Ethics lesson: Will Obama pervert further the posture of U.S. DOJ? Will courts help?

Ethics lesson: Will Obama pervert further the posture of U.S. DOJ? Will courts help?

A Justice Department already known for participating in the Fast & Furious gun-walker travesty, intervening in bad faith – and against the public interest – in local law enforcement, and slow-ww-www-rolling the investigation of Hillary Clinton, will soon demonstrate how much further it’s willing to go.

Last week, Judge Andrew S. Hanen, on the federal bench in Brownsville, Texas, issued a remarkable order to the Justice Department: certify that your lawyers have had new ethics training if you want them to plead in a federal court.  Hanen’s order bars them from appearing in federal court until they’ve had the remedial training.

The order was provoked by his finding of something Justice has already admitted: it repeatedly misrepresented the facts about Obama’s amnesty order in court appearances on behalf of the federal government in 2014 and 2015 (see here and here).  Another word for what the DOJ lawyers did in court is “lie.”

Their lies were material – central – to the transparency and good faith the people should be able to expect from the process (emphasis added):

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, and being paid for by him.

Which, in too many cases, is what we already have.

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 department 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 what the courts do.  As the Wall Street Journal 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 do about the individuals in question will be writing on the wall.

As it will be writing on the wall if Hanen’s order is ignored entirely, and everyone else – judges, DOJ – proceeds as if it was never issued.  Don’t count that possibility out.  Trying to grapple with the order may be considered “too hard”: too much inconvenience for the “justice” system, 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.”  It’s already here.

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer is a retired Naval Intelligence officer who lives in Southern California, blogging as The Optimistic Conservative for domestic tranquility and world peace. Her articles have appeared at Hot Air, Commentary’s Contentions, Patheos, The Daily Caller, The Jewish Press, and The Weekly Standard.

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