Justice Department battle with judge goes to higher court

A federal appeals court was formally asked on Friday to vacate the tough sanctions leveled against it by a district court judge, claiming that the penalties it was given by the judge in a controversial case ‒ regarding the immigration policy of President Barack Obama ‒ were both extraordinary and wrong.

The blistering critique issued by Judge Andrew Hanen was challenged, as promised, by department lawyers, who took the case to the 5th Circuit US Court of Appeals, arguing that Hanen was erroneous when he accused them of having misled the court. Lawyers argued that Hanen misinterpreted simple misunderstandings as ‘intentional misleading’, but that, even if the lawyers’ actions had been incorrect, the sweeping remedy that Hanen ordered was well outside of his authority.

The dispute was sparked from the case in which 26 states, led by Texas, are attempting to block the executive order issued by President Barack Obama in November 2014 that would expand the already existing deferred action program and create another one to enable certain undocumented immigrants to be able to legally live and work in the United States. Hanen also initially presided on that case, which is now in front of the Supreme Court.

Hanen claims that lawyers for the Justice Department lied to the court about the actions that were taken on the deferred action program implemented by Obama, after claiming that no such action was taking place, and ordered the lawyer to attend a three hour ethics program.