May 202016
 
 May 20, 2016  Court, Govt

Ian Millhiser reports:

A federal judge with a history of anti-immigrant sentiment ordered the federal government to turn over the names, addresses and “all available contact information” of over 100,000 immigrants living within the United States. He does so in a strange order that quotes extensively from movie scripts and that alleges a conspiracy of attorneys “somewhere in the halls of the Justice Department whose identities are unknown to this Court.”

That the judge, Andrew Hanen, believes that DOJ also lied to him, is not without consequences:

Additionally, Hanen ordered potentially hundreds of attorneys to attend remedial courses, regardless of whether those lawyers have ever appeared in his courtroom or even set foot in the state of Texas. Under his order, every single lawyer “employed at the Justice Department in Washington, D.C. who appears, or seeks to appear, in a court (state or federal) in any of the 26 Plaintiff States” must “annually attend a legal ethics course.” The Attorney General must appoint someone to provide annual reports to Hanen for five years, which must include “the name of the lawyer, the court in which the individual appeared, the date of the appearance and the time and location of the ethics program attended.” And, in case that’s not enough, he also ordered the Attorney General herself to “report to this Court in sixty (60) days with a comprehensive plan to prevent” the alleged misconduct that Hanen believes happened in his courtroom “from ever occurring again.”

Read more on ThinkProgress.

While refresher courses on ethics are always desirable and should be mandatory, having a judge in Texas decide attorneys in other states should be required to take the course because he thinks he was lied to – instead of a more benign interpretation that DOJ misunderstood his question – may foreshadow what happens if Rule 41 expansion is not stopped by Congress. Do we really want yahoo judges in one district issuing warrants that apply to individuals in other districts? I think not.

In the meantime, this order may worry immigrants who have done nothing to deserve a federal court order for their identities and contact information.

h/t, Joe Cadillic

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