Refusing to accept the federal government’s excuse that defying one of his judicial orders was a mistake, U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen has barred several Justice Department lawyers from his courtroom and ordered others to take classes in ethics.
“The misconduct in this case was intentional, serious and material,” the Brownsville, Texas-based judge wrote Thursday. “In fact, it is hard to imagine a more serious, more calculated plan of unethical conduct.”
In February 2015, Hanen issued an order to block the Obama administration from giving out 100,000 extended work permits as a result of a lawsuit by 26 states against Obama’s executive order allowing illegal immigrants to remain in the United States.
However, the administration went ahead and issued them anyhow. As a result, Hanen expressed his disappointment with the Justice Department on Thursday.
“Clearly, there seems to be a lack of knowledge about or adherence to the duties of professional responsibility in the halls of the Justice Department,” Hanen wrote in a 28-page order.
Judge Andrew Hanen is my new hero! Sad that he has to tell DOJ attorneys to tell the truth in court! Common sense appears to not be common.
— karminak (@karminak) May 20, 2016
Hanen’s order said the Justice Department “admitted making statements that clearly did not match the facts. It has admitted that the lawyers who made these statements had knowledge of the truth when they made these misstatements.”
He said the explanation he was given was that the lawyers “lost focus” or that the “fact(s) receded in memory or awareness,” which caused them to “effectively … misdirect” the court.
The Justice Department, he wrote, “purports to represent all Americans — not just those who are in favor of whatever actions the Department is seeking to prosecute or defend. The end result never justifies misconduct.”
As a result, Hanen ordered that, for the next five years, any attorney from the Department of Justice who wants to argue in either state or federal court in any state involved in the immigration case must take an annual three-hour ethics course.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch was ordered to give Hanen a “comprehensive plan” within 60 days that would “prevent this unethical conduct from ever occurring again.”
Hanen also demanded a list of all illegal immigrants given extended work permits, and said he may release that list to the authorities of the states where those illegal immigrants live, depending on the outcome of the U.S. Supreme Court’s review of the case, which is expected in June.
h/t: The Hill