Last week, in Brownsville Tex., federal Judge Andrew S. Hanen issued a remarkable order to the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ): certify its lawyers have received ethics training before they can appear in federal court. Until then, they’re banned.
His order was provoked by the Justice Department’s own admission: its attorneys had repeatedly misrepresented the facts about Obama’s executive order on amnesty for illegal aliens in court appearances on behalf of the federal government in 2014 and 2015 (see here and here). Another word for these lawyers’s actions is called “lying.”
Their lies were material – central – to the transparency and good faith that “we the people” expect of our judiciary (emphasis added):
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Justice’s only explanation is that its lawyers either “lost focus on the fact” or “the fact receded in memory or awareness”—the fact here being realities that the DOJ was required to disclose to the court. The states weren’t able to make certain arguments or seek certain legal remedies because the program supposedly hadn’t been implemented, leaving them in a weaker legal position.
If the courts can’t take the government’s word for material facts, like whether Obama has already approved tens of thousands of amnesty applications in spite of a court injunction against them, there can’t be a rule of law or equal justice. There can only be an arbitrary, unequal, fully corrupted process holding only the law-abiding taxpayer hostage, who also foots the bill.
Which, in too many cases, is already taking place.
Just a few comments. First, the Obama DOJ is reportedly incensed about Judge Hanen’s order, objecting to it “strenuously.” The question is what Loretta Lynch will do about it. My guess is that she’ll appeal the order and openly resist taking any compliance action.
The egregious, appalling nature of what the DOJ attorneys did is evident. Resistance from the DOJ would be another example of Obama openly flouting law, truth, and decency before the people, with – effectively – a lazy, saturnine smirk on his administration’s face.
But it will be interesting to see how the courts respond. As The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) points out, such an order from a federal judge is uncharted jurisprudential territory. This is not because Hanen can’t order the ethics training for pleaders in his own court; it’s because his order is intended to apply to all the federal courts. Being in uncharted territory doesn’t mean Hanen has issued an invalid order, but it does mean at least one higher court will have the opportunity to rule on it, assuming DOJ appeals.
I don’t know that it will be easy to decide such an appeal. The courts will rightly focus on the scope of Hanen’s authority, as well as potentially relevant precedent. The proximate issue of lying by DOJ lawyers can’t be a politically charged deciding factor – at least not in good jurisprudence.
But the lawyers ordered to get ethics training will expect to keep appearing in federal courts, possibly as early as this week. I don’t know what’s on their calendars. Whatever those courts decide about the individuals in question will be America’s “writing on the wall.”
As it will be if the DOJ completely ignores Hanen’s order, and everyone else, including other judges and the DOJ proceed as if the order was never issued. Don’t count that possibility out. Trying to grapple with the order may be considered “too hard.” It may bee too inconvenient for the “justice” system, leaving too many uncharted, open-ended questions.
That’s what happens when corruption gets started. Stopping it – “sterilizing” it, to use WSJ’s verb – becomes too hard, because it would make everything grind to a halt. This attitude actually sounds temperate and reasonable to shortsighted minds. But it’s what leads to absolute collapse in the end. Understand this: we aren’t waiting for the day when our federal court and law enforcement system is no longer a “justice system.” That’s already happened.
This is a revised version of a post first published by LibertyUnyielding.com.