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Tuesday, July 03, 2018


Try, try again

by Tom Sullivan

Living in one of Charlie Pierce's "laboratories of democracy," an attentive voter sees patterns in how "the real work of governmentin’ gets done" among the insane clown posse running the state legislature. Give them this: they are relentless.

No matter how many voting rights court cases they lose, Republicans here try, try again, tweaking one law after another, looking for that legislative "sweet spot" that will tilt the balance of power even more in their favor without drawing another pie-in-the-face from the courts. Pay attention, because the behavior is not unique to North Carolina.

The sitting president's crew tried again and again since January 2017 to enact its Muslim travel ban. Finally, they got the Supreme Court ruling they wanted last week. The Court ruled that the president's statement about banning Muslims were not the issue, but rather sufficient national security justification for the policy.

A federal judge last week ordered the administration to halt most family separations at the southern border. The court also gave the government a hard timetable for reunifying families. That simply means it is time for the administration to try, try again.

Within 48 hours of the judge's order last week, attorney Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch told "The Rachel Maddow Show" last night, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) began denying bond to asylum seekers so they could reunite with their children. An ICE spokesman denied to TRMS any change in policy had occurred.

Mother Jones reports:

In an interview with Mother Jones, Austin-based immigration attorney Kate Lincoln-Goldfinch says that by denying bond and forcing migrant parents to remain in detention while they apply for asylum, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement is “completely disobeying the judge’s order—intentionally.” Jodi Goodwin, a south Texas immigration lawyer who is working with separated parents at the Port Isabel detention center, agrees that the bond denials conflict with the recent injunction.
Maddow asked whether the actions isn't in direct defiance of the judge's order.

"That was my reaction," Lincoln-Goldfinch replied, "and when I spoke with a deportation officer, I said I don't see how this is possibly in compliance with the judge's order, and he said I don't see how it is either."

She sees no activity by the administration to comply with the order. "In fact, it's the opposite."

The Washington Post reports another federal court issued a ruling Monday against the administration's immigration policies:
U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg of Washington said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ignored its own policy stating that asylum applicants who establish a “credible fear” of persecution in their native country must be granted a court hearing within seven days or released.

He granted a preliminary injunction preventing the government from carrying out blanket detentions of asylum seekers at five large U.S. field offices, including those currently held, pending resolution of the lawsuit.
The American Civil Liberties Union claims mass imprisonment stems from the administration's desire to deter immigrants from seeking asylum.

U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg wrote in his decision, "This Opinion does no more than hold the Government accountable to its own policy, which recently has been honored more in the breach than the observance."
Boasberg granted provisional class status to asylum seekers. While the lawsuit is ongoing, the judge barred ICE from detaining applicants for more than seven days without doing a personalized review of their asylum claim, and giving specific written explanations for anyone the government says must be held.

The Justice Department said the case should be thrown out arguing that asylum detention decisions are the sole discretion of government agencies and insulated from court review to prevent asylum applicants from flooding courts with lawsuits.
Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer recounted the familiar tale of another president intent on getting his way, courts be damned:
In 1832 the Cherokee Indian tribe lived on land guaranteed them by treaty. They found gold on that land. Georgia tried to seize the land. The Cherokees sued. And eventually the Supreme Court, in Worcester v. Georgia, held in favor of the Cherokees. Georgia then refused to obey the Court. President Andrew Jackson reportedly said, "John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it." And Jackson sent troops to evict the Cherokees, who traveled the Trail of Tears to Oklahoma, thousands dying along the way.
For President Donald J. Trump and Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, that is the stuff of their dreams. For now, at least, there are plenty of tears.

North Carolina Republicans so far seem satisfied with legal workarounds to get their way. Outright defiance may come through observing their D.C. colleagues.

UPDATE: "Use your leverage," the sitting president advises. Now there's documentation his administration is using immigrant infants and toddlers as "leverage" to get their parents to give up asylum claims and agree to deportation.

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For The Win 2018 is ready for download. Request a copy of my county-level election mechanics primer at tom.bluecentury at gmail.