electoral votes and the manner of dealing with objections during the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021.
   Read the CRS Report.
   Read the 3 U.S.C. §§15-18.

President Trump Has Signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021, Containing COVID Relief Package
December 28, 2020. The president last night signed H.R. 133, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 which contains what is being called the COVID-19 package. The bill in its enrolled form is some 2,124 pages in length and was approved by 92-6 in the Senate and 359-53 in the House. The bill was presented to the president on December 24, but he did not sign it until Sunday evening.
   Read the Enrolled Bill.

Third Circuit Rejects Appeal in Pennsylvania Elections Case
November 27, 2020. Judge Stephanos Bibas of the Third Ciruit wrote an opinion for a unanimous panel of that court rejected an appeal by the Trump campaign in Donald J. Trump for President v. Secretary of State of Pennsylvania, challenging to presidential elections results in Pennsylvania. He began the opinion: "Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of our democracy. Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here."
   Read the Opinion.

Sharply Divided Surpreme Court Rules Against New York Governor on Some COVID Restrictions on Places of Worship
November 27, 2020. In a highly unusual move, a sharply divided Supreme Court has issued an injunction in a case brought by religious organizations seeking to block a COVID-199 order issued by New York's governor limiting the size of attendance at religious events. The Court issued a per curiam in Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo, but went beyond the usual brief statement of decision to explain in a manner more common in a fully developed opinion for the Court that the plaintiffs had demonstrated the likelihood of success on the merits of their claim against the governor, justifying an injunction. Justices Kavanaugh and Gorsuch each issued concurring opinions. Chief Justice Roberts wrote a strong dissent, arguing at the outset that there was absolutely no need for the Court to act, given that the governor has already modified his order and the plaintiffs' places of worship were no longer subject to the previous restrictions. In addition Justice Breyer issued a dissent joined by Justices Sotomayor and Kagan. Justice Sotomayor then also added an additional dissent joined by Justice Kagan.
   As it issued the ruling, the majority explained that: "Respondent is enjoined from enforcing Executive Order 202.68's 10- and 25-person occupancy limits on applicant pending disposition of the appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and disposition of the petition for a writ of certiorari, if such writ is timely sought. Should the petition for a writ of certiorari be denied, this order shall terminate automatically. In the event the petition for a writ of certiorari is granted, the order shall terminate upon the sending down of the judgment of this Court." Id. at 1.
   Read the Opinion.

Federal District Court Issues Injunction Against Trump Administration Policy of Turning Children Away at the Border Without Consideration of Asylum Claims
November 19, 2020. Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia yesterday issued a preliminary injunction against the administration in P.J.E.S. v. Wolf, a suit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of thousands of children turned away at the U.S./Mexico border without consideration of asylum claims under an administration policy claiming it was necessary to take the action because of COVID-19. For more information and documents, see the Refugees and Immigrants page of this website.

U.S. District Court Finds Wolf Not Lawfully in Office at DHS When He Suspended DACA Program
November 16, 2020. Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York ruled Saturday that Chad Wolf "was not lawfully serving as the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security when he issued the July 28 memorandum" suspending the DACA program. For more information and documents see the Refugees and Immigrants page of this website.

Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument in Affordable Care Act Cases
November 10, 2020. (Updated) At 10:00 am Eastern this morning, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in two cases consolidated by the Court that address the Affordable Act. The two cases, No. 19-840 California v. Texas and No. 19-1019 Texas v. California come after lower courts ruled that provisions of the Act were no longer valid after congressional amendments and that the statute should fall because those parts of the statute were not severable from the rest of legislation. C-Span is carrying the oral argument live. The transcript of the argument will be available later today and the streaming audio will be posted later in the week on the Supreme Court's Oral Arguments page.
   C-Span carried the argument live, but it is also now available on C-Span for replay at the link below.
   C-Span Live Broadcast of ACA Oral Arguments.
   Access the California v. Texas docket sheet with links to briefs and other documents.
   Access the Texas v. California docket sheet with links to briefs and other documents.
   Read the Fifth Circuit Opinion.
   Read the Opinion from the District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

Legal Challenges Have Already Begun to President Trump's Executive Order on Civil Service
October 28, 2020. Just days after President Trump issues Executive Order 13957 on career civil servants (see post for October 23 below), the National Treasury Employees Union has brought suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeing declaratory and injunctive relief blocking the order on grounds that it is beyond the president's authority under 5 U.S.C. § 3302.
   Read the Complaint.

President Issues New Executive Order Allowing Action Against a Wide Range of Those Currently Protected by Civil Service Career Service Status
October 23, 2020 (Updated October 25, 2020). President Trump on Wednesday signed Executive Order 13957 entitled "Executive Order on Creating Schedule F In The Excepted Service." The nature of the order appears in Section 1, in which the administration states: "Pursuant to my authority under section 3302(1) of title 5, United States Code, I find that conditions of good administration make necessary an exception to the competitive hiring rules and examinations for career positions in the Federal service of a confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating character. These conditions include the need to provide agency heads with additional flexibility to assess prospective appointees without the limitations imposed by competitive service selection procedures." The order then goes on to make a wide range of changes in federal civil service. The administration has made clear that these changes would subject those who write rules for the agencies and make other key decisons, though to this point in protected career positions, subject the noncompetitive appointment and expedited removal or subject to other steps that the administration asserts would be associated with performance from the administration's perspective.
   Read the Order.
   Access the Administration's "Fact Sheet" Released Along with the Executive Order.

Senate Judiciary Begins Hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett Supreme Court Nomination and She Provides Opening Statement
October 10, 2020. The Senate Judiciary Committee today began hearings on the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court. Her opening statement to the committee is provided below. For more documents, including the the nominee questionnaire and supporting materals, see the posting for October 10 on this webpage.
   The Senate Judiciary Committee has not made it easy to find and access documents on the Coney Barrett nomination. When arriving at the page listing nominations, click on Judicial Nominations (not Supreme Court), scroll down to Amy Coney Barrett and click on the name. The page that comes up provides the committee questionnaire, appendices, and submitted letters. However, it does not provide copies of letters from the committee minority members requesting information. That requires a search of the committee website.
   To watch video of the hearings, go to the Senate Judiciary Committee and scroll down to find the specific day of the hearings and the video link will be on that page.
   Read Judge Coney Barrett's Opening Statement to the Judiciary Committee.
   Access letter from Senate Judiciary Minority Members Alleging that Materials were Missing from the Coney Barrett Files and Calling the Justice Department to Ensure They are Provided.
   Access Senate Judiciary Website.

Senate Judiciary Committee Holds Confirmation Hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Nomination to U.S. Supreme Court
October 10, 2020. The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled confirmation hearings to consider the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, currently of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, as Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who died on September 18. The hearings on the nomination are scheduled to begin at 9:00 am Monday, October 12, 2020 and to run through October 15.
   At this point, the committee has not posted information on witnesses other than the panel to introduce Judge Coney Barrett on Monday and that she will testify thereafter. However, she has completed the Senate Judiciary Questionnaire and that and other key documents are provided below. However, these documents were only recently filed, so there are as yet no materials from others in response to the nomination apart from the letters posted by the committee in support. (Additional information will be posted here as it becomes available.)
   Read the Nominee Questionnaire (SJQ).
   Read SJQ Appendix 11.c.(Presentations and Sponsorship of those Events).
   Read SJQ Attachments to Question 12.a. (Published Writings).
   Read Attachments to Question 12.b. (Reports, Memos and Other Documents Prepared for Organizations.
   Read Attachments to Question 12.c. (Testimony and Statements).
   Read Attachments to Question 12.d. (Speeches and Talks).
   Read Appendix 13.b. (Citations to Nominee's Opinions and Orders).
   Read Appendix 13.c. (List of Cases in Which Nominee Was a Member of the Panel but Did Not Write Opinions).
   Read SJQ Appendix 13.f.(Cases in Which Nominee Participated in Which Certiorari to the Supreme Court Was Requested or Granted).
   Read SJQ Appendix 14 (Cases in Which Nominee Recused).
   Read SJQ Attachments to Question 19 (Information on Teaching, Including Details of Courses and Syllabi).
   Read SJQ Supplement Attachments to Questions 12.a. 12.b. 12.d. and 12.e. (Additional Items Provided by Nominee on October 9 to Ensure Completeness of Responses to Items Under Question 12).
   Read Letter in Support of Nomination, NSSF to McConnell and Schumer - Barrett Nomination. (The Letter Explains National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) is America's trade association for the firearm, ammunition, hunting and recreational shooting sports industry.)
   Read Letter in Support of Nomination, Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett to President Trump - Barrett Nomination.
   Read Letter in Support of Nomination, 18 Secretaries of State to Chairman Graham - Barrett Nomination.
   Read Letter in Support of Nomination, 22 State Attorneys General to McConnell Schumer Graham Feinstein - Barrett Nomination.
   Access the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearings and Meetings Webpage for Further Information on Each Day of the Hearings.

Trump Administration Issues New Executive Order Limiting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Training by Federal Contractors or Grant Recipients or Federal Officials Directing Training
September 24, 2020. President Trump has issued a new executive order entitled "Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping" that places restrictions on the types of diversity, equity, and inclusion training and programs that can be used by federal contractors and also those receivnig federal grants. Just how the sweeping language will be implemented by federal agencies. For the documents and updates to follow, see the Civil Rights page of this website.

Federal Judge Issues Injunction Against USPS Changes
September 18, 2020. Judge Stanley A. Bastion of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington has issued a preliminary injunction in a case brought by the Attorney General of Washington on behalf of 14 states against policy and management changes at the Postal service. For the order and other key documents, see the Washington page of this website.

Three Judge Federal District Court Blocks Trump Effort to Limit Census Count
September 11, 2020. A three judge federal district court in the Southern District of New York has issued an opinion ruling against the administration in a case brought by states, local governments, and nongovernmental organizations against a mandate from President Trump in a presidential memorandum that orderd the Commerce Department to report census data in one list with all residents and nother list that included only citizens and legal residents. For more information and the key documents, see the Refugees and Immigrants page of this website.

District Court Issues Temporary Restraining Order to Keep Census Count Going
September 8, 2020. Judge Lucy H. Koh of the U.S. District Court for Northern District of California has issued a temporary restraining order in a case brought against Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, challenging the decision to end the census county. The cast was brought by the National Urban league and a number of groups and governmental jurisdictions challenging the administrations move. They include the National Urban League; League of Women Voters; Black Alliance for Just Immigration; Harris County, Texas; King County, Washington; City of Los Angeles, California; City of Salinas, California; City of San Jose, California; Rodney Ellis; Adrian Garcia; National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; City of Chicago, Illinois; County of Los Angeles, California; Navajo Nation; and Gila River Indian Community. The judge concluded: "Defendants Commerce Secretary Wilbur L. Ross, Jr.; the U.S. Department of Commerce; the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau Steven Dillingham, and the U.S. Census Bureau are enjoined from implementing the August 3, 2020 Replan or allowing to be implemented any actions as a result of the shortened timelines in the August 3, 2020 Replan, including but not limited to winding down or altering any Census field operations, until the Court conducts its September 17, 2020 hearing on Plaintiffs’ PI motion." National Urban League v. Ross, Order Granting Motion for Temporary Restraining Order, at 7. In her order, Judge Koh explains in part that: "There are also serious questions as to whether the Replan was arbitrary and capricious in violation of the APA. See 5 U.S.C. § 706(2)(A). The APA requires that Defendants consider the 'important aspect[s] of the problem' before them. Motor Vehicle Mfrs. Ass’n v. State Farm Mut. Ins. Co. . . . Although Defendants justify the Replan based on the statutory deadline, Plaintiffs suggest that Defendants have failed to consider their other statutory obligations, including the statutory requirement that Defendants 'conduct a census that is accurate and that fairly accounts for the crucial representational rights that depend on the census and the apportionment.'. . . Thus, there are serious questions going to the merits of the Plaintiffs' APA claims." Id., at 4.
   Read the Order Granting the TRO.
   Read the Complaint in the Case.

Judge Gee Issues Order Against DHS Use of Hotels to House Children Before Deportation
September 8, 2020. Judge Dolly Gee of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California who has long had jurisdiction over the implementation of the so-called Flores settlement, originally reached in 1997, has ruled that the recent program instituted by the Trump administration's Department of Homeland Security policy COVID-19 policy regarding placing minors in hotels pending rapid expulsion from the U.S. does not comply with the settlement. She found, inter alia, that: "On balance, the Court finds that the hotel program is not safe with respect to preventing minors from contracting COVID-19 or providing the type of care and supervision suitable for unaccompanied minors." at 15. She also found with respect to the children's access to counsel that the DHS policy and practice is: "woefully inadequate and not substantially compliant." at 16. Although she recognized the challenges associated with COVID-19, Judge Gee concluded: "This Court is sensitive to the exigencies created by COVID-19 and recognizes that the pandemic may require temporary, emergency modifications to the immigration system to enhance public safety. But that is no excuse for DHS to skirt the fundamental humanitarian protections that the Flores Agreement guarantees for minors in their custody, especially when there is no persuasive evidence that hoteling is safer than licensed facilities. While the legality of the Closure Order generally is beyond the scope of this Court’s jurisdiction, the Court is obligated to ensure that minors in DHS custody are not left in a legal no-man’s land, where no enforceable standards apply. Defendants may not exploit Title 42 to send children in their legal custody “off into the night.” Flores v. Sessions, 862 F.3d at 878 n.17 (quoting Reno v. Flores, 507 U.S. 292, 295 (1993))." Id. at 16-17. She ordered compliance with the settlement and an end to the hotel practice pending further proceedings.
   Read the Order Granting the TRO.

Federal District Judge in Washington Blocks Education Secretary Requirements for School Districts to Give Significant Amounts of CARES Act Funding to Private Schools.
August 23, 2020. Judge Barbara J. Rothstein of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington has granted a motion for a preliminary injunction against education secretary Betsy DeVos requirement for public schools to share significant amounts of CARES Act funding with private schools or lose their own funding. For more information and key documents, see the Washington page of this website.

State Attorneys General File Suit Against Trump Administration and Postmaster General Challenging Changes in Post Office Operations Ahead of the Fall Election
August 20, 2020. Washington State Attorney General Robert Ferguson has filed suit in federal district court on behalf of his state joined by Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin, challenging changes in postal operations in the months before the fall election on both statutory and constitutional grounds. For more information and documents, see the Washington page of this website.

Senate Intelligence Committee Issues Final Volume on Investigation of Russian Attempts to Influence 2016 Elections
August 20, 2020. The U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has released the fifth and final volume what it describes as "the Committee's bipartisan Russia investigation titled, 'Volume 5: Counterintelligence Threats and Vulnerabilities,' which examines Russia's attempts to gain influence in the American political system during the 2016 elections."
   Read the Report Volume 5: Counterintelligence Threats and Vulnerabilities.
   Read the Report Volume I: Russian Efforts Against Election Infrastructure.
   Read the Report Volume II: Russia's Use of Social Media.
   Read the Report Volume III: U.S. Government Response to Russian Activities.
   Read the Report Volume IV: Review of the Intelligence Community Assessment.
   Read the Additional declassifications of 'Volume IV: Review of Intelligence Community Assessment'.
   Read the Committee's Press Release on the Report.

Trump Administration Announces Decision to Move Forward with Oil and Gas Leases in the Coastal Plain of the Alaska National Wildlife Refuse
August 17, 2020. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhard thas announced that he has signed the Record of Decision (ROD) in signed a Record of Decision providing approval for the the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska to move forward. For more information and the relevant documents, see the Sustainable Development page of this website.

GAO Releases New Report on Facial Recognition Software Privacy and Accuracy
August 11, 2020. The U.S. Government Accountability Office has released a report entitled "Facial Recognition Technology: Privacy and Accuracy Issues Related to Commercial Uses." This is one of a number of efforts to catch up with a technology that has been utilized widely in the commercial context, and this is quite apart from government's use of this kind of technology. "This report examines (1) current and potential uses of facial recognition technology in the commercial sector, (2) the characteristics of facial image data sets assembled for commercial purposes and any related privacy and data security risks, (3) differences in how accurately the technology performs across demographic groups, and (4) privacy protections under federal and state law applicable to commercial use of facial recognition technology and privacy frameworks developed by private entities." Id. at 2.
   Read the Report.

President Trump Issues Executive Order and Memoranda Claiming to Address COIV-19 Impacts
August 10, 2020. President Trump issued a series of memoranda and an executive order on August 7 and 8 which the administration claims address a number of COVID-19 impacts.
   The authority of the president in several of these areas is limited. The appropriations authority belongs to the Congress under Article I of the Constitution and the president cannot command state authorities to spend funds or be federal agents in enforcing federal law under the so-called commandeering doctrine based in Supreme Court interpretations of the Tenth Amendment and other provisions of the Constitution [See e.g., City of Chicago v. Barr, 961 F.3d 882 (7th Cir. 2020); Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association, 138 S. Ct. 1461 (2018); New York v. United States, 505 U.S. 144 (1992); Printz v. United States, 521 U.S. 898 (1997)].
   Additionally, there are serious penalties for federal officials who expend funds in ways not authorized by law and proper appropriations under the provisions of the federal Antideficiency Act. The U.S. Government Accountability Office explains that: "This act prohibits federal agencies from obligations or expending federal funds in advance or in excess of an appropriation, and from accepting voluntary services.The Antideficiency Act prohibits federal employees from (1) making or authorizing an expenditure from, or creating or authorizing an obligation under, any appropriation or fund in excess of the amount available in the appropriation or fund unless authorized by law. 31 U.S.C. § 1341(a)(1)(A).(2) involving the government in any obligation to pay money before funds have been appropriated for that purpose, unless otherwise allowed by law. 31 U.S.C. § 1341(a)(1)(B). (3) accepting voluntary services for the United States, or employing personal services not authorized by law, except in cases of emergency involving the safety of human life or the protection of property. 31 U.S.C. § 1342. (4) making obligations or expenditures in excess of an apportionment or reapportionment, or in excess of the amount permitted by agency regulations. 31 U.S.C. § 1517(a). Federal employees who violate the Antideficiency Act are subject to two types of sanctions: administrative and penal. Employees may be subject to appropriate administrative discipline including, when circumstances warrant, suspension from duty without pay or removal from office. In addition, employees may also be subject to fines, imprisonment, or both." GAO Antideficiency Act Resources webpage. The basis for criminal action for violation are found in §1350 and the basis for administrative action against federal employees is set out in §1349.
   It is also important to note that § 1351 of that statute mandates that any violations of the act must be reported. "If an officer or employee of an executive agency or an officer or employee of the District of Columbia government violates section 1341(a) or 1342 of this title, the head of the agency or the Mayor of the District of Columbia, as the case may be, shall report immediately to the President and Congress all relevant facts and a statement of actions taken. A copy of each report shall also be transmitted to the Comptroller General on the same date the report is transmitted to the President and Congress."
    There is another important source on federal expenditures which is the GAO Red Book. As the GAO explains, the Red Book is "Principles of Federal Appropriations Law, also known as the Red Book, is GAO’s multi-volume treatise concerning federal fiscal law. The Red Book provides text discussion with reference to specific legal authorities to illustrate legal principles, their application, and exceptions. These references include GAO decisions and opinions, judicial decisions, statutory provisions, and other relevant sources." See the GAO Red Book website (below).
   Read the Memorandum on Authorizing the Other Needs Assistance Program for Major Disaster Declarations Related to Coronavirus Disease 2019.
   Read the Memorandum on Deferring Payroll Tax Obligations in Light of the Ongoing COVID-19 Disaster.
   Read the Executive Order on Fighting the Spread of COVID-19 by Providing Assistance to Renters and Homeowners.
   Read the Memorandum on Continued Student Loan Payment Relief During the COVID-19 Pandemic.
   Read the Memorandum on the Extension of the Use of the National Guard to Respond to COVID-19 and to Facilitate Economic Recovery (Connecticut).
   Read the Memorandum on the Extension of the Use of the National Guard to Respond to COVID-19 and to Facilitate Economic Recovery (California).
   Read the Memorandum on the Extension of the Use of the National Guard to Respond to COVID-19 and to Facilitate Economic Recovery (Arizona).
   Access the GAO Anti-Deficiency Act Resources Website.
   Read the Codified version of the Act.
   Access the GAO Red Book.

A Frustrated Federal Judge in Mississippi Calls Upon the U.S. Supreme Court to Reverse the Doctrine of Qualified Immunity
August 5, 2020. Judge Carlton W. Reeves of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi has issued an order granting qualified immunity in Jamison v. McClendon, but he also issued a dramatic call for the Supreme Court to overturn the doctrine of qualified immunity. For more information and the opinion, see the Civil Rights page of this website.

EU Court Strikes Down "Privacy Shield" Agreement
July 19, 2020. The Court of Justice of the European Union handed down an important legal ruling on Wednesday against the Privacy Shield Agreement between the EU and the United States, finding, among other things, that it does not meet the requirements of the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The shield agreement is extremely important in setting the requirements for data sharing between EU countries covered by the GDPR and the US. It obviously has great importance to technology companies in particular, but really is far more significant than that. Among other things, it will put pressure on the U.S. either to adopt the GDPR or something very close to it, or find a way to deal with limitations on data transfers among data centers around the world that make up what is today commonly referred to as "the Cloud."
   If the EU and the US cannot achieve agreement that will meet this ruling, the alternative is for the individual firms to use what are termed Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) which have been prepared by the EU to meet GDPR requirements. These are nonnegotiable. A number of the larger technology companies such as Microsoft have operated under both the Privacy Shield and an SCC. That company immediately posted an explanation of it practices and compliance on the day the EU ruling was released. However, it is unclear what will happen with thousands of firms that do not currently operate aunder an SCC.
   The Privacy Shiled was negotiated between the U.S. and the European Union Commission following a 2015 EU Court ruling concluding that the lack of adequate privacy regulation for online business and data center operations. The first case began when an Austrian citizen and resident who was a user of Facebook launched the action. Maximillian Schrems was then a law student and is currently a practicing attorney.
   Read the EU Court Ruling.
   Read the Court of Justice of the European Union Press Release on the Case.
   Read the GDPR, more Formally Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27April2016 .
   Access the Privacy Shield Agreement .
   Access Microsoft's Webpage on the Ruling and the SCC.

Oregon Attorney General Files Suit Against Federal Officials for Actions in Portland
July 19, 2020. On Friday Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum files Suit Against federal officials for their treatment of protesters in Portland. For more information and the key documents, see the Oregon page of this website.

Trump Administration HHS Diverts COVID-19 Data from CDC to DHS Working with a Private Firm
July 16, 2020. On July 10, the Trump administration issued something the Department of Health and Human Services called "COVID-19 Guidance for Hospital Reporting and FAQs For Hospitals, Hospital Laboratory, and Acute Care Facility Data Reporting," which mandated that COVID-19 data not be sent directly to the Centers for Disease Control at its National Healthcare Safety Network, but instead be sent to HHS in a system operating by a private firm, TeleTracking. For more information and documents, see the Healthcare, Disability, and Development page of this website.

Some Governors Issing Executive Orders Blocking Actions by Local Governments to Require Face Masks or Other Personal Protective Equipment or Other Restrictions
July 16, 2020. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp issued Executive Order 07.15.20.01 yesterday that specifically preempted efforts by local governments to mandate face masks and other personal protective equipment more stringent that measures to deal with COVID-19 than he had as governor mandated. For more details and documents, see the Local Government page of this website.

Massachusetts Attorney General Files Suit Against ICE Policy on Behalf of 18 States
July 13, 2020. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey filed suit in the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts on behalf of Massachusetts and 16 other states plus the District of Columbia seeking an injunction against the ICE policy on international students and online courses announced a week ago (see posts below). For more information, including the complaint, see the Refugees and Immigrants page of this website.

California Attorney General Sues to Challenge DHS International Student Action
July 10, 2020. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California challenging the new ICE policy on international students seeking declaratory and injunctive relief on Administrative Procedure Act grounds. For more information and a copy of the complaint, see the Refugees and Immigrants page of this website.

Supreme Court Rejects Trump Claims to Absolute Immunity for his Financial Records, but also Does Not Give Congress a Clear Win
July 9, 2020. The Supreme Court today rejected President Trump's claim to absolute immunity from disclosure of his financial records in Trump v. Vance with an opinion by the Court by Chief Justice Roberts. In addition to the five members of the majority, Justices Kavanaugh and Gorsuch concurred. Justices Thomas and Alito dissented. "Given these safeguards and the Court's precedents, we cannot conclude that absolute immunity is necessary or appropriate under Article II or the Supremacy Clause." Slip op. at 17. The Court also rejected the Trump argument that even if he does not have absolute immunity, there is a need for a heightened standard. The Court said: "Requiring a state grand jury to meet a heightened standard of need would hobble the grand jury's ability to acquire 'all information that might possibly bear on its investigation.'. . . And, even assuming the evidence withheld under that standard were preserved until the conclusion of a President's term, in the interim the State would be deprived of investigative leads that the evidence might yield, allowing memories to fade and documents to disappear. This could frustrate the identification, investigation, and indictment of third parties (for whom applicable statutes of limitations might lapse). More troubling, it could prejudice the innocent by depriving the grand jury of exculpatory evidence." Id. at 19.
   However, Roberts added: "Rejecting a heightened need standard does not leave Presidents with 'no real protection.' Post, at 19 (opinion of ALITO, J.). To start, a President may avail himself of thesame protections available to every other citizen. These include the right to challenge the subpoena on any grounds permitted by state law, which usually include bad faith and undue burden or breadth. . .. And, as in federal court, '[t]he high respect that is owed to the office of the Chief Executive . . . should inform the conduct of the entire proceeding, including the timing and scope of discovery.' . . . Furthermore, although the Constitution does not entitle the Executive to absolute immunity or a heightened standard, he is not 'relegate[d]' only to the challenges available to private citizens. . . . A President can raise subpoena-specific constitutional challenges, in either a state or federal forum. As previously noted, he can challenge the subpoena as an attempt to influence the performance of his official duties, in violation of the Supremacy Clause. . . . This avenue protects against local political machinations 'interposed as anobstacle to the effective operation of a federal constitutional power.'. . . In addition, the Executive can-as the district attorney concedes-argue that compliance with a particular subpoena would impede his constitutional duties. . . . Incidental to the functions confided in Article II is 'the power to perform them, without obstruction or impediment.'. . . As a result, 'once the President sets forth and explains aconflict between judicial proceeding and public duties,' or shows that an order or subpoena would 'significantly interfere with his efforts to carry out' those duties, 'the matter changes.'. . . At that point, a court should use its inherent authority to quash or modify the subpoena, if necessary to ensure that such 'interference with the President's duties would not occur.'" Id. at 19-21.
   The Court ruled in the Trump v. Mazars case that although it rejected the "demanding standards" called for by the government in the case, the lower courts did not adequately address the separation of powers aspects of the case and therefore vacated the lower court ruling. Roberts wrote for the 7-2 majority: "We disagree that these demanding standards apply here.Unlike the cases before us, Nixon and Senate Select Committee involved Oval Office communications over which the President asserted executive privilege. That privilege safeguards the public interest in candid, confidential deliberations within the Executive Branch; it is 'fundamental to the operation of Government.' . . . As a result, information subject to executive privilege deserves 'the greatest protection consistent with the fair administration of justice.' . . . We decline to transplant thatprotection root and branch to cases involving nonprivileged, private information, which by definition does not implicate sensitive Executive Branch deliberations. The standards proposed by the President and the Solicitor General-if applied outside the context of privileged information-would risk seriously impeding Congress in carrying out its responsibilities. The President and the Solicitor General would apply the same exacting standards to all subpoenas for the President's information, without recognizing distinctions between privileged and nonprivileged information, between official and personal information, or between various legislative objectives. Such a categorical approach would represent a significant departure from the longstanding way of doing business betweenthe branches, giving short shrift to Congress's important interests in conducting inquiries to obtain the information it needs to legislate effectively." Slip op. at 13-14.
   On the other hand, Roberts indicates that it is not prepared to agree to the congressional arguments as presented. "We therefore conclude that, in assessing whether a subpoena directed at the President’s personal information is 'related to, and in furtherance of, a legitimate task of the Congress,' . . . courts must perform a careful analysis that takes adequateaccount of the separation of powers principles at stake, including both the significant legislative interests of Congressand the "unique position" of the President several special considerations inform this analysis." The Chief Justice then lays out a standard for assessing such cases. "First, courts should carefully assess whether the asserted legislative purpose warrants the significant step of involving the President and his papers. '[O]ccasion[s] for constitutional confrontation between the two branches' should be avoided whenever possible.'. . . Congress may not rely on the President's information if other sources could reasonably provide Congress the information it needs in light of its particular legislative objective. The President's unique constitutional position means that Congress may not look to him as a 'case study' for general legislation. . . . Unlike in criminal proceedings, where '[t]he very integrity of the judicial system' would be undermined without 'full disclosure of all the facts,' . . . efforts to craft legislation involve predictive policy judgments that are 'not hamper[ed] . . . in quite the same way' when every scrap of potentially relevant evidence is not available. . . . While we certainly recognize Congress's important interests in obtaining information through appropriate inquiries, those interests are not sufficiently powerful to justify access to the President's personal papers when other sources could provide Congress the information it needs. Second, to narrow the scope of possible conflict between the branches, courts should insist on a subpoena no broader than reasonably necessary to support Congress's legislative objective. The specificity of the subpoena's request 'serves as an important safeguard against unnecessary intrusion into the operation of the Office of the President.' Third, courts should be attentive to the nature of the evidence offered by Congress to establish that a subpoena advances a valid legislative purpose. The more detailed and substantial the evidence of Congress's legislative purpose, the better. . . . That is particularly true when Congress contemplates legislation that raises sensitive constitutional issues, such as legislation concerning the Presidency. In such cases, it is 'impossible' to conclude that a subpoena is designed to advance a valid legislative purpose unless Congress adequately identifies its aims and explains why the President's information will advance its consideration of the possible legislation. . . . Fourth, courts should be careful to assess the burdens imposed on the President by a subpoena. We have held that burdens on the President's time and attention stemming from judicial process and litigation, without more, generally do not cross constitutional lines. . . . But burdens imposed by a congressional subpoena should be carefully scrutinized, for they stem from a rival political branch that has an ongoing relationship with the President and incentives to use subpoenas for institutional advantage. Id. at 19-20.
   Read the Trump v. Vance opinion.
   Read the Trump v. Mazars Opinion.

Ruling from Supreme Court on Oklahoma Native American Lands "Holds the Government to Its Word"
July 9, 2020. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court has said that for purposes of the Major Crimes Act the Creek Nation's land claims remain "Indian Country." Chief Justice Roberts wrote a dissent joined by Justices Alito, Kavanaugh, and Thomas. Justice Thomas also filed a separate dissent. Justice Gorsuch wrote for the majority: "On the far end of the Trail of Tears was a promise. Forced to leave their ancestral lands in Georgia and Alabama, the Creek Nation received assurances that their new lands in the West would be secure forever. . . . The government further promised that '[no] State or Territory [shall] ever have a right to pass laws for the government of such Indians, but they shall be allowed to govern themselves.'. . . Today we are asked whether the land these treaties promised remains an Indian reservation for purposes of federal criminal law. Because Congress has not said otherwise, we hold the government to its word." Slip op. at 1. This case arose from appeals by Jimcy McGirt, an enrolled member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, of convictions in state courts under state law. He asserted that his crimes were committed on the Creek Reservation and therefore, under the federal Major Crimes Act, he could only be prosecuted in federal court. Thus, the Court said, the key question is whether he committed the crimes "in Indian country." Id. at 2. However, this case is about something considerably larger than this particular defendant's criminal convictions. Gorsuch explained that the Creek Nation came into the case as amicus curiae because it implicates Creek land claims in what is today Oklahoma. Gorsuch went on to focus on those larger claims as to the treaty obligations of land under Creek governance. "While there can be no question that Congress established a reservation for the Creek Nation, it's equally clear that Congress has since broken more than a few of its promises to the Tribe. Not least, the land described in the parties' treaties, once undivided and held by the Tribe, is now fractured into pieces. While these pieces were initially distributed to Tribe members, many were sold and now belong to persons unaffiliated with the Nation. So in what sense, if any, can we say that the Creek Reservation persists today? To determine whether a tribe continues to hold a reservation, there is only one place we may look: the Acts of Congress." Id. at 6-7. After a lengthy treatment of the history and the state's arguments about the land, the Court found: "But whatever the confluence of reasons, in all this history there simply arrived no moment when any Act of Congress dissolved the Creek Tribe or disestablished its reservation." Id. at 17.
   The Court went on to make a much larger point and one that has often been at the heart of contemporary arguments over Native American land and sovereignty claims. "How much easier it would be, after all, to let the State proceed as it has always assumed it might. But just imagine what it would mean to indulge that path. A State exercises jurisdiction over Native Americans with such persistence that the practice seems normal. Indian landowners lose their titles by fraud or otherwise in sufficient volume that no one remembers whose land it once was. All this continues for long enough that a reservation that was once beyond doubt becomes questionable, and then even farfetched. Sprinkle in a few predictions here, some contestable commentary there, and the job is done, a reservation is disestablished. None of these moves would be permitted in any other area of statutory interpretation, and there is no reason why they should be permitted here. That would be the rule of the strong, not the rule of law." Id. at 28. In the end, though, the Court warns that its ruling only deals with the definition of Indian Country for purposes of the Major Crimes Act. Id. at 39-40. Gorsuch concluded the majority opinion by noting that: "The federal government promised the Creek a reservation in perpetuity. Over time, Congress has diminished that reservation. It has sometimes restricted and other times expanded the Tribe's authority. But Congress has never withdrawn the promised reservation. As a result, many of the arguments before us today follow a sadly familiar pattern. Yes, promises were made, but the price of keeping them has become too great, so now we should just cast a blind eye. We reject that thinking. If Congress wishes towithdraw its promises, it must say so. Unlawful acts, performed long enough and with sufficient vigor, are never enough to amend the law. To hold otherwise would be to elevate the most brazen and longstanding injustices over the law, both rewarding wrong and failing those in the right." Id. at 42.
   Read the Opinion.

Universities Challenge Newest Trump Administration Policy on International Students
July 2, 2020. Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have filed suit in the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts against the new ICE policy announced yesterday, alleging a number of violations of the Administrative Procedure Act. For more information and the complaint, see the Refugees and Immigrants page of this website.

Federal District Court Orders Shutdown of Dakota Access Pipeline
July 7, 2020. Judge James E. Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia yesterday issued a ruling in Standing Rock Sioux Tribe v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, ordering shutdown of the Dakota Access Pipeline. For more information and the opinion, see the Sustainable Development page of this website.

ICE Issues Restrictions on Student Visas in Schools Using Online Courses During COVID-19 Pandemic
July 7, 2020. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued an announcement yesterday entitled "SEVP modifies temporary exemptions for nonimmigrant students taking online courses during fall 2020 semester," warning that those attending university using only online courses during the pandemic in the fall face a loss of their visa status. For the full announcement, see the Refugees and Immigrants page of this website.

District Court Vacates Trump Administration Asylum Rule
July 2, 2020. Judge Timothy J. Kelly of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has vacated a rule issued by the Trump administration in 2019 that required asylum seekers to demonstrate that they first applied for asylum in another country before a claim would be processed at the U.S. southern border. For more information and the opinion, see the Immigrants and Refugees page of this website.

Supreme Court Denies Habeas Corpus Hearing Rights to Asylum Seekers
June 26, 2020. Justice Samuel Alito has written an opinion for four other members of the Court overturning a decision of the Ninth Circuit that the denial of the opportunity for habeas corpus consideration for asylum seekers facing expedited removal was an unconstitutional suspension of habeas corpus. For more information and the opinion, see the Refugees and Immigrants page of this website.

D.C. Circuit Panel Directs Dismissal of Flynn Prosecution
June 26, 2020. Judge Naomi Rao issued an opinion for a panel of the D.C. Circuit in In re Michael T. Flynn requiring the district court to grant the motion to dismiss the case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Flynn had twice admitted his guilt and was awaiting sentencing when the Attorney General directed action by the Department of Justice to dismiss the prosecution. The district court judge was considering whether to grant that motion in light of the unprecedented process used by the DOJ in the case. However, Judge Rao wrote a sharply worded critism of the district court and directed dismissal.
   Judge Wilkins wrote a strong dissent arguing that the behavior of the court of appeals was unprecedented and inappropriate. He wrote "It is a great irony that, in finding the District Court to have exceeded its jurisdiction, this Court so grievously oversteps its own. This appears to be the first time that we have issued a writ of mandamus to compel a district court to rule in a particular manner on a motion without first giving the lower court a reasonable opportunity to issue its own ruling; the first time any court has held that a district court must grant “leave of court” pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 48(a) without even holding a hearing on the merits of the motion; and the first time we have issued the writ even though the petitioner has an adequate alternative remedy, on the theory that another party would not have had an adequate alternate remedy if it had filed a petition as well. Any one of these is sufficient reason to exercise our discretion to deny the petition; together, they compel its rejection." Dissent at 1.
   Read the Opinion.

Supreme Court Finds Trump Administration Termination of "Dreamers" Policy Arbitrary and Capricious
June 18, 2020. Writing for the Supreme Court majority, Chief Justice Roberts wrote that the Trump administration's actions rescinding the DACA policy (more commonly known as the Dreamers program was arbitary and capricious in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. For the opinion and more information, see the Refugees and Immigrants page of this website.

Supreme Court Rules Title VII Does Cover Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
June 15, 2020. The U.S. Supreme Cour today ruled 6-3 (Alito dissenting joined by Thomas and Justice Kavanaugh also filed a dissent) that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does provide protection against discrimination by employers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The opinion was written by Justice Gorsuch. The opinion consolidates the Clayton County case, the Altitude Express case, and the Harris Funeral Homes case. Gorsuch wrote: "In Title VII, Congress adopted broad language making it illegal for an employer to rely on an employee’s sex when deciding to fire that employee. We do not hesitate to recognize today a necessary consequence of that legislative choice: An employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender defies the law." Bostock v. Clayton County, Slip op. at 33. For more information on the cases and the Supreme Court opinion itself, see the Civil Rights page of this website.

CRS Study of the Posse Comitatus Act on Legal Barriers to Use of Federal Troops Within the U.S.
June 2, 2020. Given the President's recent statements and the role apparently played by military helicopters and troops in Washington D.C., there is interest in understanding the Posse Comitatus Act that restricts the use of federal troops for domestic law enforcement and other purposes. The Congressional Research Service provided a report to Congress in 2018 entitled "The Posse Comitatus Act and Related Matters: The Use of the Military to Execute Civilian Law." The report also discusses the Insurrection Act and other means presidents have used to avoid the restrictions of the Posse Comitatus Act.
   Read the Report.

New Executive Order Targets Social Media
May 29, 2020. President Trump has issued an executive order targeting social media companies and, in so doing, made clear that it was in respomse to Twitter fact-checking postings. This reaction came after Twitter fact-checked some of Mr. Trump's tweets. The president's remarks on the signing the order indicate that his "executive order further instructs the Federal Trade Commission" to take action. Of course, both the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission, which are the two agencies that have regulatory authority in the area, are independent regulatory commissions and the president does not have the authority to direct their actions. He can request that they look into issues or problems, but he has not authority to compel them to do so.
   Read the Executive Order.
   Read the President's Remarks on Signing the Order.

Federal District Court Strikes Florida Felon Voting Law
May 25, 2020. Judge Robert Hinkle of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida issued a 125 page opinion yesterday striking down provisions of a Florida statute, SB7066, requiring inter alia, that even if felons have served any prison sentence, they still cannot vote until they have paid any fees, fines, costs, or restitution involved in the case. Hinkle started from the premise that: "When a state decides to restore the right to vote to some felons but not others, the state must comply with the United States Constitution, including the First, Fourteenth, Fifteenth, Nineteenth, and Twenty-Fourth Amendments. It is no answer to say, as the State does, that a felon has no right to vote at all, so a state can restore the right to vote or not in the state’s unfettered discretion. Both the Supreme Court and the Eleventh Circuit have squarely rejected that assertion." Jones v. DeSantis, at 32. Although there was a dispute as to the level of scrutiny, Judge Hinkle found that the statute failed on even the lowest level, rational basis standard. "First, as applied to those who are unable to pay, the pay-to-vote system is subject to heightened scrutiny and fails. Second, as applied to those who are unable to pay, the pay-to-vote system fails even rational-basis scrutiny. Third, if as-applied challenges are not available to a subset of those affected by a provision that is subject to only rational-basis scrutiny, the pay-to-vote system still fails, because the system is irrational as applied to the mine-run of affected felons and thus is irrational as a whole." Id. at 43-44.
   Read the Opinion.

Most Recent Round of COVID-19 Legislation Becomes Law
April 27, 2020. Congress has passed and the President has signed H.R. 266 the "Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act" which is now P.L. 116-139. The new legislation added some $322 billion in additional spending for the programs involved.
   Although President Trump rejected key provisions of the CARES Act concerning inspectors general, the legislation also contained mandates for the U.S. Government Accountability Office to maintain oversight over expenditures under the legislation and report to Congress on a regular bases. The GAO has announced its intentions to carry forward with that work. In its press release on the subject, GAO indicated. "The CARES Act requires GAO to issue a report on its oversight of CARES Act spending 90 days after enactment; issue bi-monthly reports through the first year; and conduct oversight of the programs covered by the CARES Act, Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act." In that same press release, GAO announced: "GAO's FraudNet Hotline Ready to Help Combat Fraud Under COVID-19 Assistance" and said: "'The public can play a critical role in helping to identify improper activities or weaknesses in programs that warrant scrutiny. And FraudNet can play an important role in alerting GAO, potentially early on, to questionable uses of CARES Act funds,' said Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States and head of the GAO. 'The Act has set aside over two trillion dollars to address the public health emergency and related economic impacts. Experience tells us that the risk of fraud and abuse grows when large sums are spent quickly, eligibility requirements are being established or changed, and new programs created.' Dodaro added. To report allegations of fraud, waste, and abuse, the public can visit the FraudNet website at http://www.gao.gov/fraudnet. Although the website is the preferred reporting method, allegations can also be sent by e-mail to fraud@gao.gov or by calling 1-800-424-5454 (an automated phone answering system)." The GAO, of course, works directly for Congress and is not part of the executive branch.
   Read P.L. 116-139.
   Read the GAO press release on oversight.
   Read the President's Statement on Signing H.R. 748 the CARES Act.

CDC and WHO Continue to Release Daily Updates and other Key Sources for Current Status on COVID-19
April 10, 2020. The most commonly used websites for key health information on the COVID-19 pandemic are the World Health Organization (WHO) website, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and, each state's lead health agency website.
   Access the CDC COVID-19 Website.
   Access the WHO COVID-19 Website.

President Trump Issues Signing Statement that Seeks to Constrain Transparency Provisions of the Coronavirus Response (CARE) Act
March 27, 2020. On Friday evening, after signing the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, President Trump issued a Presidential Signing Statement that seeks to constrain the transparency requirements for the expenditure of the funds provided in the act. His statement reads in part: "Section 15010(c)(3)(B) of Division B of the Act purports to require the Chairperson of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency to consult with members of the Congress regarding the selection of the Executive Director and Deputy Executive Director for the newly formed Pandemic Response Accountability Committee. The Committee is an executive branch entity charged with conducting and coordinating oversight of the Federal Government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. I anticipate that the Chairperson will be able to consult with members of the Congress with respect to these hiring decisions and will welcome their input. But a requirement to consult with the Congress regarding executive decision-making, including with respect to the President’s Article II authority to oversee executive branch operations, violates the separation of powers by intruding upon the President's power and duty to supervise the staffing of the executive branch under Article II, section 1 (vesting the President with the “executive Power”) and Article II, section 3 (instructing the President to "take Care" that the laws are faithfully executed). Accordingly, my Administration will treat this provision as hortatory but not mandatory. Section 4018 of Division A of the Act establishes a new Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery (SIGPR) within the Department of the Treasury to manage audits and investigations of loans and investments made by the Secretary of the Treasury under the Act. Section 4018(e)(4)(B) of the Act authorizes the SIGPR to request information from other government agencies and requires the SIGPR to report to the Congress "without delay" any refusal of such a request that “in the judgment of the Special Inspector General” is unreasonable. I do not understand, and my Administration will not treat, this provision as permitting the SIGPR to issue reports to the Congress without the presidential supervision required by the Take Care Clause, Article II, section 3."
   Read the Statement on Signing H.R. 748 the CARES Act.
   Read the Bill as Passed in the Senate on March 25.

House Has Senate-Passed Coronavirus Response (CARE) Act
March 27, 2020. The Senate has passed and sent to the House H.R. 748 which is known under the Senate Amendments as the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or the "CARES Act" which is the $2.2 trillion package, now the third major piece of coronavirus response legislation. The House leadership has promised action as early as today on the bill. The previous two bills have been signed by the president. The second bill now was P.L. 116-127 Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the first was P.L. 116-123 the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020."
   Read the Bill as Passed in the Senate on March 25.
   Read P.L. 116-127 the Families First Coronavirus Response Act as an enrolled bill.
   Read P.L. 116-123 the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020.

Recent Policy Actions from Congress and the White House on COVID-19 Virus Pandemic
March 19, 2020. The Congress sent H.R. 6201 the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to the White House yesterday and the president signed it into law this morning. In addition, President Trump has issued a number of proclamations, executive orders, and presidential memorandum.
   Read H.R.6201 Families First Coronavirus Response Act as an enrolled bill.
   Read the March 18 Executive Order "Prioritizing and Allocating Health and Medical Resources to Respond to the Spread of Covid-19."
   Read Proclamation 9996 "Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus."
   Read Presidential Memorandum of March 18 "Expanding State-Approved Diagnostic Tests."
   Read Presidential Proclamation 9994 of March 13 Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID–19) Outbreak.
   Read Presidential Memorandum of March 13 "Expanding State-Approved Diagnostic Tests."
   Read Presidential Proclamation 9993 of March 11 "Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus."
   Read Memorandum of March 11 "Memorandum on Making General Use Respirators Available."

Court of Federal Claims Issues Injunction Against U.S. in JEDI Contract Bid Protest by Amazon
March 7, 2020. Judge Patricia E. Campbell-Smith of the Court of Federal Claims has blocked federal officials from moving forward with its so-called "Services Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure ("JEDI") contract, a massive defense department contract for cloud computing services, awarded to Microsoft Corporation. This ruling addresses one of the technical bases on which Amazon protested the JEDI bid. The court has not yet dealt with the claim that the award to Microsoft rather than Amazon Web Services was "the result of improper pressure from President Donald J. Trump . .. to harm his perceived political enemy-Jeffrey P. Bezos, founder and CEO of AWS's parent company, Amazon.com, Inc. ("Amazon"), and owner of the Washington Post." Amazon Web Services v. United States, Complaint, at 2. For more information and relevant documents, see the Public Contract Management page of this website.

Federal District Court Will Conduct a Review of the Unredacted Version of the Mueller Report in FOIA Suit
March 6, 2020. Judge Reggie B. Walton of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued an opinion yesterday in Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) v. U.S. Department of Justice, requiring the U.S. Department of Justice to provide him with the unredacted Mueller report so that the court can determine whether the DOJ refusal to release the report in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests was justified by the exemptions to disclosure provided in the FOIA. Judge Walter explained that: "[T]he Court has reviewed the redacted version of the Mueller Report, Attorney General Barr's representations made during his April 18, 2019 press conference, and Attorney General Barr's April 18, 2019 letter. And, the Court cannot reconcile certain public representations made by Attorney General Barr with the findings in the Mueller Report. The inconsistencies between Attorney General Barr's statements, made at a time when the public did not have access to the redacted version of the Mueller Report to assess the veracity of his statements, and portions of the redacted version of the Mueller Report that conflict with those statements cause the Court to seriously question whether Attorney General Barr made a calculated attempt to influence public discourse about the Mueller Report in favor of President Trump despite certain findings in the redacted version of the Mueller Report to the contrary. These circumstances generally, and Attorney General Barr's lack of candor specifically, call into question Attorney General Barr's credibility and in turn, the Department's representation that 'all of the information redacted from the version of the [Mueller] Report released by [ ] Attorney General [Barr]' is protected from disclosure by its claimed FOIA exemptions. . . . In the Court's view, Attorney General Barr's representation that the Mueller Report would be 'subject only to those redactions required by law or by compelling law enforcement, national security, or personal privacy interests' cannot be credited without the Court's independent verification in light of Attorney General Barr's conduct and misleading public statements about the findings in the Mueller Report . . . and it would be disingenuous for the Court to conclude that the redactions of the Mueller Report pursuant to the FOIA are not tainted by Attorney General Barr's actions and representations." Id. at 19-20. In addition to EPIC v. DOJ opinion, and in order to provide additional context and information, the related documents are provided below. See also the post on this webpage for May 8, 2019.
   Read the Memorandum Opinion in EPIC v. DOJ.
   Read the Special Counsel Mueller's letter to Attorney General Barr of March 27, 2019.
   Read the Redacted Version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Report as Released by Attorney General Barr.
   Read Attorney General William Barr's Summary for Congress of the Mueller Report Conclusions, March 24, 2019.
   Read Attorney General William Barr's Remarks on the Release of the Report of the Special Counsel.

Idaho Federal Magistrate Blocks Trump Administration Policy on Oil and Gas Leases in Sage Grouse Territory
February 28, 2020.Chief Magistrate Judge Ronald E. Bush of the U.S. District Court for Idaho yesterday issued a preliminary injunction against oil and gas leases under a Trump administration Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Instruction Memorandum of January 2018 in a case brought by the Western Watershes Project of the Center for Biological Diversity aimed at protection of Sage Grouse habitat. The opinion finds that the 2018 IM failed to provide notice and comment process and the judge therefore ordered the 2010 policy reinstated pending a proper process to change it by BLM. For more information and relevant documents see the Sustainable Development page of this website.

DOD Considers New Policies on Artificial Intelligence
Feburary 24, 2020. One part of the current discussion of the dramatically increasing role of artificial intelligence in contemporary policy and governance is an effort by the Defense Innovation Board (DIB) on behalf of the Department of Defense (DOD) to develop a set of policy proposals, the most recent of which is "AI Principles: Recommendations on the Ethical Use of Artificial Intelligence by the Department of Defense." This set of recommendations was accompanied by the "Support Document," providing the foundation work on the basis of which the recommendations were developed. These documents are part of what DIB calls its "AI Principles Project." The "AI Principles" document sets forth the foundation statement that: "[T]he Department should set the goal that its use of AI systems is: "1. Responsible. Human beings should exercise appropriate levels of judgment and remain responsible for the development, deployment, use, and outcomes of DoD AI systems. 2. Equitable. DoD should take deliberate steps to avoid unintended bias in the development and deployment of combat or non-combat AI systems that would inadvertently cause harm to persons. 3. Traceable. DoD's AI engineering discipline should be sufficiently advanced such that technical experts possess an appropriate understanding of the technology, development processes, and operational methods of its AI systems, including transparent and auditable methodologies, data sources, and design procedure and documentation. 4. Reliable. DoD AI systems should have an explicit, well-defined domain of use, and the safety, security, and robustness of such systems should be tested and assured across their entire life cycle within that domain of use. 5. Governable. DoD AI systems should be designed and engineered to fulfill their intended function while possessing the ability to detect and avoid unintended harm or disruption, and for human or automated disengagement or deactivation of deployed systems that demonstrate unintended escalatory or other behavior." "AI Principles" at 8.
   Read AI Principles.
   Read the AI Principles Support Document.
   Access the Defense Innovation Board's AI Principles Project.
   DOD Joint Artificial Intelligence Center.

Stanford and New York University Researchers Publish New Report on Artificial Intelligence in Federal Agencies as Part of Administrative Conference of the United States Project
February 19, 2020. Professors David Freeman Engstrom, Stanford University, Daniel E. Ho, Stanford University, Catherine M. Sharkey, New York University, and Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, Stanford University and Supreme Court of California have completed a report for the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) entitled Government by Algorithm: Artificial Intelligence in Federal Administrative Agencies. This report is part of an initiative launched by ACUS aimed at "exploring the growing role that artificial intelligence (AI), such as machine learning and related techniques, is playing in federal agency adjudication, rulemaking, and other regulatory activities.exploring the growing role that artificial intelligence (AI), such as machine learning and related techniques, is playing in federal agency adjudication, rulemaking, and other regulatory activities." (ACUS website) The report provides a number of case studies in very different policy domains involving a range of federal agencies. They include: "Regulatory Enforcement at the Securities and Exchange Commission; Law Enforcement at Customs and Border Protection; Formal Adjudication at the Social Security Administration; Informal Adjudication at the United States Patent and Trademark Office; Regulatory Analysis at the Food and Drug Administration; Public Engagement at the Federal Communications Commission and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; and Autonomous Vehicles for Mail Delivery at the United States Postal Service."
   This report comes just after the Trump administration took action to accelerate the development and implementation of artificial intelligence systems and programs. These actions are described below in the posting for January 10.
   Read the Report.
   Access the ACUS Webpage on the AI Project.
   Access the ACUS website.

Justice Department Launches Civil Actions Against Companies that Provide Robocalling Capabilities to Criminal Organizations
January 30, 2020. The U.S. Department of Justice has taken what it calls a "First of its Kind" enforcement action against what DOJ described as "U.S. telecom carriers who facilitated hundreds of millions of fraudulent robocalls to American consumers." In explaining its action, DOJ wrote: "The Department of Justice filed civil actions for temporary restraining orders today in two landmark cases against five companies and three individuals allegedly responsible for carrying hundreds of millions of fraudulent robocalls to American consumers, the Department of Justice announced. The Department of Justice alleges that the companies were warned numerous times that they were carrying fraudulent robocalls--including government--and business-imposter calls--and yet continued to carry those calls and facilitate foreign-based fraud schemes targeting Americans. The calls, most of which originated in India, led to massive financial losses to elderly and vulnerable victims across the nation." . . . The two cases announced today contain similar allegations. The defendants in one case are Ecommerce National LLC d/b/a TollFreeDeals.com; SIP Retail d/b/a sipretail.com; and their owner/operators, Nicholas Palumbo, 38, and Natasha Palumbo, 33, of Scottsdale, Arizona. The defendants in the other case include Global Voicecom Inc., Global Telecommunication Services Inc., KAT Telecom Inc., aka IP Dish, and their owner/operator, Jon Kahen, 45, of Great Neck, New York. In each case, the Department of Justice sought an order immediately halting the defendants' transmission of unlawful robocall traffic. A federal court has entered a temporary restraining order against the Global Voicecom defendants." Press release.
   Read the Complaint in U.S. v. Polumbo.
   Read the Complaint in U.S. v. Kahen.
   Read the Temporary Restraining Order issued against Global Voicecom.
   Read DOJ Press Release on the Cases.
   Access the Justice Department Graphic that Explains How these Calls Work.
   Access the Justice Department Graphic showing the Calling in One Month.

Trump Administration Proposes Changing Federal Policy on Grants and Grants Management
January 28, 2020. The Office of Management and Budget has announced a major set of changes in Grants policy and administration to conform to the priorities laid out in the President's Management Agenda issued by the Trump administration in March 2018. The administration also indicated that the new policy would comply with the Grant Reporting Efficiency and Agreements Transparency Act signed into law in December.
   Government Executive magazine, in an article by Courtney Bublé, described a number of the changes and provided some comments from those who have review the proposed guidance.
   Read the Propsed OMB Guidance as published in the Federal Register.
   Read the President's Management Agenda.
   Read the Grant Reporting Efficiency and Agreements Transparency Act of 2019.
   Read the Bublé article in Government Executive.

USDA Proposes to Roll Back Obama Era Nutrition Requirements for School Meals
January 22, 2020. The US Department of Agriculture announced on January 17 that its Food and Nutrition Service was issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking to change the nutritional requirements for school meals. The proposed rules roll back increased school meal nutrition requirements issued by the Obama administration in 2012, implementing the provisions of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. This action follows rule changes in 2018 issued by the Trump administration, reducing other restrictions from the Obama era related to milk, whole grains, and sodium restrictions in school meals. For more information and the relevant documents, see the Health Care, Disability, and Development page of this website.

GAO Finds that President Trump's Withholding of Urkraine Security Assistance Violated the Law and was a Failure to Faithfully Execute the Law
January 16, 2020. The U.S. has issued a decision "In the Matter of Office of Management and Budget--Withholding of Ukraine Security Assistance," B-331564, finding that: "In the summer of 2019, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) withheld from obligation funds appropriated to the Department of Defense (DOD) for security assistance to Ukraine. In order to withhold the funds, OMB issued a series of nine apportionment schedules with footnotes that made all unobligated balances unavailable for obligation. Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law. OMB withheld funds for a policy reason, which is not permitted under the Impoundment Control Act (ICA). The withholding was not a programmatic delay. Therefore, we conclude that OMB violated the ICA." Decision at 1.
   In reading its conclusion, GAO explained: "The Constitution specifically vests Congress with the power of the purse, providing that 'No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.' U.S. Const. art. I, § 9, cl. 7. The Constitution also vests all legislative powers in Congress and sets forth the procedures of bicameralism and presentment, through which the President may accept or veto a bill passed by both Houses of Congress, and Congress may subsequently override a presidential veto. Id., art. I, § 7, cl. 2, 3. The President is not vested with the power to ignore or amend any such duly enacted law. See Clinton v. City of New York, 524 U.S. 417, 438 (1998) (the Constitution does not authorize the President 'to enact, to amend, or to repeal statutes'). Instead, he must 'faithfully execute' the law as Congress enacts it. U.S. Const., art. II, § 3. An appropriations act is a law like any other; therefore, unless Congress has enacted a law providing otherwise, the President must take care to ensure that appropriations are prudently obligated during their period of availability. . . . The Constitution grants the President no unilateral authority to withhold funds from obligation. . . . Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law. In fact, Congress was concerned about exactly these types of withholdings when it enacted and later amended the ICA." Id. at 5-7
   GAO was also frustrated by the administration's unwillingness to provide important information and concluded that those actions raise serious constiutional issues. "OMB and State have failed, as of yet, to provide the information we need to fulfill our duties under the ICA regarding potential impoundments of FMF funds. . . . We consider a reluctance to provide a fulsome response to have constitutional significance. GAO's role under the ICA--to provide information and legal analysis to Congress as it performs oversight of executive activity--is essential to ensuring respect for and allegiance to Congress' constitutional power of the purse. All federal officials and employees take an oath to uphold and protect the Constitution and its core tenets, including the congressional power of the purse." Id. at 9.
   Read the Decision

Federal District Blocks Trump Administration Order Allowing States to Refuse Refugees
January 16, 2020. Judge Peter J. Messitte of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland yesterday issued a preliminary injunction blocking implementation of President Trump's Executive Order 13888 issued in September, 84 Fed. Reg. 52,355 (September 26, 2019), that permitted that announced that "[T]he Federal Government .. . should resettle refugees only in those jurisdictions in which both the State and local governments have consented to receive refugees under the Department of State’s Reception and Placement Program." §1.It then mandated, in part, that "the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall develop and implement a process to determine whether the State and locality both consent, in writing, to the resettlement of refugees within the State and locality, before refugees are resettled within that State and locality under the Program." §2 That allowed states, of course, to withhold consent and Texas promptly announced its intentions to block refugee resettlement in the state. The case HIAS v. Trump, was brought in November by three organizations that provide refugee resettlement assistance, HIAS, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, and Church World Service, represented by the International Assistance Project. For more information and key documents, see the Refugees and Immigrants page of this website.

Virginia Legislature Has Voted to Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
January 15, 2020. The Virginia House of Delegates today voted 59-41 to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. The Senate has also voted to ratify 28-12 the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution first sent to the states in 1972. This is the last state required in order to add the amendment to the Constitution. However, the U.S. Department of Justice issued an Office of Legal Counsel opinion over the signature of Assistant Attorney General General Steven Engel on January 6, asserting that ratification by the state would have no effect since the proposed amendment failed to gain the necessary votes during the period allowed by Congress for ratification. For more information and the key documents, see the Civil Rights page of this website.

House of Representatives Passes Resolution Against Presidential Military Action Against Iran
January 10, 2020. The U.S. House of Representatives voted 224-194 yesterday in favor of H. Con. Res. 83, stating: "Pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1544(c)), Congress hereby directs the President to terminate the use of United States Armed Forces to engage in hostilities in or against Iran or any part of its government or military, unless—(1) Congress has declared war or enacted specific statutory authorization for such use of the Armed Forces; or (2) such use of the Armed Forces is necessary and appropriate to defend against an imminent armed attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its Armed Forces, consistent with the requirements of the War Powers Resolution." The resolution now goes to the Senate.
   Read H. Con. Res. 83.
   Read the War Powers Resolution 50 U.S.C. §§1541-1549.

Trump Administration Warns Agencies to Avoid "Burdensome" Regulation of Artificial Intelligence and Promote the Technology
January 10, 2020.The Trump administration took action this week to accelerate the development and implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) systems and programs by moving to limit regulatory efforts and encourage data-sharing by federal agencies. The Trump action came in the form of an announcement of the initiative by U.S. Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios in an op-ed in Bloomberg Opinion on January 7 and released on the same day of a draft OMB guideline for administrative agencies setting forth the new policy.
   The OMB document entitled "Guidance for Regulation of Artificial Intelligence Applications" goes well beyond the language Kratsios used in the Bloomberg piece, in which he indicated that the regulatory agencies were to take a "light touch" approach. The OMB guidance calls for active facilitation of AI programs and business enterprise activity through reduced regulatory limitations, active promotion of AI developments, expanded data sharing, and action to preempt steps by state governments that might inhibit AI development and expanded use in government programs and policies. The announced intention of the OMB action is to implement aggressively the provisions of Executive Order 13859 issued by President Trump in February 2019 entitled "Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence," 84 Fed. Reg. 3967 (February 14, 2019).
   The OMB policy also relies on portions of P.L. 115-232, the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2019. Section 238 of that statute concerns "Joint artificial intelligence research, development, and transition activities" and Section 1051 creates a "National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence."
   The OMB draft explains: "This draft Memorandum sets out policy considerations that should guide, to the extent permitted by law, regulatory and non-regulatory oversight of AI applications developed and deployed outside of the Federal government. Although Federal agencies currently use AI in many ways to perform their missions, government use of AI is outside the scope of this Memorandum. While this Memorandum uses the definition of AI recently codified in statute, [citing P.L. 115-232] it focuses on 'narrow' (also known as 'weak') AI, which goes beyond advanced conventional computing to learn and perform domain-specific or specialized tasks by extracting information of the potential regulation on AI innovation and growth. Agencies must avoid a precautionary approach that holds AI systems to such an impossibly high standard that society cannot enjoy their benefits. Where AI entails risk, agencies should consider the potential benefits and costs of employing AI, when compared to the systems AI has been designed to complement or replace." The guidances goes on to stress that: "Furthermore, in the context of AI, as in other settings, agencies must consider the effect of Federal regulation on existing or potential actions by State and local governments. In some circumstances, agencies may use their authority to address inconsistent, burdensome, and from data sets, or other structured or unstructured sources of information. More theoretical applications of 'strong' or 'general' AI-AI that may exhibit sentience or consciousness, can be applied to a wide variety of cross-domain activities and perform at the level of, or better than a human agent, or has the capacity to self-improve its general cognitive abilities similar to or beyond human capabilities-are beyond the scope of this Memorandum." Guidance at 1-2.
   As part of its efforts to promote AI in government and beyond the White House has created a specific website on the initiative.
   Although the administration has been actively promoting AI work with government, including this week's op-ed by Mr. Kratsios, reporting by Brandi Vincent in NextGov brought wider attention to the initiative and the new OMB guidance document.
   Read the OIRA Draft Guidance.
   Read Executive Order 13859.
   Read P.L. 115-232 the McCain Nat. Def. Authorization Act 2019.
   Read the Kratsios op-ed in Bloomberg.
   Access the White House "Artificial Intelligence for the American People" website.
   Read the Vincent article in Nextgov.

Fifth Circuit Panel Declares ACA Individual Mandate Unconstitutional
December 19, 2019. Writing for a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod declared: "[T]he individual mandate is unconstitutional because it can no longer be read as a tax, and there is no other constitutional provision that justified this exercise of congressional power." Texas v. United States, at 3. However, in so doing, the panel refused to find that this ruling would mean the end of the ACA because the individual mandate is not severable from the rest of the statute. On that issue, she wrote: "[O]n the severability question, we remand to the district court to provide additional analysis of the provisions of the ACA as they currently exist." Id. That said, the district court previous concluded that the individual mandate is "entirely inseverable." Texas v. United States, Northern District of Texas, December 30, 2018, Order Granting Stay and Partial Final Judgment at 24. For more information and key documents, see the Health Care, Disability, and Development page of this website

States and Advocacy Groups Renew Litigation Against EPA Refusal to Ban the Pesticide Chlorpyrifos
December 18, 2019. The New York Attorney General, joined by California, Washington, Maryland, Vermont, Hawaii, Oregon, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia has renewed the attack on the EPA refusal to ban chlorpyrifos along with a similar petition filed by Earthjustice on behalf of the League of United Latin American Citizens, the Pesticide Action Network of North American, and nine other advocacy groups. For the relevant documents for this and previous efforts to ban to chemical see the Sustainable Development page of this website.

House Judiciary Committee Issues Report on Articles of Impeachment
December 16, 2019. The House Judiciary Committee has issued its report on the articles of impeachment as amended and adopted by the committee in preparation for the floor vote scheduled for later this week. The 658 page report, H. Rept. 116-346, explains the basis for and committee action on R.Res. 755 "Impeaching Donald John Trump, President of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors."
   Read the House Judiciary Committee Report on Articles of Impeachment.
   Read the H.Res. 755, Articles of Impeachment.

House Judiciary Committee Schedules Markup for Articles of Impeachment
December 11, 2019. The House Judiciary Committee has schedule a markup hearing for the draft articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump this evening.
   Read the House Judiciary Committee Draft Articles of Impeachment.

District Court in Texas is the Latest to Issue Injunction Against Use of DOD Funds for Border Wall
December 11, 2019. Judge David Briones of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas is the latest judge to issue an injunction against the attempt by President Trump to use Department of Defense Funds to build portions of the border wall, this time a declaratory order and permanent injunction. For more information and key documents, see the Refugees and Immigrants page of this website.

House Judiciary Committee Releases Documents Relative to the Impeachment Hearings
December 9, 2019. The House Judiciary Committee today opens impeachment hearings on the findings of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. It has before it the report of the Intelligence Committee as well as its own staff report on grounds for impeachment of a president. Chairman Nadler has announced that the president refused to participate in the hearings through his counsel.
   Read the House Judiciary Committee Staff Report on Grounds for Impeachment.
   Read the Letter from Chairman Nadler of the Judiciary Committee on Transmission of the Intelligence Committee Report to the Judiciary Committee.
   Read the Intelligence Committee Report.

Second Circuit Affirms that Deutsche Bank and Captial One Must Turn Over Trump Financials Records
December 5, 2019. In another of the several cases involving subpoenas for President Trump's financial records from the House Committee on Financial Services and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence directed to Deutsche Bank and Capital One Financial Corporation, a panel of the Second Circuit has rejected the president's efforts to block disclosure.
   Read the Opinion.

House Intelligence Committee Issues Report on Impeachment Inquiry
November 25, 2019. The House Intelligence Committee has issued its 300 page report entitled The Trump Ukraine Impeachment Inquiry Report.
   Read the Report.

District Court Rules that Former White House Counsel Must Honor Judiciary Committee Subpoena
November 25, 2019. In a 120 page opinion, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has rejected the claim of absolute immunity from subpoena and ordered former White House Counsel Donald McGahn to appear for testimony in response to a House Judiciary Committee subpoena. The Justice Department has already filed a motion for a stay with the D.C. Circuit pending appeal.
   Read the Opinion

President's Counsel Filed for Supreme Court Review of Second Circuit Ruling Against Mr. Trump on Subpoenas for Financial Records
November 15, 2019. Following the ruling against the president by the Second Circuit with respect to a New York prosecutor's subpoena for financial records, Mr. Trump's counsel have filed a petition for certiorari seeking a Supreme Court review of that ruling. Complete information on the case in the lower courts in provided in the post for November 4 on this webpage.
   Read the Petition for Certiorari.

D.C. Circuit Rejects Trump Motion for En Banc Ruling in Congressional Subpoena Case Clearing the Way for Appeal to the Supreme Court
November 14, 2019. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has rejected a request by President Trump for a rehearing en banc (by the full court) of an October ruling by a three judge panel that refused the president's attempt to block congressional subpoenas for his financial records. That clears the way for an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. The president's attorneys have already announced their intention to take a case from the Second Circuit in New York to the high court.
   As noted in an October 11 post below, a panel of the D.C. Circuit, in an opinion by Judge Tatel, upheld a May 20 decision by the district court to reject President Trump's challenges to congressional subpoenas issued to his accounting firm. Tatel conclude: "Having considered the weighty interests at stake in this case, we conclude that the subpoena issued by the Committee to Mazars is valid and enforceable. We affirm the district court's judgment in favor of the Oversight Committee and against the Trump Plaintiffs." Judge Rao dissented.
   Read the D.C. Circuit Order Denying Reheading En Banc.
   Read the October 11 D.C. Circuit Opinion.
   Read the May 20 District Court Memorandum Opinion.

Another Effort by President Trump to Block Congressional Acquisition of Tax Records Dismissed by District Court
November 12, 2019. Judge Carl J. Nichols of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued an opinion yesterday rejecting another suit by President Trump seeking to block congressional efforts to obtain his tax returns in a case challenging a New York State statute that would require state tax authorities to hand over the tax records if requested by the House Committee on Ways and Means. The state law would also mandate that records be provided if requests were to be filed by the Committee on Finance of the U.S. Senate or the Joint Committee on Taxation. Judge Nichols found that there was no jurisdiction in the case by the District Court for the District of Columbia under the present circumstances.
   Read the Opinion and Order.

Federal District Court Strikes Down Trump Administration Rule Allowing Organizations and Providers to Refuse to Participate in Medical Programs and Services Because of Religious or Moral Objection
November 6, 2019. Judge Paul A. Engelmayer of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has issued an Opinion and Order striking down the Trump administration's so-call consience ruled issued by the Department of Health & Human Services in in May allowing organizations and individuals "to abstain from participation in medical procedures, programs, services, or research activities on account of a religious or moral objection." New York v. Health & Human Services, Opinion and Order, at 3. The rule was challenged by 19 states and a number of family planning organizations. The court "vacate[d] the rule in full." In a 147 page opinion, the judge found: "The APA [Administrative Procedure Act] violations that the Court has found, however, are numerous, fundamental, and far-reaching. The Court's finding that HHS lacked substantive rule-making authority as to three of the five principal Conscience Provisions nullifies the heart of the Rule as to these statutes. The Court's finding that the agency acted contrary to two major existing laws (Title VII and EMTALA [Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act]) vitiates substantive definitions in the Rule affecting the health care employment and emergency contexts. The Court's finding that HHS failed to give proper notice of the definition it adopted of 'discriminate or discrimination' voids that central dimension of the Rule. And the Court's finding that the Rule was promulgated arbitrarily and capriciously calls into question the validity and integrity of the rulemaking venture itself. Indeed, the Court has found that HHS's stated justification for undertaking rulemaking in the first place--a purported 'significant increase' in civilian complaints relating to the Conscience Provisions--was factually untrue." Id., at 142.
   Read the Opinion and Order.
   Read the HHS Rule of May 21, 2019.

Second Circuit Affirms District Court that Rejected President's Claim of Immunity from All Criminal Justice Process for Himself and Advisors
November 4, 2019. A panel of the Second Circuit has issued an opinion that reversed in part a district court ruling on the abstention doctrine, but affirmed its rejection of the President's assertion of an absolute immunity from enforcement of a subpoena to the President' accounting firm for delivery of financial records in a grand jury proceeding. The Second Circuit panel concludes: "Presidential immunity does not bar the enforcement of a state grand jury subpoena directing a third party to produce non-privileged material, even when the subject matter under investigation pertains to the President." Trump v. Vance, at 17. After reviewing relevant case law, the court focused particularly on the Supreme Court's unanimous rejection of President Nixon's effort to block the subpoena in the Watergate tapes case. United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683 (1974). "The President [Trump] has not persuasively explained why, if executive privilege did not preclude enforcement of the subpoena issued in Nixon, the Mazars subpoena must be enjoined despite seeking no privileged information and bearing no relation to the President's performance of his official functions.... Here, none of the materials sought by the Mazars subpoena implicates executive privilege.... Nor does the subpoena seek information regarding the President's 'action[s] taken in an official capacity.' Clinton [v. Jones, 520 U.S. 681 (1997)], at 694. The subpoena seeks only the President's private tax returns and financial information relating to the businesses he owns in his capacity as a private citizen. These documents do not implicate, in any way, the performance of his official duties. We find no support in the Nixon Court's conclusion--that even documents exposing the President's confidential, official conversations may properly be obtained by subpoena--for the proposition that a President's private and non-privileged documents may be absolutely shielded from judicial scrutiny." Id., at 20-21. Rejecting the President's demand for a privilege far broader than anything recognized to date, the panel wrote: "Although the subpoena is directed to the President's custodian, no court has ordered the President to do or produce anything. Nor has the President explained why any burden or distraction the third-party subpoena causes would rise to the level of interfering with his duty to 'faithfully execute[]' the laws, U.S. CONST. art. II, §3, or otherwise subordinate federal law in favor of a state process." Id., at 24.
   At the time of the oral argument, it was stipulated that if the Second Ciruit ruled against the President, Mr. Vance would delay action to enforce the subpoena pending an immediate expedited petition to the Supreme Court to hear the case. Chief Judge Katzmann concluded the oral argument session by indicated that he assumed that the attorneys for the parties would see each other again soon in Washington, assuming that the case would immediately move to the Supreme Court whatever the outcome in the appeals court.
   The following post information about the district court ruling was originally posted on October 11. Judge Victor Merrero has issued a decision and order rejecting President Trump's attempt to block a subpoena for financial records from one of his accounting firms. However, the decision contends that what the president claimed was an immunity far wider than the specific facts of the case would indicate. The judge wrote that his claim would involve an "absolute immunity from criminal process of any kind." ... "As presented in this proceeding, the constititional dimensions of the presidential shield from judicial process are virtually limitless." Decision and Order, at 2. The judge adds that the claim is so broad that it would "extend derivatively so as to potentially immunize the misconduct of any person, business affiliate, associate, or relative who may have collaborated with the President inpurportedly committing unlawful acts and whose offenses orindarily would warrant criminal investigation and prosecution of all involved." Id. at 3. He concludes, "This court cannot endorse such a categorical and limitless of presidential immunity from judicial process as being countenanced by the nation's constitutional plan. . . ." Id. at 4. He dismissed the president's complaint.
   Press reports indicate that attorneys for the president immediately appealed and that the Second Circuit issued a stay pending consideration of the case. That stay order has not yet been posted.
   Read the Second Circuit Opinion.
   Read the District Court "Decision and Order."

Chief Judge of Federal District Court for the District of Columbia Orders Release of Redacted Portions of Special Counsel Report with Grand Jury Materials to the House Judiciary Committee
October 25, 2019. Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has issued a memorandum opinion in In re Application of the Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. House of Representatives, for an Order Authorizing the Release of Certain Grand Jury Materials, concluding that: "The Department of Justice ('DOJ') claims that existing law bars disclosure to the Congress of grand jury information.... DOJ is wrong. In carrying out the weighty constitutional duty of determining whether impeachment of the President is warranted, Congress need not redo the nearly two years of effort spent on the Special Counsel's investigation, nor risk being misled by witnesses, who may have provided information to the grand jury and the Special Counsel that varies from what they tell HJC. As explained in more detail below, HJC’s application for an order authorizing the release to HJC of certain grand jury materials related to the Special Counsel investigation is granted. Id., at 2-3. He ordered that: "Consequently, DOJ is ordered to provide promptly, by October 30, 2019, to HJC all portions of the Mueller Report that were redacted pursuant to Rule 6(e) and any underlying transcripts or exhibits referenced in the portions of the Mueller Report that were redacted pursuant to Rule 6(e). HJC is permitted to file further requests articulating its particularized need for additional grand jury information requested in the initial application." Id., at 75.
   Read the Memorandum Opinion

U.S. Federal Magistrate Judge Sanctions Education Secretary for Contempt
October 25, 2019. U.S. Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has issued an order in Manriquez v. DeVos, imposing sanctions on Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education for contempt of court, requiring the Education Department to pay a $100,000 fine in a case challenging the Education Secretary's lack of action in response to an earlier June 2018 ruling that ordered an end to actions against students and recompense to former students of Corinthian College who had faced collection actions by the department that included withholding of tax refunds and garnishment of wages. In issuing the order, Judge Kim wrote: "Here, there is no question that Defendants violated the preliminary injunction. There is also no question that Defendants violations harmed individual borrowers who were forced to repay loans either through voluntary actions or involuntary methods (offset from tax refunds and wage garnishment) and who suffered from the adverse credit reporting. Defendants have not provided evidence that they were unable to comply with the preliminary injunction, and the evidence shows only minimal efforts to comply with the preliminary injunction. The Court therefore finds Defendants in civil contempt. The only question is the type of relief that is appropriate in this situation. The Court finds that a monetary sanction of $100,000, paid by Defendants, to a fund held by Plaintiffs' counsel, is the best method to remedy Defendants' wrongful acts. Given that there are over 16,000 borrowers who have suffered damages from Defendants' violation of the preliminary injunction and given that there may be some administrative expenses to remedy the harm, the Court finds the amount reasonable. The Court ORDERS the parties to meet and confer regarding the method by which Plaintiffs will set up the fund and administer the fund. As noted above, the Court contemplates that some portion of the fund will be used for administrative expenses. The parties must submit their proposed plan for administering the fund no later than November 15, 2019." Order at 6.
   She concluded her order: "The Court does not foreclose the possibility that, if Defendants fail to comply with preliminary injunction in a timely manner, the Court will impose additional sanctions, including the appointment of a Special Master to ensure compliance with the preliminary injunction." Id. at 8.
   Read the October 24, 2019 Sanctions Order
   Read the June 19, 2018 Order

New York State Case Against Exxon Alleging Fraud on Climate Change Risk Exposure Begins Begins
October 22, 2019. A case filed by then New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood in October 2018 against Exxon alleging fraudulent behavior by the company in the way it represented its risks as a business from climate change issues goes to trial today. Earlier this month, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy notified Exxon of her intent to file suit against he company. For more information and key documents see the Sustainable Development page of this website.

D.C. Circuit Affirms District Court Ruling Supporting Congressional Subpoenas for Trump Finacial Records
October 11, 2019. A panel of the D.C. Circuit, in an opinion by Judge Tatel, has upheld a May 20 decision by the district court to reject President Trump's challenges to congressional subpoenas issued to his accounting firm. Tatel conclude: "Having considered the weighty interests at stake in this case, we conclude that the subpoena issued by the Committee to Mazars is valid and enforceable. We affirm the district court's judgment in favor of the Oversight Committee and against the Trump Plaintiffs." Judge Rao dissented.
   Read the D.C. Circuit Opinion
   Read the May 20 District Court Memorandum Opinion.

District Court Rejects President's Claim of Immunity from All Criminal Justice Process for Himself and Advisors
October 7, 2019. Judge Victor Merrero has issued a decision and order rejecting President Trump's attempt to block a subpoena for financial records from one of his accounting firms. However, the decision contends that what the president claimed was an immunity far wider than the specific facts of the case would indicate. The judge wrote that his claim would involve an "absolute immunity from criminal process of any kind." ... "As presented in this proceeding, the constititional dimensions of the presidential shield from judicial process are virtually limitless." Decision and Order, at 2. The judge adds that the claim is so broad that it would "extend derivatively so as to potentially immunize the misconduct of any person, business affiliate, associate, or relative who may have collaborated with the President inpurportedly committing unlawful acts and whose offenses orindarily would warrant criminal investigation and prosecution of all involved." Id. at 3. He concludes, "This court cannot endorse such a categorical and limitless of presidential immunity from judicial process as being countenanced by the nation's constitutional plan. . . ." Id. at 4. He dismissed the president's complaint.
   Press reports indicate that attorneys for the president immediately appealed and that the Second Circuit issued a stay pending consideration of the case. That stay order has not yet been posted.
   Read the "Decision and Order."

D.C. Circuit Allows Trump Executive Orders on Federal Workforce Changes to Go Into Effect
October 7, 2019. The D.C. Circuit has issued a "Mandate" based upon its July 16 opinion which vacated a district court ruling for lack of jurisdiction against a set of President Trump's executive orders concerning federal employees. As the July noted, "In May 2018, the President issued three executive orders regarding federal labor-management relations. Among other requirements, the 'Collective Bargaining Order' provides agencies with certain procedures that they should seek to institute during negotiations with unions. See Exec. Order No. 13,836, Developing Efficient, Effective, and Cost-Reducing Approaches to Federal Sector Collective Bargaining, 83 Fed. Reg. 25,329, 25,331-32 (May 25, 2018). This order also tells agencies not to negotiate over 'permissive' subjects, id. at 25,332, defined as those that are negotiable 'at the election of the agency' under 5 U.S.C. § 7106(b)(1). The 'Official Time Order' instructs agencies to aim to limit the extent to which collective bargaining agreements authorize 'official time,' meaning time spent by employees on union business during working hours. See Exec. Order No. 13,837, Ensuring Transparency, Accountability, and Efficiency in Taxpayer-Funded Union Time Use, 83 Fed. Reg. 25,335, 25,336 (May 25, 2018. The 'Removal Procedures Order' tells agencies to seek to exclude from grievance proceedings any dispute over a decision to remove an employee “for misconduct or unacceptable performance.” Exec. Order No. 13,839, Promoting Accountability and Streamlining Removal Procedures Consistent With Merit System Principles, 83 Fed. Reg. 25,343, 25,344 (May 25, 2018). Subject to various exceptions, this order also prohibits agencies from resolving disputes over employee ratings and incentive pay through grievance or arbitration proceedings, and it mandates that some subpar employees may have no more than thirty days to improve their performance before being reassigned, demoted, or fired. Id. at 25,344-45." A federal district judge ruled against the orders in 2018, AFGE v. Trump, 318 F. Supp. 3d 370, 391 (D.D.C. 2018).
   Read the October 7 Mandate
   Read the July 16 Opinion
   Read the District Court Memorandum Opinion.

D.C. Circuit Rules on FCC Rules Rejecting Net Neutrality
October 1, 2019. A panel of the D.C. Circuit has issued an opinion in Mozilla v. F.C.C., challenging the FCC's elimination of the previous new neutrality requirements. In so doing, the Court said: "We uphold the 2018 Order, with two exceptions. First, the Court concludes that the Commission has not shown legal authority to issue its Preemption Directive, which would have barred states from imposing any rule or requirement that the Commission 'repealed or decided to refrain from imposing' in the Order or that is 'more stringent' than the Order. . . The Court accordingly vacates that portion of the Order. Second, we remand the Order to the agency on three discrete issues: (1) The Order failed to examine the implications of its decisions for public safety; (2) the Order does not sufficiently explain what reclassification will mean for regulation of pole attachments; and (3) the agency did not adequately address Petitioners' concerns about the effects of broadband reclassification on the Lifeline Program." Id. at 13.
   The ruling came in a per curiam opinion. Two members of the panel issued concurring opinions. The third issued an opinion concurring and dissenting.
   Read the Opinion.

The Supreme Court Begins Work on Its October Term 2019
October 1, 2019. The U.S. Supreme Court begins its October 2019 term next Monday. As usual, the Court will issue a lengthy order list on the first day of its new term and on that first day it issued an additional list from its conference before the term began. The current granted and noted lists and other information on the docket as well as the briefs and oral arguments follow.
Order List for the Beginning of the October 2019 Term and the Court's Opining Granted and Noted List.
   Start of October term Order List October 7, 2019.
   October Term 2018 Granted and Noted List as of October 4, 2019.
The "On the Docket" site that was formerly done through the Medill School of Journalism of Northwestern University is now part of OYEZ project.
   Review the Docket through "Oyez Cases."
SCOTUS Blog provides a wide range of information on the Court, its recent rulings, oral arguments, and docket.
   Review the Docket through SCOTUS Blog.
The U.S. Supreme Court's Oral Arguments page is a good one stop site to find transcripts of oral arguments, schedules, and briefs. The Court is also makes available the audio of its arguments.
   U.S. Supreme Court Oral Argument Transcripts Page (The 2019 term arguments transcripts page will be posted once arguments have begun.)
   U.S. Supreme Court Oral Arguments Audio (The 2019 term arguments audio page will be posted once arguments have begun.)
The U.S. Supreme Court's Opinions page provides recently issued opinions and previous years as well.
   U.S. Supreme Court Opinions Page.
Supreme Court Briefs via the Supreme Court website. To find briefs, it is necessary to go the Supreme Court "Docket Search" and place the docket number in the search window. The docket sheet comes up with links to posted documents on the sheet.
   Supreme Court Briefs via the Supreme Court Docket Search Page.
SCOTUS Blog provides Briefs and Links to Lower Court Opinions for Cases Pending on the Current Docket.
   Review the Case Documents through SCOTUS Blog.
   Access the Docket Search page.
FindLaw.com provides briefs and other documents.
   U.S. Supreme Briefs via FindLaw.com.
The U.S. Solicitor General posts briefs filed for the United States in the U.S. Supreme Court.
   Solicitor General U.S. Briefs
Oral Argument Audio, Opinions, and other Supreme Court Information via "SCOTUS Blog."
   Access SCOTUS Blog

Federal District Judge Rules Against Trump Administration Expedited Removal Policy
September 29, 2019. Judge Ketanji Broan Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has issued a preliminary injunction against the Trump administration's expedited removal policy announced in July that had marked a dramatic change from the policy that had existed before that. For more information and key documents, see the Refugees and Immigrants page of this website.

Federal District Judge Blocks Trump Administration Effort to End Flores Settlement Protections for Children
September 27, 2019. Judge Dolly Gee of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California yesterday issued rulings blocking the Trump administration's efforts to terminate the the Flores settlement agreement that imposed constraints on the manner in which federal authorities could detain and supervise minors in immigration cases. She issued a permanent injunction rejecting the administration's efforts to end the Flores settlement. For more information and the key documents, see the Refugees and Immigrants page of this website.

U.K. Supreme Court Rules British Prime Minister's Actions Leading to the Prorogation of Parliamentary Illegal
September 24, 2019. The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom has ruled unanimously against the actions of the British Minister that brought about a prorogation (in effect a suspension) of Parliament, concluding that: "The Court is bound to conclude, therefore, that the decision to advise Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament was unlawful because it had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable justification." Cherry v. Advocate General for Scotland, Court's Summary of the Opinion, at 3. The Court went on to state: "This Court has already concluded that the Prime Minister's advice to Her Majesty was unlawful, void and of no effect. This means that the Order in Council to which it led was also unlawful, void and of no effect and should be quashed. This means that when the Royal Commissioners walked into the House of Lords it was as if they walked in with a blank sheet of paper. The prorogation was also void and of no effect. Parliament has not been prorogued. This is the unanimous judgment of all 11 Justices." Id. The ruling came in two consolidated cases. The other was R. v. Prime Minister from the High Court of England and Wales. The Cherry case came from Scotland's Court of Inner Sessions.
   Read the Court's summary of the opinion in Cherry v. Advocate General for Scotland and R. v. Prime Minister.
   Read the Full Judgment of the Court in Cherry v. Advocate General for Scotland and R. v. Prime Minister.
   Access the Supreme Court of the U.K. website.

Intelligence Community Inspector General Reports to Congress
September 20, 2019. The House Intelligence Committee has demanded testimony and documents from the Director of National Intelligence concerning a whistleblower's report to the Intelligence Community Inspector General reportedly alleging improper actions by the president. The IG has written Congress explaining the problem and his disagreement with the DNI and the Department of Justice as to their conclusion that the whistleblower's complaint constituted a credible and "urgent concern" under 50 U.S.C. § 3033(k)(5)(A). That statute sets forth the process to be followed when a whistleblower seeks to informa Congress of a serious problem. The House committee has issued subpoenas for relevant documents and both the ICIG and the DNI are to testify before the committee.
   Read the Intelligence Community Inspector General Letter to Congress Concerning the Director of National Intelligence's Decision Not to Report to Congress on the Whistleblower Complaint.
   Read House Intelligence Committee Chair's Letter of September 13 to the Director of National Intelligence Accompanying the Committee Subpoena.
   Read House Intelligence Committee Press Release of September 13 regarding the Subpoena for Information on the Whistleblower Complaint.
   Read House Intelligence Committee Chair's Letter of September 10 to the Director of National Intelligence.
   Read the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community statute, 50 U.S.C. § 3033.
   Read the Inspector General Act as Amended.

Supreme Court Stays District Court Injunction Against Trump Administration Asylum Policy Change
September 12, 2019. The Supreme Court has stayed, pending appeal, an injunction issued by Judge Jon S. Tigar of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California that he issued against the Trump administration's latest change to asylum policy. The case was launched following publication on July 16 by the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security of an Interim Final Rule entitled "Asylum Eligibility and Procedural Modifications." 84 Fed. Reg. 33,829 (July 16, 2019) "The effect of the Rule," according to Judge Tigar, "is to categorically deny asylum to almost anyone entering the United States at the southern border if he or she did not first apply for asylum in Mexico or another third country." Justice Sotomayor issued a dissent to the Court's order joined by Justice Ginsburg. For more information and key documents see the Refugees and Immigrants page of this website.

U.S. District Court Calls for Special Master to Lead Remedy in Mississippi Mental Health Case
September 10, 2019. Judge Carlton W. Reeves of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi has concluded that the state has failed to address serious issues in its mental health system and is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This case stems from a findings letter issued by the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice in 2011. In 2016 DOJ filed suit against the state. For more information and key documents, see the Health Care, Disability, and Development page of this website.

EPA Proposes Rules to Roll Back Methane Limits in New Source Performance Standards for the Oil and Gas Industry
August 29, 2019. The U.S. Environmental Protection Administration today released proposed rules on New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for the Oil and Natural Gas Industry. In its fact sheet on the proposal, EPA indicates that: "The proposed amendments would remove all sources in the transmission and storage segment of the oil and natural gas industry from regulation under the NSPS, both for ozone-forming volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and for greenhouse gases (GHGs). The existing NSPS regulates GHGs through limitations on emissions of methane." For more information and key documents, see the Sustainable Development page of this website.

Oklahoma Court Rules Against Pharmaceutical Firms in Opioid Case
August 27, 2019. Judge Thad Balkman issued his decision in a case brought by the state against Opioid manufacurers and sellers, finding for the state and ordering payment of more than $572 million for costs incurred by the state and those needed to address opioid addiction. The state had settled with many other companies, but Johnson & Johnson refused to settle.
   This ruling comes just two months before the trial in the "National Prescription Opiate Litigation" case which is scheduled to begin in October in Ohio. See the July 24 posting on this webpage.
   Read Judge Balkman's Judgment After Nonjury Trial

Multiple States Seek Injunctions Against Latest Trump Asylum Policy Changes
August 27, 2019. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra yesterday announced an effort by attorneys general to obtain a preliminary injunction, as he put it, "to block the Trump Administration's Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds Final Rule, known as the "Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Public Charge Rule,' from taking effect while litigation continues." This suit was brought by California, D.C., Oregon, Maine, and Pennsylvania.
   State attorneys general from 19 states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia), led by the California attorney general also filed yesterday in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against the rule published on August 23 entitled "Apprehension, Processing, Care, and Custody of Alien Minors and Unaccompanied Alien Children" seeking to abandon the Flores settlement and impose new rules for incarceration of asylum seekers and specifically including children. For more information and documents on both cases, see the Refugees and Immigrants page of this website.

Federal Court Issues Injunction Against Latest Trump Administration Asylum Policy Change
August 9, 2019. Judge Jon S. Tigar of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has issued a preliminary injunction against the Trump administration's latest change to asylum policy. For more information and documents, see the Refugees and Immigrants page of this website.

Historical Resource on Ten Year Federal Assault Weapons Ban
August 8, 2019. Because there is currently widespread discussion of the assault weapons ban that was in place for ten years, it is useful here as a historical resource to provide a link to that legislation, which was entitled the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act and was Title XI of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, P.L. 103-322, 108 Stat. 1796 (September 13, 1994). That ban was in effect from 1994 until 2004 when it expired under the terms of a sunset clause in that legisation (Sec. 110105).
   Access the Public Safety and Recreational Firearmes Use Protection Act (Title XI of P.L. 103-322).

UN Climate Change Panel Issues New Report on Climate Change and Land Use
August 8, 2019. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is today releasing a new special report entitled Climate Change and Land, an IPCC Special Report on Climate Change, Desertification, Land Degradation, Sustainable Land Management, Food Security, and Greenhouse Gas Fluxes in Terrestrial Ecosystems. For more information and key documents, see the Sustainable Development page of this website.

Fifth Circuit Rejects An Obama Era EEOC "Guidance" on Use of Criminal Records in Hiring
August 6, 2019. A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has issued an opinion in Texas v. E.E.O.C. affirming a lower court ruling against an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission "guidance" document issued during the Obama years entitled “Enforcement Guidance on the Considera-tion of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII.” For more information and documents see the Civil Rights page of this website.

GAO Issues New Report on Rulemaking and Commenter Identity Information
July 29, 2019. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a new report entitled Federal Rulemaking: Selected Agencies Should Clearly Communicate Practices Associated with Identity Information in the Public Comment Process which not only addresses the specific topic identified by the subtitle of the report, but provides a variety of interesting data about rulemaking in the current context. For example, the report explains that: "In recent years, some high-profile rulemakings have received extremely large numbers of comments. For example, during the public comment period for an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2014 rulemaking on greenhouse gas emissions, the agency reported that it received more than 4 million total comments. Similarly, during the public comment period for the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) 2017 Restoring Internet Freedom NPRM, FCC received more than 22 million comments through its public comment website. Subsequently, media and others reported that some of the comments submitted to FCC were suspected to have been submitted using false identity information." (Footnotes removed.) Id. at 2.
   Read the GAO Report.

Bill to Resurrect Something Like Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations Follows Hearings of the Speaker's Task Force on Intergovernment Affairs
July 29, 2019. Writing in the Government Executive, Courtney Buble has explained new legislation introduced by Gerry Connolly, D-Va., and Rob Bishop, R-Utah entitled the "Restoring the Partnership Act" H.R. 3883 that would create a new Commission on Intergovernmental Relations that looks very much like the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations that was defunded in the 1990s. For more information and the key documents, see the Local Government page of this website.

Federal Trade Commission Announces Penalties for Facebook
July 24, 2019. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced today a 5$ billion penalty against Facebook, an action that had been expected for some time, that resulted from a finding that Facebook had violated a 2012 Consent Agreement with respect to data privacy and security. At the same time, the FTC announced a separate case against Cambridge Analytica, an app developer, and its former CEO that relates to the Cambridge Analytica scandal. As part of the resolution of the Facebook matter, the companey agreed to a 20 year consent agreement
   Read the FTC Press Release on the $5 Billion penalty against Facebook.
   Read the FTC Factsheet on the action against Facebook.
   Read the Complaint Against Cambridge Analytica and its former CEO to be Filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
   Read the FTC Press Release on the Cambridge Analytica case and proposed settlement.
   Read the 20 year Facebook settlement agreement.

Case Against Opioid Manufacturers Nears Trial in Cleveland
July 24, 2019. Trial is scheduled to begin in October before Judge Dan Polster in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio in a case styled "National Prescription Opiate Litigation" brought by cities, counties, and states against pharmaceutical companies involved in the manufacture and distribution of opioid medications. By the time the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation issued its Transfer Order consolidating the cases for trial in the Northern District of Ohio, there were some 115 legal actions pending in various courts around the nation and the number has increased dramatically since then. As the panel characterized the litigation: "Plaintiffs in the actions before us are cities, counties and states that allege that: (1) manufacturers of prescription opioid medications overstated the benefits and downplayed the risks of the use of their opioids and aggressively marketed (directly and through key opinion leaders) these drugs to physicians, and/or (2) distributors failed to monitor, detect, investigate, refuse and report suspicious orders of prescription opiates. All actions involve common factual questions about, inter alia, the manufacturing and distributor defendants' knowledge of and conduct regarding the alleged diversion of these prescription opiates, as well as the manufacturers' alleged improper marketing of such drugs. Both manufacturers and distributors are under an obligation under the Controlled Substances Act and similar state laws to prevent diversion of opiates and other controlled substances into illicit channels. Plaintiffs assert that defendants have failed to adhere to those standards, which caused the diversion of opiates into their communities. Plaintiffs variously bring claims for violation of RICO statutes, consumer protection laws, state analogues to the Controlled Substances Act, as well as common law claims such as public nuisance, negligence, negligent misrepresentation, fraud and unjust enrichment." Transfer Order at 3. Due to the complex nature of the case, Judge Polster quickly appointed three special masters to assist the court in a variety of aspects of the management of the case. Early efforts to encourage a settlement failed which led to the scheduling of a trial.
   Access the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio webpage on the case MDL .
   Read the Panel on Multidistrict Litigation Transfer Order of December 12, 2017.
   Read the January 11, 2018 Order Appointing the Special Masters and Explaining their Duties.
   Access the website of the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation.

EPA Rejects Requests to Ban the Pesticide Chlorpyrifos
Juy 22, 2019. Ending an regulatory process that began with a petiton by environmental groups in 2007, the Environmental Protection Agency on July 18 issued a final order rejecting efforts to ban the pesticide Chlorpyrifos. For more information and relevant documents, see the Sustainable Development page of this website.

Public Law, Policy, and Public Administration Archive Entries Available
July 14, 2019. It is that time of the year when it is necessary to remove older information from the site. The "What's New" section has been edited to remove information before July 1, 2017. However, since some users of the site find the older entries of continuing interest, those entries have been placed in the "What's New -- Archives" page that can be accessed from this page and contains material dating back to 2006. See the menu at the top of the page.

Trump Administration Effort to Change Course and Move Forward with Citizenship Census Question Produces Judicial Response Sarting with Effort to Change the Legal Team
July 10, 2019. After conceding its defeat in the Supreme Court on its effort to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census in the Department of Commerce v. New York case, the Justice Department has made an abrupt about face under orders from the president. In the process, the Justice Department announced that its enture legal team would be changed. However, the district court yesterday denied the Justice Department lawyers' request except for two previous members of the team who have left the department. For more information and the relevant documents, see the Refugees and Immigrants page of this website.

Ninth Circuit Upholds District Court on Injunctions Against Trump Efforts to Reprogram Funds for Border Wall
July 3, 2019. A panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has refused an emergency petition for a stay of a district court injunction against the Trump administration's efforts to reprogram funds from the Department of Defense budget to be used for the president's project to build a wall on the U.S. southern border. For more information and key documents, see the Refugees and Immigrants page of this website.

Responses to Trump Administration Asylum and Border Control Actions by Inspector General and in Court
July 3, 2019. Marsha J. Pechman of the U.S. District Court has issued a preliminary injunction against the Trump Administration's recent policy to keep asylum seekers in detention pending the resolution of their cases. The case, Padilla v. ICE, was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and American Immigration Council.
   Also yesterday the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security issued a report entitled "Management Alert – DHS Needs to Address Dangerous Overcrowding and Prolonged Detention of Children and Adults in the Rio Grande Valley" that explain its purpose as to notify you of urgent issues that require immediate attention and action. Specifically, we encourage the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to take immediate steps to alleviate dangerous overcrowding and prolonged detention of children and adults in the Rio Grande Valley."
   Read the Order on the Preliminary Injunction.
   Read Attorney General's Order on Detention of Asylum Seekers.
   Read the DHS Inspector General Report.

Supreme Court Holds Last Opinion Day for the Term
June 27, 2019. The Supreme Court has issued a number of rulings in the cases remaining for this term of Court. The Carpenter v. Murphy case concerning "Whether Congress disestablished the reservation of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation" was held over for reargument next term. The Chief Justice has announced that the Court will issue additional orders tomorrow.
   Read the Opinions in the Census Case Department of Commerce v. New York.
   Read the Opinions in the Political Gerrymandering Cases Rucho v. Common Cause.
   Read the Opinion in the Unconscious Driver Blood/Alcohol Test Case Mitchell v. Wisconsin.

Supreme Court Refuses to Overturn Auer Deference Rule
June 27, 2019. The Supreme Court has issued a ruling long-awaited by administrative law scholars and practitioners, retaining what is known as the Auer deference rule that calls upon courts to show deference to the interpretations of an administrative rule by the agency that issued that rule. There had been an effort in the Kisor v. Wilkie case to get the Court to overrule Auer v. Robbins, 519 U. S. 452 (1997). Particularly given the strong opposition to Justice Gorsuch to deference to administrative agencies while on the 10th Circuit, there was speculation as to whether the Court would rule against the long-standing Auer decision.
   Read the Opinion.

Trump Administration Issues New AI Strategic Plan
June 24, 2019. The Trump administration has issued a new National Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Strategic Plan: 2019 Update, produced by the Select Committee on Artifical Intelligence of the Science and Technology Council. This is one of a series of actions taken in reponse to Executive Order 13859 issued in February entitled "Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence."
   Read the Strategic Plan 2019 Update.
   Read Executive Order 13859.

Missouri Circuit Judge Issues TRO to Keep Planned Parenthood Clinic Open
May 31, 2019. Judge Michael F. Stelzer of the Missouri Circuit Court for the Twenty-Second Judicial Circuit (St. Louis) has issued a temporary restraining order maintaining the Planned Parenthood Clinic license pending a hearing on a preliminary injunction which is scheduled for Tuesday, June 4. The current license would have expired as of today. If that had happened, Missouri would have been the first state in the nation without a licensed clinical facility at which abortions are performed.
   Read the Order Granting the Temporary Restraining Order.

District Court Issues Injunction Against Trump Administration Border Wall Actions
May 25, 2019. Judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr., of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, has issued his opinion on the motion for a preliminary injunction against President Trump's border wall emergency declaration in Sierra Clib v. Trump. For more information and key documents, see the Refugees and Immigrants page of this website.

District Court in Mississippi Enjoins Implementation of New Abortion Restrictions
May 24, 2019. Judge Carolton W. Reeves of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi today enjoined implementation of the state's recently enacted SB 2116 banning abortion starting at 6 weeks of pregnancy. Reeves was frustrated by the fact that the state passed the new statute while their previous ban at 15 weeks was under a preliminary injunction and pending before his court. The judge wrote: "Finally, the Legislature's passage of S.B. 2116 during the pendency of this litigation compels the Court to make the following observation. If there is no medical evidence to prove that a fetus is viable at 15 weeks lmp or at 6 weeks lmp, then a fetus is not viable between 0 and 5 weeks lmp.... The plaintiffs' request for a preliminary injunction is GRANTED. The defendants; their officers, agents, employees, and attorneys; and all other persons who are in active concert or participation with them; shall not enforce S.B. 2116." Jackson Women's Health Organization v. Dobbs, Order Granting Preliminary Injunction at 7 (emphasis in original).
   Read the Order Granting Preliminary Injunction.

District Court Rejects President Trump's Challenge to House Committee Subpoena
May 21, 2019. Judge Amit P. Mehta of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has issued his Memorandum Opinion in Trump v. Committee on Oversight and Reform, denying the president's effort to have the court block the House Committee's subpoena for his financial records from the Mazars firm. In rejecting the President's challenge, Judge Mehta explains: "Courts have grappled for more than a century with the question of the scope of Congress's investigative power. The binding principle that emerges from these judicial decisions is that courts must presume Congress is acting in furtherance of its constitutional responsibility to legislate and must defer to congressional judgments about what Congress needs to carry out that purpose. To be sure, there are limits on Congress's investigative authority. But those limits do not substantially constrain Congress. So long as Congress investigates on a subject matter on which 'legislation could be had,' Congress acts as contemplated by Article I of the Constitution." Id. at 3.
   Read the Memorandum Opinion.
   Read the Complaint in Trump v. Committee on Oversight and Reform.
   Read House Committee Chair Cummings Letter to Committee and Copy of the Subpoena.

President Issues Executive Order on Information and Communications Technology Controls
May 20, 2019. President Trump has signed executive order 13873 entitled "Securing the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain, granting broad authority for the Secretary of commerce to block transactions that the secretary in consultation with other officials, including the "Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the United States Trade Representative, the Director of National Intelligence, the Administrator of General Services, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, and, as appropriate, the heads of other executive departments and agencies (agencies)." The order goes on to provide in Section 2 that: "The Secretary, in consultation with, or upon referral of a particular transaction from, the heads of other agencies as appropriate, is hereby authorized to take such actions, including directing the timing and manner of the cessation of transactions prohibited pursuant to section 1 of this order, adopting appropriate rules and regulations, and employing all other powers granted to the President by IEEPA, as may be necessary to implement this order.... The Secretary may, consistent with applicable law, redelegate any of the authorities conferred on the Secretary pursuant to this section within the Department of Commerce."
   Read the Executive Order.
   Read Department of Commerce Press Release on the Order.

Connecticut Attorney General Leads Suit by 44 States Against Generic Drug Companies Alleging Price Fixing
May 13, 2019. Forty-four state attorneys general, led by the Connecticut AG, are suing a number of generic drug manufacturers for price fixing. The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. For more information and documents, see the Health Care, Disability, and Development page of this website.

President Claims Executive Privilege in Response to Attorney General Requests
May 9, 2019. President Trump yesterday claimed executive privilege with respect to documents and other matters associated with the Mueller investigation in response to the request from Attorney General Barr to do so. The formal claim of privilege was made in a letter from Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler. It is a claim for "protective privilege" which Boyd says "ensures the President's ability to make a final decision whether to assert privilege following a full review of these materials" and citing an Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) opinion entitled "Protective Assertion of Executive Privilege Regarding White House Counsel's Office Documents," 20 Op. O.L.C. 1 (1996).
   Read Attorney General Barr's Request for Executive Privilege.
   Read Boyd's Letter to Nadler Invoking Executive Privilege.
   Read the May 1996 OLC opinion on "Protective Assertion of Executive Privilege. . . ."

The Office of Legal Counsel Memoranda on Prosecuting Presidents, the Mueller Report, and More Recent Documents in the Ongoing Controversy Over the Report and Congressional Reactions
May 8, 2019. Since the release by the Attorney General of a redacted version of the Mueller Special Counsel investigation report, there have been any number of references to the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel memoranda concerning whether the president could be indicted or prosecuted for criminal wrongdoing. Indeed, the Mueller report indicated that this policy within the Justice Department was central to the way the report was written and its conclusions. The Attorney General has also referred to the policy. The original documents are two memoranda: "Amenability of the President, Vice President and other Civil Officers to Federal Criminal Prosecution while in Office," September 24, 1973, and "A Sitting President's Amenability to Indictment and Criminal Prosecution," October 16, 2000. Because of their importance to the current discussion of the report and the actions of the Attorney General and other people in the Trump Administration, those documents are posted below.
   Also, on March 27, the Special Counsel sent a letter to the Attorney General expressing concerns about the AG's brief summary of the report and the way materials were being released. That discussion is part of an ongoing congressional discussion about future testimony in pending congressional hearings. That letter is provided below.
   Finally, the public interest group Protect Democracy published a May 6 "Statement by Former Federal Prosecutors" who served during administrations of both political parties in a wide range of offices from Special Counsel staff (from earlier times) to line prosecutors to U.S. Attorneys and more, which stated that: "Each of us believes that the conduct of President Trump described in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report would, in the case of any other person not covered by the Office of Legal Counsel policy against indicting a sitting President, result in multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice." At the time of that posting, the letter has been signed by 735 such attorneys. This statement attracted national attention when the Washington Post published an article about it. Link to the statement and the are posted below.
   To round out the set of documents, the redacted version of the Mueller report and the Attorney General's summary of it are reposted below.
   Read the Special Counsel Mueller's letter to Attorney General Barr of March 27, 2019.
   Read the 1973 Office of Legal Counsel Memorandum .
   Read the 2000 Office of Legal Counsel Memorandum.
   Read the Statement by Former Prosecutors.
   Read the Washington Post Article about the Statement by Former Prosecutors.
   Read the Redacted Version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Report as Released by Attorney General Barr.
   Read Attorney General William Barr's Summary for Congress of the Mueller Report Conclusions, March 24, 2019.
   Read Attorney General William Barr's Remarks on the Release of the Report of the Special Counsel.

Trump Administration Relaxes Safety Rules Put in Place After the Deep Water Horizon Oil Rig Disaster
May 3, 2019. The Trump administration has just announced the publication of a new final rule governing safety and blowout protections on oil and gas rigs ["Oil and Gas and Sulfur Operations in the Outer Continental Shelf-Blowout Preventer Systems and Well Control Revisions" (WCR)], as part of its effort to reduce regulatory requirements in general and to facilitate increased exploration and production of ocean-based petroleum operations, which replaces rules put in place in 2016 after investigations of the BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster. For more information and key documents, see the Sustainable Development page of this website.

Trump Administration Issues Sweeping New 'Conscience' Exemptions from Mandatory Services and Coverage
May 2, 2019. The Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights has issued a sweeping new final rule entitled "Protecting Statutory Conscience Rights in Health Care; Delegations of Authority," which is designed to dramatically expand the ability of various providers, insurers, and other organizations to refuse to provide health care services or coverage based on their claim that they object on the basis of conscience. For more information and documents, see the Health Care, Disability, and Development page of this website.

DOJ Moves to Strike Down Full Affordable Care Act
May 2, 2019. The Trump administration has changed position in a critically important case challenging the Affordable Care Act. In the U.S. district court, the administration argued in favor of the ability to sever any parts of the ACA that the court would strike in the Texas v. United States case. However, yesterday it filed a brief in the Fifth Circuit calling on that court to reject severability and strike sown the entire Affordable Care Act. For more information and documents, see the Health Care, Disability, and Development page of this website.

D.C. Federal District Allows a Third Emoluments Clause Case to Move Forward
May 1, 2019. Judge Emmet G. Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has denied a motion to dismiss an Emoluments Clause suit against President Trump. This is the latest in a number of cases launched by individuals and states against President Trump alleging violations of the Constitution's emoluments clause.
   Read Judge Sullivan's Memorandum Opinion in Blumenthal v. Trump.

Trump Issues Presidential Memorandum Attempting to Force Policy Changes to Restrict Asylum
April 30, 2019. President Trump late yesterday issued a presidential memorandum that makes a number of demands on the Department of Homeland Security to make the asylum process more difficult and to require fees of those seeking asylum among other matters.
   Read the Presidential Memorandum.

U.S. District Court Issues Nationwide Injunction Again Trump Administration Rules on Funding for Family Planning
April 30, 2019. Judge Stanley A. Bastian of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington has issued a nationwide injunction blocking the Trump administration's rules placing denying funding to organizations that provide any information or services related to abortion. The case Washington v. Azar was brought by the state attorney general as well as family planning advocacy groups. As Judge Bastian explained in his order, "Plaintiffs contend the Final Rule is in excess of the agency’s statutory authority, is arbitrary and capricious, violates the Administrative Procedures Act, violates Title X requirements, violates congressional Non-directive Mandates, violates Section 1554 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), and is otherwise unconstitutional."
   Read the Order Granting the Preliminary Inunction.
   Read the Washington Attorney General's press release on the case.

Attorney General Releases Special Counsel Report
April 8, 2019. Attorney General William Barr has released a redacted version of the report issued by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
   Read the Redacted Version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Report as Released by Attorney General Barr.
   Read Attorney General William Barr's Remarks on the Release of the Report of the Special Counsel.

Federal Reserve Announces Relaxation of Banking Rules
April 8, 2019. The Federal Reserve announced today that, in cooperation with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Fed was announcing proposed rules that would relax some of the requirements put in place after the 2008 economic crash. The authority to take these kinds of actions to relax requirements imposed by the Dodd/Frank legislation and other measures adopted after the 2008 crach came from the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, P.L. 115-174, enacted in 2018. That legislation, as the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) explained in its analysis of the bill, modified "provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd Frank Act) and other laws governing regulation of the financial industry. The bill would change the regulatory framework for small depository institutions with assets under $10 billion (community banks) and for large banks with assets over $50 billion. The bill also would make changes to consumer mortgage and credit-reporting regulations and to the authorities of the agencies that regulate the financial industry." Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate, p. 1. The CBO estimate, however, did caution that the relaxation of regulation increases risk, even if at this point it was unclear just how much of a risk and could result in challenges should there be another serious economic downturn. Of course, the amount of risk depends in part on the rules implementing the regulation and just how much they relax the current regulatory regime.
   Read the Federal Reserve Press Release on the New Rules.
   Read notice of proposed rulemaking.
   Read the second notice of proposed rulemaking.
   Read the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act.
   Read CBO Cost Estimate for S. 2155 which became the P.L. 115-174.

D.C. Circuit Joins District Court in Rejecting Challenge to ATF Rule Banning "Bump Stocks" on Weapons
April 8, 2019. A panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a ruling by the district court rejecting a collection of challenges brought against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) bump-stock ban rule issued in December 2018, following calls for actions to ban so-called bump-stocks that transform a firearm into an automatic weapon, which is what happened in the dramatic assault on concert-goers in Las Vegas where 58 died and many more were seriously injured. The various challengers originally sought a preliminary injunction against the bad, but the district court rejected their suit in February and the D.C. Circuit, acting on an expedited scheduled, has now affirmed. Judge Henderson filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part.
   Read the D.C. Circuit Opinion.
   Read the District Court Opinion.
   Access the ATF Bump Stock Final Rule.

Justice Department Finds Serious Conditions of Confinement Violations in Alabama Prisons
April 8, 2019. Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Eric Dreiband has sent a notice letter to Alabama's Governor notifying him that a recent investigations of men's correctional facilities indicates a number of serious violations of the Eighth Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment and calling for negotiations leading to correction of these violations and warning that the DOJ will file suit if no action is taken in 49 days. For more information and key documents, see the Civil Rights page of this website.

A Third District Court Rules Against Commerce Secretary Decision to Place Citizenship Question in Census
April 6, 2019. Judge George J. Hazel of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland is now the third federal district judge to rule against Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross's decision to include a question on citizenship in the 2020 census. For more information on this and the previous two rulings on the census question, see the Refugees and Immigrants page of this website.

Federal Court in Alaska Finds Trump Executive Order to Offshore Allow Drilling Violates Statute
April 1, 2019. Judge Sharon L. Gleason of the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska has rejected President Trump's order aimed at allowing drilling on areas of the outer continental shelf, finding that: "Section of Executive Order 13795, which purported to revoke prior presidential withdrawals of OCS lands for leasing, is unlargul, as it exceeded the President's authority under Section 12(a) of OCSLA [Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act]." League of Conservation Voters v. Trump, Order re Motions for Summary Judgment, at 30. For the documents, see the Sustainable Development page of this website.

U.S. District Court Rejects Trump Administration Labor Department Rule the Judge Finds is an Attempt to "End Run" the Affordable Care Act
March 30, 2019. Judge John R. Bates of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has issued an opinion rejecting a Trump administration Labor Department rule that Bates found was nothing less than a deliberate "end run" around the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. For more information and key documents, see the Healthcare, Disability, and Development page of this website.

Federal District Court Issues Rulings Against Trump Administration Work Rules for Medicaid Benefits
March 28, 2019. Judge James E. Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has issued opinions in cases ruling against mandatory work rules that apply to those receiving Medicaid benefits under programs in Arkansas and Kentucky approved by the Trump administration. These programs resulted from a letter to state governors from the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) indicating that the administration would use its demonstration authority under the Affordable Care Axt to approve state restrictions on Medicaid that included work requirements. Arkansas and Kentucky were two of the states that responded to the administrations invitation and had work rules approved for recipients in their states. In Arkansas those rules required online reporting of compliance with the work rules which resulted in 16,900 people losing their benefits. Judge Boasberg had ruled against the changes in the Kentucky case in June 2018, but provided an opportunity for a demonstration that the changes actually served the congressionally stated purposes of Medicaid. The state and HHS again approved the work restrictions and the plaintiffs brought the case back to cout.
   In ruling against the solicitation letter from the HHS secretary and later approvals of state plans, Judge Boasberg wrote in the Arkansas case that: "The Court has said this before and will say it again: if, as Arkansas and HHS admit (and this Court has found), ensuring Medicaid coverage for the needy is a key objective of the Act, the Secretary’s failure to consider the effects of the project on coverage alone renders his decision arbitrary and capricious; it does not matter that HHS deemed the project to advance other objectives of the Act." Gresham v. Azar, opinion at 23. He also issued a separate ruling on the same day against the Kentucky program in Stewart v. Azar (Stewart II). Kentucky had argued that because it could choose not to participate in the Medicaid extension under the ACA, according to the Supreme Court in the Sebelius case, it could choose to continue contingent on the rules it set. The judge rejected that claim, finding: "The Court cannot concur that the Medicaid Act leaves the Secretary so unconstrained, nor that the states are so armed to refashion the program Congress designed in any way they choose. As a consequence, once again finding the reapproval was both contrary to the Act and arbitrary and capricious, the Court will vacate it and remand to HHS for further review." Id., at 3.
   Read the Opinion in the Arkansas case.
   Read the opinion in the Kentucky case.
   Read the June 29, 2018 ruling in the Kentucky case..
   Read the March 14, 2017 "Dear Governor" letter from HHS.

Purdue Pharma Settles Oklahoma Opioid Suit
March 27, 2019. Judge Thad Balkman of the District Court for Cleveland County, Oklahoma has entered a Consent Judgment approving the $270 million settlement of an opioid case brought by the Attorney General of Oklahoma in connection with serious opioid addiction and death associated with the drugs. Purdue released a statement on the agreement and the first of a number of companies that have been charged in various case to reach a major settlement.
   Read the Consent Judgment.
   Read the Oklahoma Attorney General's Press Release on the Case.
   Read Purdue Pharma's Press Release on the Settlement.

President Issues Executive Order on Campus Speech
March 22, 2019. President Trump yesterday issued an executive order entitled Executive Order on Improving Free Inquiry, Transparency, and Accountability at Colleges and Universities. Most of the order concerns reporting and disclosure policies related to student loans. However, Section 3 of the order, entitled "Improving Free Inquiry on Campus," states in pertinent part: "To advance the policy described in subsection 2(a) of this order, the heads of covered agencies shall, in coordination with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, take appropriate steps, in a manner consistent with applicable law, including the First Amendment, to ensure institutions that receive Federal research or education grants promote free inquiry, including through compliance with all applicable Federal laws, regulations, and policies." The order does not say anything more about implementation. It merely indicates the agencies to which the order is direct. "[T]he Departments of Defense, the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, Transportation, Energy, and Education; the Environmental Protection Agency; the National Science Foundation; and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration." It adds that the order does not include "funding associated with Federal student aid programs that cover tuition, fees, or stipends.
   Read the Executive Order.

New Zealand Prime Minister Announces Post-Attack Gun Policy Changes
March 21, 2019. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced major change in firearms regulation using an Order in Council pending full consideration of legislation in Parliament. The policy bans military style assault weapons or any kind of parts that will allow conversion of other weapons into that kind of weapon. For more information and the key documents, see the Sustainable Development page of this website.

White House Updates FY2020 Budget Proposal Materials
March 21, 2019. The White House released the President's budget request for FY 2020 on March 11. At that time, the Office of Management and Budget released the the budget proposal and the "fact sheets," but not some of the other key documents, including the "Major Savings and Reforms for FY 2020" document, the "Analytic Perspectives" document which provides the economic and policy assumptions behind the budget, and the "Appendix" which is the document that contains the very detailed information on agency budgets and funds. Those materials have now been released and all of the key budget documents are posted below.
   A group of 14 generals and admirals who are former combatant commanders quickly issued a statement in response to the proposed increases in defense spending and decreases in foreign policy and international development funding which was posted on this page on March 11 and is repeated here.
   Download the FY 2020 Budget proposal as a single .pdf document, including the President's Message to Accompany the FY 2019 Budget.
   Download the FY 2020 Budget Facts Sheets by Topic.
   Access the Major Savings and Reforms for FY 2020 document.
   Access the FY2020 Budget Appendix -- All detailed information about agencies and funds.
   Access the FY 2020 Budget Analytic Perspectives document (economic and budget assumptions).
   Access the FY 2020 Federal Credit Supplement (information on direct loans and loan guarantees by the Federal Government.
   Access the FY 2020 Supplemental Materials website, including Federal Credit Supplement and other items.
   Access the U.S. Department of Education, Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Summary and Background Information.
   Access the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Fiscal Year 2020 Budget-in-Brief.
   Access the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Fiscal Year 2020 Budget-in-Brief.
   Read the Statement by Former U.S. Combatant Commanders.

Connecticut Supreme Court Allows Sandy Hook Suit to Move Forward
March 15, 2019. The Connecticut Supreme Court has issued an opinion in Soto v. Bushmaster Firearms International allowing the parents of children killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting to move forward with one of the claims made in a suit they filed against the manufacturer of the weapon used in the attach, Bushmaster Firearms International. Bushmaster is a Remington Arms company. The company had challenged the suit on a variety of grounds, including the claim that federal statute protected them from liability for actions committed by others using their weapons. Justice Richard N. Palmer, wrote for the 5-3 majority: "The defendants counter that all of the plaintiffs' legal theories are not only barred under Connecticut law, but also precluded by a federal statute, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), Pub. L. No. 109-92, 119 Stat. 2095 (2005) . . . which, with limited exceptions, immunizes firearms manufacturers, distributors, and dealers from civil liability for crimes committed by third parties using their weapons. . . . [W]e agree with the defendants that most of the plaintiffs' claims and legal theories are precluded by established Connecticut law and/or PLCAA. . . . The plaintiffs have offered one narrow legal theory, however, that is recognized under established Connecticut law. Specifically, they allege that the defendants knowingly marketed, advertised, and promoted the XM15-E2S for civilians to use to carry out offensive, military style combat missions against their perceived enemies. Such use of the XM15-E2S, or any weapon for that matter, would be illegal, and Connecticut law does not permit advertisements that promote or encourage violent, criminal behavior. Following a scrupulous review of the text and legislative history of PLCAA, we also conclude that Congress has not clearly manifested an intent to extinguish the traditional authority of our legislature and our courts to protect the people of Connecticut from the pernicious practices alleged in the present case. The regulation of advertising that threatens the public's health, safety, and morals has long been considered a core exercise of the states' police powers. Accordingly, on the basis of that limited theory, we conclude that the plaintiffs have pleaded allegations sufficient to survive a motion to strike and are entitled to have the opportunity to prove their wrongful marketing allegations." The court released the preliminary opinion online, but the formal release date is March 19 and the preliminary opinion is subject to change until then.
   Justice Robinson issued a dissent joined by Justice Vertegeuille and Elgo.
   Read the Connecticut Supreme Court Majority Opinion.
   Read the Read the Connecticut Supreme Court Dissenting Opinion.
   Read the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.

President Issues Executive Order Deleting Obama Administration Directive Requiring Casualty Information Reporting
March 14, 2019. President Trump has issued Executive Order 13862 which revokes Section 3 of Executive Order 13732 issued by President Obama in 2016. The deleted section reads as follows. "Sec. 3. Report on Strikes Undertaken by the U.S. Government Against Terrorist Targets Outside Areas of Active Hostilities. (a) The Director of National Intelligence (DNI), or such other official as the President may designate, shall obtain from relevant agencies information about the number of strikes undertaken by the U.S. Government against terrorist targets outside areas of active hostilities from January 1, 2016, through December 31, 2016, as well as assessments of combatant and non-combatant deaths resulting from those strikes, and publicly release an unclassified summary of such information no later than May 1, 2017. By May 1 of each subsequent year, as consistent with the need to protect sources and methods, the DNI shall publicly release a report with the same information for the preceding calendar year.(b) The annual report shall also include information obtained from relevant agencies regarding the general sources of information and methodology used to conduct these assessments and, as feasible and appropriate, shall address the general reasons for discrepancies between post-strike assessments from the U.S. Government and credible reporting from nongovernmental organizations regarding non-combatant deaths resulting from strikes undertaken by the U.S. Government against terrorist targets outside areas of active hostilities.(c) In preparing a report under this section, the DNI shall review relevant and credible post-strike all-source reporting, including such information from nongovernmental sources, for the purpose of ensuring that this reporting is available to and considered by relevant agencies in their assessment of deaths.(d) The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs may, as appropriate, request that the head of any relevant agency conduct additional reviews related to the intelligence assessments of deaths from strikes against terrorist targets outside areas of active hostilities."
   Read Executive Order 13862.
   Read President Obama's Executive Order 13732.

Judge Sabraw Issues Order Expanding Plaintiff Class in Family Unification Case
March 9, 2019. Judge Dana M. Sabraw of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California has issued a new order in a case that has been pending before him concerning family reunification following on Trump administration's zero tolerance policy that separated parents and children entering the U.S. He has expanded those who qualify for particpation in the class action lawsuit. For more information and key documents, see the Refugees and Immigrants page of this website.

Another Federal District Court Rules Against Commerce Department Decision to Include a Citizenship Question in the 2020 Census
March 7, 2019. U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg of the Northern District of California yesterday issued Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law in California v. Ross, concluding that Secretary Wilbur Ross decision to include a question about citizenship in the 2020 census violated both the Administrative Procedure Act and the Enumeration Clause of the United States Constitution. For more information and documents, see the Refugees and Immigrants page of this website.

D.C. Circuit Rejects Challenge to Special Counsel's Appointment
February 26, 2019. A three judge panel of the D.C. Circuit rejected a challenge to the validity of the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The Court wrote: "Andrew Miller appeals an order holding him in contempt for failing to comply with grand jury subpoenas served on him by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller, III. He contends the Special Counsel’s appointment is unlawful under the Appointments Clause of the Constitution, and therefore the contempt order should be reversed. We affirm." In re: Grand Jury Investigation," at 2.
   Read the Opinion.

House Debates Resolution to Terminate the Emergency Declared by President Trump
February 26, 2019. The House today is debating and will vote on H.J. Res. 46, a resolution to terminate the declaration of an emergency and directives with respect to the U.S. border. For more information and key documents, see the Refugees and Immigrants page of this website.

California and Multiple States File Suit Challenging the Emergency
February 18, 2019. The Attorney General of California joined by fifteen other states has filed suit in the U.S. Ditrict Court for the Northern District of California challenging President Trump's emergency declaration and diversion of funds to construct a border barrier. The states are seeking declaratory and injunctive relief.
   Read the Complaint.

Still More Litigation Filed Against Emergency Declaration by County of El Paso and Others
February 22, 2019. El Paso County, Texas and the Border Network for Human Rights are the latest plaintiffs to bring suit challenging President Trumps emergency declaration and directive to reprogram funds for a border wall. For more information and documents, see the Refugees and Immigrants page of this website.

More Litigation Filed Against Emergency Declaration by the Sierra Club and the Southern Border Communities Coalition
February 22, 2019. The American Civil Liberties Union, Sierra Club, ACLU of Texas, and the ACLU of Northern California along with the Sierra Club have filed suit on behalf of the Souther Border Communities Coaliton and the Sierra Club in another challenge to President Trump’s emergency powers declaration and directive on funding a wall. For more information and documents see the Refugees and Immigrants page of this website.

California and Multiple States File Suit Challenging the Emergency
February 18, 2019. The Attorney General of California joined by fifteen other states has filed suit in the U.S. Ditrict Court for the Northern District of California challenging President Trump's emergency declaration and diversion of funds to construct a border barrier. The states are seeking declaratory and injunctive relief.
   Read the Complaint.

Third Circuit Upholds District Court Ruling Against Attorney General Sessions Effort to Pull Back Funds from So-Called Sanctuary Cities
February 18, 2019. The Third Circuit has issued an opinion affirming a June 2018 district court ruling that included an injunction against the Attorney General's effort to pull funding from so-called sanctuary cities. For more information the documents, see the Refugees and Immigrants page of this website.

Legal Challenges to Presidential Border Wall Proclamation Begin
February 16, 2019. A number of states, local governments, and nongovernmental organizations have promised suits challenging President Trump's proclamation of an emergency on the southern border with some filed the same day the president took action. Citizens for Reponsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and the County of El Paso brought suit in the District Court for the Southern District of Texas. Governors and attorneys general in a number of states have also promised to challenge the proclamation and decision to take funds from appropriations previously approved for other purposes for the construction of a border wall. The CREW case is specifically a suit against the U.S. Department of Justice for allegedly violating the Freedom of Information Act requests of CREW for information related to the president's emergency declaration decision.
   Read the CREW Complaint.

President Declares National Emergency in Proclamation Issued as He Signed Spening Bill
February 15, 2019. The president has sign H.J.Res. 31 the Consolidated Appropriations Act for 2019 and at the same time issued a proclamation declaring an emergency on the southern border.
   Read the Proclamation.
   Read the spending bill H.J.Res 31.

GAO Announces "Science, Technology Assessment and Analytics (STAA) Team"
January 15, 2019. The U.S. Government Accountability Office today announced: "Today we launched a new Science, Technology Assessment and Analytics (STAA) team, expanding our work on cutting-edge science and technology issues. STAA will focus on: Technology assessments and technical services for the Congress, Auditing federal science and technology programs,Compiling and utilizing best practices in the engineering sciences, including cost, schedule, and technology readiness assessment,and Establishing an audit innovation lab to explore, pilot, and deploy new advanced analytic capabilities, information assurance auditing, and emerging technologies that are expected to greatly impact auditing practices." GAO "WatchBlog" post.
   Read the GAO WatchBlog Post Announcing STAA.
   Access the New STAA Website.

Supreme Court Stays Lower Court Injunctions Against Trump Policy on Transgender Persons in the Military
January 22, 2019. The Supreme Court has issued a stay of the lower court injunctions that prohibited the Trump administrations directive on transgender persons in the military from taking effect pending a decision from the 9th Circuit in the case or the Court's decision on whether to grant certiorari and hear the case if the government seeks that review. For more information and documents, see the Civil Rights page of this website.

General Services Administrator Inspector General Criticizes GSA Failure to Address Emoluments Clauses Problems with Trump Lease of the Old Post Office Building
January 16, 2019. The Inspector General of the General Services Administration (GSA) has issued a report strongly critical of the failure of the GSA to carefully consider the apparent constitutional and other issues with the lease for the new Trump Washington hotel after Mr. Trump was elected president. The report explains that by mid-December 2016, the GSA's attorneys had "agreed there was a possible violation of the Foreign Emoluments Clause but decided not to address the issue." The IG explains: "We conclude that decision was improper for several reasons:(1) as a federal agency, GSA is subject to the Constitution, which also is incorporated into the OPO lease;(2) GSA already had determined that the Foreign Emoluments Clause bars a federal employee from doing business with a foreign government in his private capacity, a conclusion reinforced by instruction OGC received from OGE;(3) OGC ignored OLC's binding legal opinions on the Emoluments Clauses, even though OGC OPO attorneys knew that OLC issued opinions involving both President Reagan and President Obama; and (4) OGC failed to seek OLC's guidance, even though the GSA OPO attorneys knew that OLC issued opinions on the Foreign and Presidential Emoluments Clauses." Evaluation of GSA's Management and Administration of the Old Post Office Building Lease, p. 16.
   There is currently litigation pending based upon emoluments clauses issues. See earlier postings on this webpage.
   Read the Report.

Federal District Court Rules Against Commerce Department Decision to Include a Citizenship Question in the 2020 Census
January 15, 2019. Judge Jesse Furman of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has issued a ruling in New York v. U.S. Department of Commerce against Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross's decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. For the documents and more information, see the Refugees and Immigrants page of this website.

Two Federal District Courts Block Trump Administration's Employer Waivers for Women's Health Care Mandate Under the ACA
January 15, 2019. Federal district courts in California and Pennsylvania have blocked two Trump administration rules, scheduled to take effect on January 14, 2019, that would allow waivers for employers who have moral or religious objections to providing contraceptives to women employees as required by the Affordable Care Act. The California injunction, issued by Judge Haywood Gilliam, was limited to a number of states, but the ruling issued by Judge Wendy Beetlestone of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania is a nationwide injunction. For the key documents and more information, see the Civil Rights page of this website.

President Signs Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018
January 15, 2019. President Trump has signed into law H.R. 4174, the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018. See more about the act in the posting below.
   White House Release About the Signing.

Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 Goes to President for Signature
December 31, 2018. (Updated January 8, 2019) The House by a vote of 356-17 has agreed to Senate amendments and has sent to the president for signature H.R. 4174, Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018. In addition to Title I, on Federal Evidence Building Activities, the legislation also contains Title II which is the Open, Public, Electronic, and Necessary Government Data Act or the OPEN Government Data Act and Title III, the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2017. As the Congressional Research Service summary explains, Title I "[R]equires departments and agencies identified in the Chief Financial Officers Act to submit annually to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Congress a plan for identifying and addressing policy questions relevant to the programs, policies, and regulations of such departments and agencies. The plan must include: (1) a list of policy-relevant questions for developing evidence to support policymaking, and (2) a list of data for facilitating the use of evidence in policymaking. The OMB shall consolidate such plans into a unified evidence building plan. The bill establishes an Interagency Council on Evaluation Policy to assist the OMB in supporting government-wide evaluation activities and policies. The bill defines 'evaluation' to mean an assessment using systematic data collection and analysis of one or more programs, policies, and organizations intended to assess their effectiveness and efficiency. Each department or agency shall designate a Chief Evaluation Officer to coordinate evidence-building activities and an official with statistical expertise to advise on statistical policy, techniques, and procedures. The OMB shall establish an Advisory Committee on Data for Evidence Building to advise on expanding access to and use of federal data for evidence building." CRS Summary.
   Then House Speaker Paul Ryan sponsored legislation in 2015 which became law in March 2016 to create a commission to study evidence-based policymaking and make recommendations. The Commission reported in September 2017. The new bill, H.R. 4174 came as a result of that. The links to the commission act, the commission report, and the House Committee Report on H.R. 4174 are provided below.
   Access the Enrolled Bill version of Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018.
   Access the Evidence-Based Policymaking Commission Act of 2016.
   Final report of the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking.
   House Committee Report for H.R. 4174.

U.S. District Court Rejects Trump Administration's Narrowing of Asylum Credible Fear Determination
December 20, 2018. U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan has issued an injunction against a set of actions taken by then Attorney General Sessions determined to issue his own ruling in an asylum case known as In the Matter of A-B- in which he narrowed the criteria that an asylum seeker could use in a bid for refugee status and asylum in the U.S. For more information and key documents in the case, see the Refugees and Immigrants page of this website.

Speech Pathologist Sues Challenging Texas Contract Requirement that the Contractor Will Not Boycott Israel
December 18, 2018. A speech pathologist who was a longtime contractor with a Texas school district has brouht suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas challenging a 2017 state statute that required contractors to promise that they do not and will not boycott Israel claimin a violation of the First Amendment. For more information and the complaint in the case, see the Public Contract Manaement page of this website.

GovInfo.ov Replaces Federal Digital System
December 17, 2018. The transition is now complete and the GovInfo.ov website has replaced the Federal Digital System (FDsys.gov as the basic reference source for federal documents.Because of that change, this website will be undergoing updates to ensure accurate links.
   Access Govinfo.gov.

District Court Judge in Texas Declare the Affordable Care Act Illegal
December 15, 2018. Judge Reed O'Connor of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas has ruled that in light of the 2017 tax revisions, the Affordable Care Act is illegal. For more information and the opinion, see the Health Care, Disability, and Development page of this website

EU Court of Justce Rules that Britain Can Unilaterally Withdraw Its Notice of Intent to Leave the European Union
December 10, 2018. The Court of Justice for the European Union announced today that Britain can unilaterally withdraw its statement of intent to leave the EU notwithstanding the steps taken to this point to separate from it. "In today's judgment, the Full Court has ruled that, when a Member State has notified the European Council of its intention to withdraw from the European Union, as the UK has done, that Member State is free to revoke unilaterally that notification. That possibility exists for as long as a withdrawal agreement concluded between the EU and that Member State has not entered into force or, if no such agreement has been concluded, for as long as the two-year period from the date of the notification of the intention to withdraw from the EU, and any possible extension, has not expired. The revocation must be decided following a democratic process in accordance with national constitutional requirements. This unequivocal and unconditional decision must be communicated in writing to the European Council. Such a revocation confirms the EU membership of the Member State concerned under terms that are unchanged as regards its status as a Member State and brings the withdrawal procedure to an end." Court of Justice Press Release at 1-2.
   Read Judgment and Order of the Court.
   Read the Opinion of the Advocate General.
   Read EU Court of Justice Press Release on the opinion.
   Access the Website for the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Third Circuit Upholds New Jersey Limit on High Capacity Gun Magazines
December 7, 2018. A panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has upheld a New Jersey law limiting gun magazines. Writing for the majority, Judge Shwartz said: "Today we address whether one of New Jersey's responses to the rise in active and mass shooting incidents in the United States-a law that limits the amount of ammunition that may be held in a single firearm magazine to no more than ten rounds-violates the Second Amendment, the Fifth Amendment's Takings Clause, and the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause. We conclude that it does not. New Jersey's law reasonably fits the State's interest in public safety and does not unconstitutionally burden the Second Amendment’s right to self-defense in the home. The law also does not violate the Fifth Amendment's Takings Clause because it does not require gun owners to surrender their magazines but instead allows them to retain modified magazines or register firearms that have magazines that cannot be modified. Finally, because retired law enforcement officers have training and experience that makes them different from ordinary citizens, the law’s exemption that permits them to possess magazines that can hold more than ten rounds does not violate the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause. We will therefore affirm the District Court’s order denying Plaintiffs' motion to preliminarily enjoin enforcement of the law." Assoc. of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs v. Attorney General of New Jersey, Opinion, at 4-5. There was one dissenting judge.
   Read the opinion.

New York Judge Rejects President's Effort to Dismiss State Attorney General Suit Against Trump Foundation and Its Officers As Barred by U.S. Constitution
November 23, 2018. New York Supreme Court Justice Saliann Scarpulla, citing the 1997 Clinton v. Jones ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, rejected a motion by President Trump to dismiss a suit against him brought by the New York Attorney General, alleging illegal operation of the Trump foundation. The president's attorneys had argued that the Supremacy Clause, Article 6, § 2, barred the suit.
   Read the Decison and Order.
   Read the NY Attorney General Press Release on the Ruling.

District Court Judge Rules Federal Criminal Law Against Female Genital Mutilation Unconstitutional
November 23, 2018. Judge Bernard A. Friedman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan has dismissed charges in a criminal case alleging female genital mutilation concluding the federal statute was unconstitutional both because he asserts that it violates principles of federalism and is not supported by the commerce clause of Article I. The Justice Department had argued, in addition to their position that Congress had power under the commerce and the necessary and proper clauses of Article I to act, the legislation was also justified by the U.S. treaty obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. For detailed information and the Opinion and Order as well as the statute, see the Civil Rights page of this website.

Judge Issues Temporary Restraining Order on Trump Limits on Asylum Process
November 20, 2018. U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar has granted a temporary restraining order against President Trump's Proclamation 9822 which limited asylum seekers to designated ports of entry from Mexico into the United States. For full information about the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Trump case and relevant documents, see the Refugees and Immigrants page of this website.

Federal District Judge Rules in Favor of CNN and Acosta and Against the President's Decision to Remove Reporter's Press Pass
November 16, 2018. Judge Timothy J. Kelly of the U.S. District Court for the Disctrict of Columbia has issued a temporary restraining order against the Trump administration's decision to remover the press pass of CNN White House reported James Acosta, citing Fifth Amendment due process protections. The Cable News Network (CNN) and its Chief White House correspondent, James Acosta, had filed suit in connection with the administration decision to remove Acosta's so-called "hard pass" credential that allowed him quick access to the White House like other regular correspondents.
   Read the Transcript and Order.
   Read the complaint.

Presidential Actions Place Limits on Asylum Process Sparking Legal Challenges
November 15, 2018. President Trump, in a widely publicized action on November 9, issued Proclamation 9822 entitled "Addressing Mass Migration Through the Southern Border of the United States" which limited asylum seekers to designated ports of entry from Mexico into the United States." On that same day, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Department of Homeland Security; the Executive Office for Immigration Review, and the Department of Justice issued an interim final rule entitled "Aliens Subject to a Bar on Entry Under Certain Presidential Proclamations; Procedures for Protection Claims." The American Civil Liberties Union, Southern Poverty Law Center, and Center for Constitutional Rights immediately filed suit East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Trump challenging the new policy. For more information and relevant documents, see the Refugees and Immigrants page of this website.

CNN Sues Trump and Others for Removing Reporter's Press Pass
November 13, 2018. The Cable News Network (CNN) and its Chief White House correspondent, James Acosta, have filed suit in the District Court for the District of Columbia again President Trump and other administration officials alleging violations of the First and Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and the Administrative Procedure Act in connection with the administration decision to remove Acosta's so-called "hard pass" credential that allowed him quick access to the White House like other regular correspondents.
   Read the complaint.

Federal District Court Issues Injunction Against Keystone XL Pipeline
November 9, 2018. Federal Disrict Judge of the Dictrict of Montana has issued an injunction against the Keystone pipeline, finding that the decisions to proceed did not meet the "hard look" requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Adminisrative Procedure Act. For more information and the order, see the Sustainable Development page of this website.

9th Circuit Upholds Ruling Against Trump Administration Attempt to Stop DACA Program
November 8, 2018. A panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has upheld a district court ruling that blocked the Trump administration's attempt to eliminate the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program. Given its previous attempt to have the Supreme Court hear the case, it is highly likely that the administration will appeal promptly. For more information and the opinion, see the Refugees and Immigrants page of this website.

Supreme Court Stays Further Action in Oregon Climate Change Case
October 22, 2018. Chief Justice Roberts issued a stay on Friday in the case that began as Juliana v. United States, a suit originally brought by 21 children at the time, as well as an environmental advocacy group and a former NASA scientist seeking to mandate action by the courts against the federal government to ensure that took serious steps to deal with climate change that will particularly affect future generations. They asserted that the failure to do so violates the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. For more information and the relevant documents, see the Sustainable Development page of this website.

District Court Clears Path for Student Borrower Protection Rules
October 17, 2018. Judge Randolph D. Moss of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia yesterday issued an opinion California Association of Private Postsecondary Schools v. DeVos which followed a September 12 ruling in Bauer v. DeVos, both dealing with efforts to block implementation of rules issues by the Obama administration in November of 2016 on the subject of protections for student borrowers. The current Department of Education had sought to delay implementation of the rules, but multiple plaintiffs challenged that action. In September, Moss ruled that: [T]he Section 705 Stay was arbitrary and capricious and thus unlawful under the Administrative Procedure Act ('APA'); that the Interim Final Rule [by the current administration] was, for the most part, moot; and that the Final Delay Rule was issued in violation of the Higher Education Act’s negotiated rulemaking requirement." However, the judge stayed his order pending a decision in a case filed by the California Association of Private Postsecondary Schools. In the October 16 opinion, Moss rejected the petition for a preliminary injunction which clears the way for the Obama era rules to go into effect.
   Read the October 16 Memorandum Opinion.
   Read the September 12 Opinion.
   Access the 2016 Rules.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Announced Proposed Rule on Drug Price Tranparency
October 16, 2018. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a proposed rule that would mandate disclosure of drug prices in television advertising. For more information and the documents, see the Health Care, Disability, and Development page of this website.

Senate Commerce Committee Holds Hearings on Data Privacy Driven by New California law and EU Policy
September 21, 2018. Senate Commerce Committee holds hearing entitled "Consumer Data Privacy: Examining Lessons From the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation and the California Consumer Privacy Act." This hearing and negotiations over a possible federal statute follow on industry reaction to the new California Consumer Privacty Act of 2018 (AB-375)The discussion is also driven in part by the EU experience under the Directive 95/46/EC(General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
   This hearing follows a September 26 hearing in which Internet and Communications company executives testified.
   Access Read California's AB-375 as Signed by the Governor and Chaptered.
   Access the Senate Commerce Committee page on today's hearing.
   Access the Senate Commerce Committee page on the September 26, 2018 hearing. (Previous heading video is archived on the site.)
   Read the EU's Directive 95/46/EC(General Data Protection Regulation.
   Access the EU webpage on Personal Data Protection.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Issues Latest Report With Dire Warnings
October 8, 2018. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued the latest in its series of reports. In releasing the "Special Report" today, the IPCC said in its press release that: "Limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society, the IPCC said in a new assessment. With clear benefits to people and natural ecosystems, limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C could go hand in hand with ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society." For the key documents, see the Sustainable Develoment page of this website.

The Supreme Court Begins Work on Its October Term 2018
October 2, 2018. The U.S. Supreme Court begins its October 2018 term. As usual, the Court issued a lengthy order list on the first day of its new term. The current granted and noted lists and other information on the docket as well as the briefs and oral arguments follow.
Start of October term Order List and Cases Granted and Noted List.
   Order List for October 1.
   October Term 2018 Granted and Noted List as of Septmber 27, 2018.
The "On the Docket" site that was formerly done through the Medill School of Journalism of Northwestern University is now part of OYEZ project.
   Review the Docket through "Oyez Cases."
SCOTUS Blog provides a wide range of information on the Court, its recent rulings, oral arguments, and docket.
   Review the Docket through SCOTUS Blog.
The U.S. Supreme Court's Oral Arguments page is a good one stop site to find transcripts of oral arguments, schedules, and briefs. Starting this year, the Court is also making available the audio of its arguments.
   U.S. Supreme Court Oral Argument Transcripts Page
   U.S. Supreme Court Oral Arguments Audio
The U.S. Supreme Court's Opinions page provides recently issued opinions and previous years as well.
   U.S. Supreme Court Opinions Page.
The American Bar Association operates a "Preview" page with the the supreme court briefs that are available.
   U.S. Supreme Briefs on Line Page NOTE: The page for the 2018-2019 term has not yet been posted. The posted page at present is the 2017-2018 set of briefs. This link will be updated when the new page is available.
The U.S. Solicitor General posts briefs filed for the United States in the U.S. Supreme Court.
   Solicitor General U.S. Briefs
Oral Argument Audio, Opinions, and other Supreme Court Information via "SCOTUS Blog."
   Access SCOTUS Blog

U.S. Department of Transportation Issues Final Rule Rolling Back Oil Train Brake Safety Requirements
September 26, 2018. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) in the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a final rule entitled: "Hazardous Materials: Removal of Electronically Controlled Pneumatic Brake System Requirements for High Hazard Flammable Unit Trains." It rolls back rules issued in 2015 by the same agency during the Obama administration. For more information and related documents, see the Sustainable Development page of this website.

Federal District Judge Overturns Delisting of Grizzly Bears
September 25, 2018. Chief Judge Dana L. Christensen of the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana has issued an order in a case that consolidated several suits that had challenged the delisting of grizzly bears from the Endangered Species Act. He began his order by stating clearly that: "In this Order, the Court vacates the June 30, 2017 Final Rule of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service delisting the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem population of grizzly bears, and restores Endangered Species Act status to the Greater Yellowstone grizzly." Crow Indian Tribe v. United States, Order, at 1. For more information and the court's order, see the Sustainable Development page of this website.

Library of Congress Launches Publicly Available CRS Reports Website
Septembner 21, 2018. The Library of Congress has launched the new and now publicly available Congressional Research Service Reports website which was mandated by Section 154 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2018. Until the passage of that legislation, the LOC took the position that the CRS reports were prepared for the use of Congress and did not make them available to the public, though other websites (see CRS reports information on this webpage) did make many of them available online.
   Access the CRS Reports Library of Congress Page.
   Read P.L. 115-141 Consolidated Appropriations Act 2018.

Settlement Reached in Case Challening Trump Administration Asylum Actions
September 13, 2018. The Legal Aid Justice Center and the Muslim Advocates have announced a settlement with the Justice Department in three consolidated cases, Dora v. Sessions, Ms. L. v. ICE, and M.M.M. v. Sessions, that challenged the Trump administration's asylum procedures under their zero-tolerance and family-separation policies. For more information and the key documents, see the Refugees and Immigrants page of this website.

Supreme Court of India Strikes that Criminalized Gay Sex
September 6, 2018. The Supreme Court of India, in an opinion by Dipak Misra in Jophar v. Union of India, No. 76 of 2016, September 6, 2018, has struck down Section 377 of India’s penal code that outlaws sexual conduct between adults of the same sex and overturned previous precedent upholding that prohibition. For more information and the opinion, see the Civil Rights page of this website.

Confirmation Hearings for Brett M. Kavanaugh as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Begin Tomorrow
September 3, 2018. The Senate Judiciary Committee begins hearing tomorrow on the confirmation of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh as Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. In addition to the lengthy questionnaire, the webpage created by the committee also provides a large volume of material, submitted in the form of appendices to the questionnaire, to accompany the nominee's responses to the specific questions posed. These contain his speeches, writings, and citations to his judicial opinions. They also provide a range of letters submitted to the committee by others concerning the nomination.
   The committee has provided an online portal to watch the hearings live along with a schedule and list of witnesses. Tomorrow will be largely consumed with the opening statements of the members of the committee and the nominee. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 9:30 am Eastern.
   Read Kavanaugh's Responses to Judicial Committee Questions.
   Access the confirmation materials, including the questionnaire and the relevant appendices.
   View the Live Video and Access the Schedule and List of Witnesses from the Committee.

GAO Report on 2020 Census Finding Challenges and Risks with Developing, Testing, and Securing IT Systems
September 3, 2018. The Government Accountability Office has issued a new report on the status of preparations for the 2020 census which found continuing "challenges and risks with developing, testing, and securing IT systems." Summarizing its findings, the GAO found four general areas of significant difficulty, including "schedling management," "contractor oversight," "IT cost growth," and "cybersecurity." For more information and the report, see the Public Contract Management page of this website.

Federal District Court Issue Bars Release of Computer Aid Design Files for Plastic Guns
August 27, 2018. U.S. District Court Judge Robert S. Lasnik who issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting a company and its leader from publishing computer aided design files for guns that can be created with a standard 3-D printer at the end of July has not issued a preliminary injunction in that case. This began as a lawsuit filed by the Washington Attorney General and joined by seven other states and the District of Columbia. (See August 1 pposting below.) The federal government had previously barred distribution of the materials and those actions had prevailed at the district court and court of appeals level, but the Trump administration entered into a settlement with the group involved and in July changed the rules to allow distribution of the information.
   Read the Preliminary Injunction.
   Read the Washington AG press release on the Prelimnary Injunction.

Judge Strikes Trump Executive Orders on Civil Service Changes
August 25, 2018. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has found three executive orders issued earlier this year by President Trump intended to change the management and ability to terminate public employees to have exceeded his authority and violated the employees rights under the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Act (FSLMRS) "[T]his Court will enjoin the President's subordinates within the Executive Branch to disregard: sections 5(a), 5(e), and 6 of Executive Order 13,836; sections 3(a), 4(a), and 4(b) of Executive Order 13,837; and sections 3, 4(a), and 4(c) of Executive Order 13,839. In this Court's view, these directives undermine federal employees' right to bargain collectively as protected by the FSLMRS, and as a result, the President must be deemed to have exceeded his authority in issuing them."American Federation of Government Employees v. Trump, Memorandum Opinion, at 7.
   Read The Memorandum Opinion.
   Read Executive Order 13,836 ("The Collective Bargaining Procedures Order").
   Read Executive Order 13,837 ("The Official Time Order").
   Read Executive Order 13,839 ("The Removal Procedures Order".

EPA Issues Replacement for Obama Era Clean Power Plan
August 21, 2018. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released what it calls the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule which the administration indicates is the replacement for the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan. For more information and documents, see the Sustainable Development page of this website.

Ninth Circuit Upholds Ruling Against Trump Administration on Sanctuary Cities
August 2, 2018. A panel of the Ninth Circuit rejected a Trump administration appeal against a ruling that its sanctuary cities policies violated the separation of powers among other factors, but vacated the nationwide injunction and remanded the case. For more information and the opinion, see the Refugees and Immigrants page of this website.

Federal District Court Issue Bars Release of Computer Aid Design Files for Plastic Guns
August 1, 2018. U.S. District Court Judge Robert S. Lasnik has issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting a group and its leader from publishing computer aided design files for guns that can be created with a standard 3-D printer in a lawsuit filed by the Washington Attorney General. The other plaintiffs in the case included Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia. The federal government had previously barred distribution of the materials and those actions had prevailed at the district court and court of appeals level, but the Trump administration entered into a settlement with the group involved and in July changed the rules to allow distribution of the information.
   Read the Temporary Restraining Order.
   Read the Complaint in the Suit Filed by the Washington Attorney General.
   Read the Washington AG press release on the Suit.

Federal District Court Rejects Trump Effort to Dismiss Emoluments Clause Suit
July 25, 2018. Judge Peter J. Messittee of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland has issued an opinion allowing the suit by the District of Columbia and the state of Maryland against President Trump for violations of the emoluments clause of the Constituion to move forward, refusing the administration's motion to dismiss for failure to state a valid cause of action. Judge Messittee had ruled against the administration back in March when it had sought dismissal of the case on standing grounds. Today's opinion is posted below as is the ruling on standing and the original complaint filed by the District of Columbia and the state of Maryland. For more information, see the posting below for March 29.
   Read the Most Recent Opinion.
   Read the March Opinion on Standing.
   Read the DC and MD Complaint.

Confirmation Process for Nomination of Bret Kavanaugh as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court is Now Underway
July 22, 2018. As is the committee's practice in nominations, the Senate Judiciary Committee has published the questionnaire completed by Judge Bret Kavanaugh as part of the process of confirmation of his nomination to be an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. In addition to the lengthy questionnaire, the webpage created by the committee also provides a large volume of material, submitted in the form of appendices to the questionnaire, to accompany the nominee's responses to the specific questions posed. These contain his speeches, writings, and citations to his judicial opinions.
   Read Part II Roberts' Responses to Judicial Committee Questions.
   Access the confirmation materials, including the questionnaire and the relevant appendices.

States Challenge Congressional Limit on State and Local Tax Deductions
July 19, 2018. The New York Attorney General has announced the filing of a lawsuit by New York, Connecticut, Maryland, and New Jersey in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York naming the secretary of the treasury and challenging the limits placed on the state and local tax deductions (SALT) by the major tax overhaul enacted as P.L. 115-97. In announcing the suit, the Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood said:"An analysis by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance shows that the cap will increase New Yorkers’ federal taxes by $14.3 billion in 2018 alone, and an additional $121 billion between 2019 and 2025. As set forth in the complaint, the law flies in the face of centuries of precedent, which establishes constitutional limits on the federal government’s ability to use its tax power to interfere with the sovereign authority of the states." The complaint asserts that in enacting the SALT changes, "Congress has violated the Tenth Amendment and exceeded the federal government’s tax power under Article I, Section 8 and the Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. It has also violated the constitutional guarantee of equal state sovereignty." New York v. Mnuchin, Civil Action No. 18-cv-6427, U.S. District for the Southern District of New York, Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief, July 17, 2018, at 34.
   Read the Complaint.
   Read the New York Attorney General's Press Release on the Suit.
   Access P.L. 115-97.

Federal Judge Issues Injunction Against DHS Treatment of Asylum Seekers
July 3, 2018. Judge James E. Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has issued a prelimnary injunction against the Secretary of Homeland Security finding that DHS is in violation of its own policies about the treatment of asylum seekers. For more information and the opinion, see the Refugees and Immigrants page of this website.

Supreme Court Activity

U.S. Supreme Court Resources
The "On the Docket" site that was formerly done through the Medill School of Journalism of Northwestern University is now part of OYEZ project.
   Review the Docket through "Oyez Cases."
SCOTUS Blog provides a wide range of information on the Court, its recent rulings, oral arguments, and docket.
   Review the Docket through SCOTUS Blog.
The U.S. Supreme Court's Oral Arguments page is a good one stop site to find transcripts of oral arguments, schedules, and briefs. The Court is also makes available the audio of its arguments.
   U.S. Supreme Court Oral Argument Transcripts Page.
   U.S. Supreme Court Oral Arguments Audio.
The U.S. Supreme Court's Opinions page provides recently issued opinions and previous years as well.
   U.S. Supreme Court Opinions Page.
Supreme Court Briefs via the Supreme Court website. To find briefs, it is necessary to go the Supreme Court "Docket Search" and place the docket number in the search window. The docket sheet comes up with links to posted documents on the sheet.
   Supreme Court Briefs via the Supreme Court Docket Search Page.
SCOTUS Blog provides Briefs and Links to Lower Court Opinions for Cases Pending on the Current Docket.
   Review the Case Documents through SCOTUS Blog.
   Access the Docket Search page.
The U.S. Solicitor General posts briefs filed for the United States in the U.S. Supreme Court.
   Solicitor General U.S. Briefs
Oral Argument Audio, Opinions, and other Supreme Court Information via "SCOTUS Blog."
   Access SCOTUS Blog

For Post 9/11 Policy Actions Click Here

For Public Law, Policy, and Public Administration Archive Entries Click Here

Budget and Finance

Biden Administration Releases FY 2022 Budget Materials
May 28, 2021. The White House released the President's budget request for FY 2022 today. The Office of Management and Budget released the the budget proposal and the "fact sheets," . . . . other key documents include the "Major Savings and Reforms for FY 2022" document, the "Analytic Perspectives" document which provides the economic and policy assumptions behind the budget, and the "Appendix" which is the document that contains the very detailed information on agency budgets and funds. Those materials have now been released and all of the key budget documents are posted below.
   Download the FY 2022 Budget proposal as a single .pdf document, including the President's Message to Accompany the FY 2022 Budget.
   Download the FY 2022 Budget Facts Sheet.
   Access the FY2022 Budget Appendix -- All detailed information about agencies and funds.
   Access the FY 2022 Budget Analytic Perspectives document (economic and budget assumptions).
   Access the FY 2022 Federal Credit Supplement (information on direct loans and loan guarantees by the Federal Government.
   Access the FY 2022 Supplemental Materials website, including Federal Credit Supplement and other items.
   Access the U.S. Department of Education, Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Summary and Background Information.
   Access the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Fiscal Year 2022 Budget-in-Brief.
   Access the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Fiscal Year 2022 Budget-in-Brief.

Financial Report of the United States Government
April 12, 2021. The Financial Service Bureau of the Department of the Treasury publishes the Financial Report of the United States. The Government Accountability Office publishes a guide to understanding the financial report.
   Read the FY 2020 Report.
   Access the Financial Report of the U.S. Government website
   Access the GAO Guide to the Financial Report
   Read the Congressional Research Service's Report, "Federal Financial Reporting" Federal Financial and Budgetary Reporting: A Primer," 2020
   Read the Congressional Research Service's Report, "Federal Financial Reporting" (A 2013 report, but still a useful resource.)

Public Law Resources

The United States Supreme Court
   (Docket, Briefs, Oral Arguments, Opinions)
   Access the Supreme Court Homepage

Court of Appeals and District Court Opinions
   Government Printing Office -- U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
   Government Printing Office -- U.S. District Courts
   The Legal Information Institute Cornell University
   http://www.law.cornell.edu/federal/opinions.html
   FindLaw.com
   http://www.findlaw.com/casecode/

Constitution of the United States
   The Constitution with Analysis and Interpretation (GPO for the Senate 2016 Edition).
   The Constitution -- The Basic Document from (GPO) as Amended and Unratified Amendments.
   The Amendments to the Constitution -- The Basic Document from (GPO)

United States Code and Statutes at Large
   The U.S. Code and the Statutes at Large from 1789 to the present are available online. The materials up to 1950 are available through the Library of Congress online and from 1951 on are available through the Government Printing Office online resources.
   Access the U.S. Code.
   Access the Statutes at Large Via the Library of Congress. This site includes Volumes 1-64, (1789-1950) via the Library of Congress website
   Access the Statutes at Large (1951 - Present).

U.S. Regulations (Federal Register and Code of Federal Regulations)
   GovInfo.gov is the primary site to access federal documents. [The Federal Digital System (FDsys) which had been the federal portal was replaced by GovInfo.gov in December 2018.]
   Federal Register
   Code of Federal Regulations
   Access GovInfo.gov

U.S. Government Regulation Process Portals
   Regulations.gov is the comprehensive Internet portal created in response to the E-Government Act of 2003 where comments can be provided to pending rules.
   http://www.regulations.gov
   RegInfo.gov is a site that provides status reports and regulatory analysis materials on federal rules, including the regulatory Agenda, regulatory review analyses, information collection analyses, and public input on pending rules (via Regulations.gov).
   http://www.reginfo.gov

U.S. Department of Justice Opinions and Briefs
   Opinions Issued by the Office of Legal Counsel
   Briefs Filed by the Solicitor General

Presidential Executive Orders
   Until the beginning of the Trump Administration, executive orders and the changes they made in other existing orders were available through the National Archives' "Disposition Tables." Since the beginning of the Trump administration, there has been a transition underway to provide the orders through a "Executive Orders" site operated by the Office of the Federal Register.
   National Archives and Records Administration
   Disposition Tables from Dwight W. Eisenhower to George W. Bush
   Full text links from 1995 to January 20, 2017
   http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/executive-orders/disposition.html
   Office of the Federal Register
   Executive Orders
   Full text links from 1995 to January 20, 2017
   Full text links from 1994 to Present

Presidential Proclamations and Presidential Memoranda
   Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents Through January 2009 and then Daily Compilation of Presidential Documents thereafter.
   Because of their historical importance, the Alito Memorandum, the signing statement on the Detainee Protection Act, and the response of Senators McCain and Warner to are posted as well. Also at the request of some interested in the subject, articles on the subject by the author are provided.
   Federal Register Presidential Proclamations Website
   Federal Register "Other Presidential Documents" Website Focusing on Presidential Memoranda.

Other Sources for Accessing Presidential Proclamations, Memoranda, Signing Statements
   Compilation of Presidential Documents
   Ms. Joyce Green's Index to signing statements from 2001 to presentl
   Ms. Joyce Green's Signing statements from 2001 to presentl
   Ms. Joyce Green's Signing statements from 2001 to presentl -- Annotated
   Access the Woolley and Peters Data Base of Signing statements from 1929 to present.
   Additional Materials About the Alito Memorandum, the Detainee Protection Act Order, the Senate Response, and Explanatory Articles.
   Read the Alito Memorandum.
   Read the Presidential Signing Statement on H.R.2863.
   Read the Levin Response to the Signing Statement.
   Read the McCain and Warner Response.
   Access Phillip J. Cooper, George W. Bush, Edgar Allan Poe, and the Use and Abuse of Presidential Signing Statements.
   Access Phillip J. Cooper, Signing Statements as Declaratory Judgments: The President as Judge.

National Security Directives
   Federation of American Scientists
   http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/direct.htm

Executive Agreements and Treaties
   Treaties are international agreements that require Senate advice and consent under the Constitution, but executive agreements do not in most instances require specific congressional approval, though they may require appropriations or other actions for implementation. Executive agreements are considered as treaties in the international arena even though they are not treaties within the United States in constitutional terms. The U.S. Department of State Provides the following sources.
   For information on international materials, see the International Law Resources further down on this webpage.
   Texts of International Agreements to Which the U.S. is a Party (TIAS)
   Treaties in Force
   Treaties Pending in the Senate
   Office of Legal Adviser for Treaty Affairs

United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) Reports
    GAO Reports to Congress, testimony, Comptroller General's Contracts Rulings, Major Rulemaking Reports
   http://www.gao.gov/

Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS)
    "ACUS is an independent federal agency charged with convening expert representatives from the public and private sectors to recommend improvements to administrative process and procedure. ACUS initiatives promote efficiency, participation, and fairness in the promulgation of federal regulations and in the administration of federal programs." From the ACUS website. The site provides a variety of resources, including ACUS reports on specific topics in administrative law.
   ACUS Homepage

Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports
   Congressional Research Service reports to Congress are prepared for the use of the committees and members of Congress. The Library of Congress has launched a publicly available Congressional Research Service Reports website (mandated by Section 154 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2018). Until the passage of that legislation, the LOC took the position that the CRS reports were prepared for the use of Congress and did not make them available to the public, though other websites have made many of them available online.
   The Federation of American Scientists' site website has been one of the best places to find CRS reports. A site opened in 2016 known as EveryCRSReport.com with more than 8,000 such documents.
   Access the CRS Reports Library of Congress Page.
   Access a collection of selected CRS reports via the Federation of American Scientists site.
   .Access the EveryCRSReport website.

Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS)
   As the ACUS explains it "ACUS is an independent federal agency charged with convening expert representatives from the public and private sectors to recommend improvements to administrative process and procedure."
   Access the ACUS Website
   Access the Federal Administrative Procedure Sourcebook
   Access the Sourcebook of United States Executive Agencies

U.S. Government Agencies Directory and US Government Manual
   USA.gov Directory of Agencies and Elected Officials. The Government Printing Office also prepares the official US Government Manual. The other key item is a report in U.S. Executive Agencies prepared by the Administrative Conference of the United States.
   USA.gov Homepage
   Most Recent US Govenrment Manual (2017) in .pdf
   US Govenrment Manual Online
   ACUS Sourcebook of United States Executive Agencies

Native American Law Resources

Native American Tribal and Nation Constitutions and Bylaws
   Constitutions and Bylaws via University of Oklahoma Native American Constitution and Law Digitization Project
   Project Homepage

National Indian Law Library
   Includes Indian Law Bulletin and Tribal Law Gateway
   http://www.narf.org/nill/index.htm

National Indian Law Library
   National Indian Court Judges Association
   NILL Homepage

International Law Resources

United Nations International Law Materials
   Home page for UN Legal Affairs
   Access the United Nations Treaty Collection
   Access UN Documents

International Court of Justice
   Home Page
   Case Law

European Union Law "Eur-Lex"
   Home Page

Congressional and General Federal Research

Congressional Materials
   Congress.gov: Legislative Information on the Net
Congress.gov replaced Thomas.gov as the congressional website as of July 2016.
   Congress.gov Homepage
   Congressional Research Service Reports Congressional Research Service reports to Congress are prepared for the use of the committees and members of Congress and are therefore not generally published as are GAO reports. The Federation of American Scientists' site website has been one of the best places to find CRS reports.
   .Access the EveryCRSReport website.
   Access a collection of selected CRS reports via the Federation of American Scientists site.


   Legislative History Materials. The Law Librarians' Society of Washington, D.C., has published its "Legislative SourceBook"
   http://www.llsdc.org/sourcebook/
   Richard J. McKinney and Ellen A. Sweet, "Federal Legislative History Research: A Practitioners Guide to Compiling the Documents and Difting for Legislative Intent," on its Internet site.
   http://www.llsdc.org/sourcebook/fed-leg-hist.htm

General Federal Government Searches
   http://www.USAgov.gov/index.shtml

General Legal Research Sites

Legal Dictionary -- Findlaw.com
   Access this easy to use Legal Dictionary.

The Legal Information Institute Cornell University
   http://www.law.cornell.edu/

FindLaw.com
   http://www.findlaw.com/

Peter W. Martin, Introduction to Basic Legal Citation (LII 2003 ed.)
   http://www.law.cornell.edu/citation/

Federal Legislative History
   Offered by Library of Congress Law Library
   Offered by Georgetown Law Library
   "Federal Legislative History 101," by Rick McKinney, Provided by the Law Librarians' Society of Washington D.C.
   "Federal Legislative History Research: A Practitioner's Guide," by Richard J. McKinney and Ellen A. Sweet, Provided by the Law Librarians' Society of Washington D.C.

Standard Approaches to Statutory Interpretation
    Larry M. Eig Specialist in American Public Law of the Congressional Research Service has provided a useful guide to the essential norms of legislative interpretation, in his CRS Report to Congress entitled "Statutory Interpretation: General Principles and Recent Trends."
   Access "Statutory Interpretation: General Principles and Recent Trends."

Legislative History Guides for All 50 States
   Compiled by the Law Library of the Maurer School of Law, Indiana University