- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 19, 2017

Federal Judge Andrew S. Hanen revoked his order that would have force Obama Justice Department lawyers to take remedial ethics classes as punishment for misleading his court in a major immigration case — but not before he delivered a ferocious tongue-lashing Thursday to all those involved, saying they were besmirching the reputation of all the government’s lawyers.

He said the Justice Department has notched 132 different cases of self-reported ethical misconduct in just four years, and said more than two dozen of those involved lawyers misleading the courts.

“They represent a steady stream of misconduct from the nation’s law firm,” Judge Hanen said.

The case involved President Obama’s 2014 deportation amnesty for as many as 4 million illegal immigrants.

Judge Hanen ruled the amnesty illegal, but also ruled that Justice Department lawyers misled him by saying the program hadn’t gone into effect, when in fact more than 100,000 three-year permits were granted to so-called Dreamers in the months before the judge’s February 2015 order putting the entire amnesty on ice.

The judge at the time slapped the Justice Department with sanctions, including mandatory ethics retraining. And he demanded that the government turn over to states a list of the illegal immigrants who’d been granted the three-year permits, instead of the two-year permits they were entitled to under a previous 2012 amnesty.

In a new opinion Thursday, though, the judge said the government no longer needs to produce the list of 100,000 illegal immigrants who got the three-year amnesty, since none of the states that sued to stop the program proved they were being harmed.

He also said that even though he was misled by the Justice Department lawyers, he has concluded it was inadvertent, and he said he would not impose penalties because of honest mistakes.

“This Court finds based upon the evidence finally produced that the attorneys in question did not intend to be dishonest and would not have made the misrepresentations had they recognized them to be inaccurate,” Judge Hanen wrote. “Had the Government come forward with this evidence sooner, all concerned would have been spared a lot of work and anxiety.”

Judge Hanen did, however, give the Trump administration an extra month to come up with a new strategy in the case, postponing until March the next deadline in the case. Analysts expect Mr. Trump will revoke the 2014 deportation amnesty policy that’s at the heart of the lawsuit, making the case null.

The judge, who sits in south Texas, has been a thorn in the side of the Obama administration for years, as one of the first to spot the surge of illegal immigrant children crossing the border. Then he issued the opinion that first halted the 2014 amnesty — a decision that was upheld by two appeals court decisions, and finally a split decision in the Supreme Court in June.

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