Federal Judge Catches DOJ Lying, Sanctions Lawyers With Mandatory Ethics Classes

from the a-small-fix-that-indicates-a-larger-problem dept

The DOJ likes to sling lawsuits and injunctions towards law enforcement agencies with histories of misconduct and deception, but it’s apparently less interested in ensuring its own behavior is above reproach.

A lawsuit filed by a handful of states in opposition to the administration’s new (and controversial) immigration policies have made their way through a number of courts, with one headed to the top court in the land. Meanwhile, down in Texas, a federal judge has uncovered DOJ lawyers have been engaged in a pattern of deception since the inception of the litigation. While the Supreme Court will be tackling the question of whether the administration has to play by its own rules, Judge Andrew Hanen is spending his time reprimanding the government’s lawyers for their misdeeds. (via Jonathan Turley)

What remains before this Court is the question of whether the Government’s lawyers must play by the rules. In other words, the propriety of the Defendants’ actions now lies with the Supreme Court, but the question of how to deal with the conduct, or misconduct, of their counsel rests with this Court. To that end, this Court neither takes joy nor finds satisfaction in the issuance of this Order. To the contrary, this Court is disappointed that it has to address the subject of lawyer behavior when it has many more pressing matters on its docket. It is, at best, a distraction, and there is nothing “best” about the conduct in this case. The United States Department of Justice (“DOJ” or “Justice Department”) has now admitted making statements that clearly did not match the facts. It has admitted that the lawyers who made these statements had knowledge of the truth when they made these misstatements. The DOJ’s only explanation has been that its lawyers either “lost focus” or that the “fact[s] receded in memory or awareness.”

These misrepresentations were made on multiple occasions starting with the very first hearing this Court held. This Court would be remiss if it left such unseemly and unprofessional conduct unaddressed.

The lies the DOJ told involve a 2014 DHS directive that changed its handling of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The DOJ told the court and opposing counsel that no action under the new guidelines would commence until February 2015. These statements were made both orally (January 15, 2015) and in a filing (December 19, 2014). But in reality, the guidelines were already being used to process immigrants, resulting in over 100,000 modified DACA applications being granted or renewed by the DHS prior to either of these statements.

This was caught by the court in April 2015, but the DOJ insisted its statements weren’t lies, but rather the “innocent mistakes” of poorly-informed counsel, shifting the blame towards the DHS. Months later, the real truth has come out.

Now, however, having studied the Government’s filings in this case, its admissions make one conclusion indisputably clear: the Justice Department lawyers knew the true facts and misrepresented those facts to the citizens of the 26 Plaintiff States, their lawyers and this Court on multiple occasions.


In fact, the Justice Department knew that DHS was implementing the three-year renewal portion of the 2014 DHS Directive weeks before its attorneys told this Court for the very first time that no such action was being taken. Apparently, lawyers, somewhere in the halls of the Justice Department whose identities are unknown to this Court, decided unilaterally that the conduct of the DHS in granting three-year DACA renewals using the 2014 DHS Directive was immaterial and irrelevant to this lawsuit and that the DOJ could therefore just ignore it. [Doc. No. 242 at 17]. Then, for whatever reason, the Justice Department trial lawyers appearing in this Court chose not to tell the truth about this DHS activity. The first decision was certainly unsupportable, but the subsequent decision to hide it from the Court was unethical.

This isn’t the DOJ lying about a minor procedural detail. This is the DOJ lying about the DACA modification central to the states’ lawsuit against the US government. To purposely mislead the court and the defendants about the status of DACA applicants cannot be waved away with claims of foggy memories. It also cannot be waved away with claims that the DOJ had no idea so many applicants were already being processed using guidelines still being contested in federal court.

In its own defense, the Government has claimed it did not know before February 27, 2015, that the number of individuals that had been granted three-year deferrals between November 24, 2014, and the date of the injunction exceeded 100,000. It claims that it notified the Court very quickly after it realized that the number exceeded 100,000. This may be true, but knowing the exact number is beside the point. […] Whether it was one person or one hundred thousand persons, the magnitude does not change a lawyer’s ethical obligations. The duties of a Government lawyer, and in fact of any lawyer, are threefold: (1) tell the truth; (2) do not mislead the Court; and (3) do not allow the Court to be misled. See MODEL RULES OF PROF’L CONDUCT r. 3.3 cmts. 2 & 3 (AM. BAR ASS’N 2013). The Government’s lawyers failed on all three fronts. […] The failure of counsel to do that constituted more than mere inadvertent omissions—it was intentionally deceptive. There is no de minimis rule that applies to a lawyer’s ethical obligation to tell the truth.

The DOJ’s lies made the court’s temporary restraining order a joke.

The Court issued the temporary injunction on February 16, 2015. The timing of this ruling was clearly made based upon the representations that no action would be taken by Defendants until February 18, 2015. If Plaintiffs’ counsel had known that the Government was surreptitiously acting, the Plaintiff States could have, and would have according to their representations, sought a temporary restraining order pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65(b) much earlier in the process. […] Due to the Government’s wrongful misstatements, the Plaintiff States never got that opportunity. The misrepresentations of the Government’s attorneys were material and directly caused the Plaintiff States to forgo a valuable legal right to seek more immediate relief.

Unfortunately, the court is limited to what it can do in response to the DOJ’s misconduct. Holding the DOJ responsible for the involved states’ legal fees would result in the participating states effectively paying their own legal fees. It would be nothing more than moving around money collected from taxpayers and, thanks to federal taxes, robbing plaintiffs to pay plaintiffs. Instead, Judge Hanen has ordered that any DOJ lawyer who has — or will — appear in the courts of the 26 states involved in the lawsuit attend legal ethics courses. The courses will be provided by a legal agency unaffiliated with the DOJ, and the DOJ itself will be required to provide annual reports to the court confirming these courses are being attended.

This may seem like a laughable conclusion to such widespread, persistent dishonesty, but with the case currently in front of the Supreme Court, Judge Hanen only has a few options at his disposal. Awarding fees would be even more of a joke and he’s in no position to find in favor of the State of Texas, much less the other 25 plaintiffs. So, this will have to do. More importantly, this opinion is on the record, in writing, and will serve as documentation of the DOJ’s willingness to bend/break rules to serve its own purposes.

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Comments on “Federal Judge Catches DOJ Lying, Sanctions Lawyers With Mandatory Ethics Classes”

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Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Ethics can't be "taught"

Ethics can’t be “taught”
People are either ethical or they aren’t.

Everyone’s born as a selfish little brat who literally doesn’t understand anything beyond “I WANT WHAT I WANT, RIGHT NOW!!!” And then, over the course of the first several years of our lives, we (most of us at least) learn to become civilized, rational beings. So clearly it is something that can be taught in one form or another; otherwise, where does ethical behavior come from?

DigDug says:

Re: Re: Ethics can't be "taught"

Here’s the thing.

Anyone can be told what the differences between right behavior and wrong behavior.

Ethical behavior is only practiced by people who act on the knowledge between right and wrong.

People who’s very nature prohibits ethical behavior cannot have that behavior modified with further education.

Therefor, as I stated, Ethics cannot be taught.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Some ethics are instinctual.

Children start picking up reciprocity fairly early on, as best as they can understand the circumstances.

If that weren’t the case we’d require policing by a much larger portion of the population.

Indeed, in tribes of under a hundred people, crime is rare. The problem is large populations in which some people don’t consider each other people. e.g. Love your neighbor as you do yourself not applying to those bastards from the church across the street.

Wendy Cockcroft (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: Some ethics are instinctual.

I’d add to that the problem of a mobile population. Our society is fractured due to people having to move around to get better jobs, etc. As a result, the extended families that make up traditional communities are scattered. People generally tend to care for “me and mine,” so it’s entirely possible to live next door to someone for twenty years and not even know his name.

This makes us more susceptible to tribal behaviour in an effort to feel like we belong to SOMETHING.

When ethics is defined differently from group to group (e.g. Capitalists believe that altruism is evil) you may find conflicts in the way that ethics are practiced and this leads to conflict between people.

So yes, ethics can be taught, but it’s the kind of ethic that’s being taught that you need to think about.

Citation: http://capitalismmagazine.com/2014/12/altruism-means-self-sacrifice-not-benevolence/

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Some ethics are instinctual.

That is not something that capitalists believe; that is something that Objectivists believe. (And, sure enough, if you look at the FAQ link at the top of the linked website, you find a quote by Ayn Rand featured prominently.) Despite several decades of Rand and her disciples’ self-serving attempts to rewrite history, actual capitalism, as described by Adam Smith, has little to nothing to do with Objectivism.

Read The Wealth of Nations sometime and ask yourself, each time it teaches some principle, “would the people who loudly defend ‘capitalism’ and condemn ‘socialism’ today support or condemn this principle?” You’d be surprised how often the answer is “condemn.”

Objectivism is a hijacking of capitalism, twisting it to serve evil purposes, and it should not be considered actual capitalism any more than, (just to give one obvious example off the top of my head,) the KKK should be considered actual Christianity.

Wendy Cockcroft (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Some ethics are instinctual.

Sorry, Mason, I’d be more inclined to agree with you if I wasn’t A) Irish and B) fascinated by history.

You see, the laissez-faire doctrine underpinning capitalism was a major contributor to the decimation of our population during the Potato Famines. And if that wasn’t bad enough, they did the same in India, citing the same “the market will sort it out” rationale.

Citations: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/victorians/famine_01.shtml


Anonymous Coward says:

This attitude that it is alright to hide the facts, lie, and misrepresent, has spread through out this government and while it has been going on for a long time, it is especially a hallmark of the DOJ under the present administration. It can be seen in near all directions and is often covered here at Techdirt.

So far we’ve seen intentional lying, dropping cases so as not to reveal the source of info (Stingrays), intentional punishment to any that reveal wrong doing in direct violation of whistleblower protections, misrepresentations such as pushing hard for backdoors into programs, and the fact that while LEO is very good at reconstruction after the fact, that all this data collection has not forwarded the catching of terrorists before the fact. It all appears to be a house of cards, built solely to monitor the citizen, not to catch terrorist nor apprehend criminals.

That the criminal element now seems to present more of a danger coming from law enforcement than from the criminals is not improving the government’s creditability. If anything it is leading citizens to now believe the government is the problem, not the solution and that is one of the many reasons it is showing up voting results as they have been. Under most circumstances, voters would vote for the sponsored horse. The citizens’ attitudes have changed as much from the sort of actions stated in this article as from other actions they have seen themselves. In the long run, the government is doing itself more harm than good.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“That the criminal element now seems to present more of a danger coming from law enforcement than from the criminals is not improving the government’s credibility. If anything it is leading citizens to now believe the government is the problem, not the solution and that is one of the many reasons it is showing up voting results as they have been.”

Nice …

Hephaestus (profile) says:

the court is limited to what it can do in response to the DOJ’s misconduct. Holding the DOJ responsible for the involved states’ legal fees would result in the participating states effectively paying their own legal fees.

Here is a novel idea, have the DOJ lawyers pay the legal fees out of their own pockets. That might deter this sort of behavior in the future.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Fee shifting

Fee shifting works if, and only if, the party making the payment has no viable way to shift the resulting burden onto someone else. When a private party is made to pay, the burden is that the party has less money on hand. That party could try to charge higher prices for its future work to recoup the lost money, but if the market will bear those higher prices, then the loser could have charged the higher price anyway. Thus, fee shifting ends up with that party worse off for paying the fees than for not paying it.

In this context, getting the Federal government to pay the states’ fees makes sense if you believe that the Federal government will not immediately take an equal (or greater — because overhead!) amount from someone else who, in the absence of the fee shifting, would have kept their money. Sanctioning the lawyers personally is emotionally appealing because, unless they get their employer (the Federal government) to cover their costs in the end, they feel a direct penalty for their misconduct. It does not matter whether their normal salary is funded by taxpayer dollars. What matters is whether they can shift the burden of fee shifting onto an innocent party who had no control over their conduct. Even if the Federal government does reimburse them, if the burden is not then shifted onto an innocent party (e.g. by reducing funding to a division that serves the public), then the shift is a net win.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: I think we'd need to not only fire the transgressors...

…and blacklist them from ever working for the state again, but I also think we need to fire their immediate superiors and colleagues as well.

These are positions with a lot of power and they need to be held to a higher standard than the rest of us ordinary shlubs.

When oversight fails you have to cull the overseers as well.

nerd bert (profile) says:

Re: Re: I think we'd need to not only fire the transgressors...

Judge Hanen did effectively “disbar” the out-of-state attorneys involved in that he revoked their pro hac vice status, meaning that they can’t practice in Texas at least. That’s probably a more effective sanction than the ethics training since it effectively makes them useless for at least some jurisdictions.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: I think we'd need to not only fire the transgressors...

Judge Hanen did effectively “disbar” the out-of-state attorneys involved in that
> he revoked their pro hac vice status, meaning that they can’t practice in Texas
> at least.

Pro hac vice status is granted on a case-by-case basis. So revoking it for this case doesn’t mean they can never again practice in Texas. It just means they can’t practice in Texas on this case.

Anonymous Coward says:

Get Back To Me When the Victim is a Real Person

At worst this is a case of one part of the government lying to another part of the government about government procedures.

While I’m sure that these details are of utmost importance to that insular little club, on the scale of ethical violations this barely registers. When in recent history has a judge made similar sanctions when the wronged party was just a regular peon? Probably never, because no regular peon could even afford firepower to dig up the evidence of such misdeeds.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Get Back To Me When the Victim is a Real Person

Wow. So you welcome our new overloads. It never goes well for that guy.

What this is basically saying is that there are no checks on executive power, since the executive will just lie to the court and do what he wants. We have checks and balances, but when the courts are given bad information they will make bad decisions. If the executive can commit perjury and take unilateral action while lying to the court about it, we have a king not a president.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Get Back To Me When the Victim is a Real Person

As the Techdirt article notes, the attorneys for the states claim that they would have acted differently, and attempted to obtain for their clients a more favourable outcome, if the Department of Justice attorneys had been candid with the court. Given the facts available, there is little reason to believe that the states’ attorneys are lying about how they would have acted. This is not simply a dispute over procedures. This is a dispute over whether the states would have requested and the court would have issued different, and potentially substantial, orders affecting DHS actions. Due to the nature of the actions in question, it is extremely improbable that DHS can now repair the damage done, even if the court issued a total victory to the states and such ruling was upheld through all appellate levels.

Put another way, every citizen who lives in a state affected by the immigration program (which may include states that are not party to the suit) is a potential victim if DHS’s actions (1) lead to negative results that would have been avoided if DHS had done as the states wanted and (2) candor to the court in the beginning would have resulted in an order that successfully restrained DHS from implementing the program in the way that it ultimately did.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Get Back To Me When the Victim is a Real Person

Its a huuuuuge stretch for that logic be anything more than a molehill. OMG, all those states had to issue ID cards!!!! The cost is so enormous…

Its sad that neither of you two had anything to say about the lack of punishment when the government lies and manipulates in cases involving citizen defendants. Nope, y’all just ignored that despite straight up ruining real people rather than costing them a fraction of a cent.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Get Back To Me When the Victim is a Real Person

Issuance of identification cards may be the legal technicality on which standing is based, but the larger issue is whether the administration has the authority to enact the status changes that, if the states lose, will be enacted. If the cost of the cards were the only issue, I would have expected the DOJ attorneys to propose to the court that the Federal government would offer the reimbursement you describe and move that, with that harm addressed, that the case be dismissed. That they have not gotten the case dismissed in this faction says that the court believes there is more to the issue.

The specific dispute here is that the DOJ lawyers asserted repeatedly that nothing irreversible had happened yet or would happen until a particular date. If taken as truth, then the states need only obtain an injunction prior to that date in order to prevent the irreversible actions. In fact, conduct to which the states objected was already underway. Had the states’ attorneys known this, they would have behaved differently, likely petitioning the judge to immediately issue a preliminary injunction. The judge has now determined that the DOJ attorneys knew, or reasonably should have known, that the assurances they made to the court and to the states’ attorneys were wrong.

I said nothing about government abuse of innocent citizens because that is not a key point in this story. There are many bad things that the government does, and it would take quite a bit of space to denounce every single bad thing they do every time I discuss any particular bad thing they do. That I failed to denounce one bad thing, which is not even under discussion, is hardly an endorsement of their misbehaviour.

Pastor Warren G says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Get Back To Me When the Victim is a Real Person

On a finer point, just as the Administration does not have the legal right to change the law to fit its agenda, neither do they have the right to pay for things that are not allocated in the approved budget. The House of Reps has the power of the purse and simply paying for those ID cards and licenses is not an option that can easily implemented…unless you are in the Obama administration.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

No need for violence, you just need to make the punishment personal.

It’s easy to shrug off a ‘fine’ that you don’t have to pay(see: Every single fine against police officers), but when it’s coming out of your own pockets then it’s a lot more difficult to do so, because the guilty party is directly being punished, someone else isn’t being punished in their stead.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: That still leaves the fee-shifting problem.

So long as an officer has any way to shift the fee to someone else, it’s not a sufficient deterrent.

Corruption needs to have life-ruining consequences, especially since corruption makes for countless innocent lives being ruined daily.

Since, for instance, police officers can lie on the stand without consequences, they do routinely to secure convictions, regardless of guilt. We cannot possibly determine how often innocent people serve time, but it’s probably no longer rare.

And prison ruins lives. Not just the life of the convicts, but it destroys their families as well. And the people of the US don’t give a fuck, because they’re convicts.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

That would require someone in a position of authority forcing them to pay and that will not happen in the current culture of corruption. The system will not punish those guilty of crimes if they are part of the system.

That only leaves citizens to punish those that break laws, I doubt people will be willing to do that peacefully after seeing their government fail at applying consequences for breaking the law equally.

Allan Masri (profile) says:

Re: DOJ Lying

This is a political case that has nothing to do with whether DOJ lawyers “lied” to the court. Obama was forced to take this action to halt the deportation of migrant workers who are the sole support of American Citizen children. This was necessary because the Republicans in Congress blocked action on any bill addressing the migrant worker issue. Not only did they not bring a bill to the floor, they also prevented a bill that had already passed the Senate from being brought to the floor of the House where it would have passed.

The key issue in the case of Texas v. US is whether Texas has standing to sue. Under US Law you must be harmed by a law or other action to pursue a case in court. Texas claims it is harmed because it will need to pay for drivers’ licenses when the executive order goes into effect. This is an extremely marginal case, because the state of Texas might

(a) refuse to issue drivers’ licenses to aliens unless the full price of the drivers’ license is paid. The opens up questions of why Texas does not demand the full worth of a drivers’ license as a fee, but that is another issue.
(b) request the federal government to reimburse it for any added expense incurred by issuing these drivers’ licenses. In fact, there may be no added expense because people who have legal drivers’ licenses may also buy insurance and register their vehicles, both of which actions would save the state money in the long run.

But it is clear that the State of Texas does not care about losing money, they only care about embarrassing the Democratic president and harming American children whose parents are migrant workers for political advantage. If the court rules that this is the case, they will dismiss the case for lack of legal standing to sue.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: DOJ Lying

This was necessary because the Republicans in Congress blocked action on any bill addressing the migrant worker issue. Not only did they not bring a bill to the floor, they also prevented a bill that had already passed the Senate from being brought to the floor of the House where it would have passed.

Your rationale is that, because Congress failed to change what the current law says, the administration should just treat the law as if it says what the administration wishes it said. Is that a fair assessment? If Congress had instead brought the bill to the floor and voted it down, would you feel differently? In both cases, the law is unchanged.

If you think that leaving the law unchanged is license for the executive to reinterpret it, then what protects you from the executive deciding that, since Congress has not recently reaffirmed your right not to be summarily executed for any or no reason, then the administration can now engage in summary executions, because that aligns with the administration’s goals?

You may not like what the law says now, but there is a duly enacted law stating how the situation should be handled. The executive is sworn to uphold the law. Until that law is repealed, amended, or ruled unconstitional, that oath obligates them to follow the law to the best of their ability.

Let's Talk Turkey says:

Re: Re: DOJ Lying

Obama was forced to take this action to halt the deportation of migrant workers who are the sole support of American Citizen children. This was necessary because the Republicans in Congress blocked action on any bill addressing the migrant worker issue. Not only did they not bring a bill to the floor, they also prevented a bill that had already passed the Senate from being brought to the floor of the House where it would have passed.

They are all worried about what it would mean for their maids, cooks, butlers and grounds keepers. To have to put them on the books would mean they all need green cards and then they need them renewed every six months. Workman’s comp is very expensive and they damn well know the expensive burdon they put on everyone else.

Anonymous Coward says:

I must admit being curious why the judge did not mention referring the matter to the respective state bars that have licensed the lawyers who committed these acts. Perhaps such referrals for discipline are taking place behind the scenes, and what the judge is doing here is merely giving the miscreants much needed negative publicity.

Paul says:


So a judge can lock up a person indefinitely for not revealing their encryption password, but will only slap a lawyer over the wrist for lying. A local judge near me put two construction works doing repairs in other part of the building in jail for the afternoon for making too much noise when told to stop. But the same judge released without conviction the son of a big name lawyer who broke the skull of a another person in an unprovoked assault.

So why can’t a judge put a lying lawyer in jail for 30 days & refer them to the bar association? There really is true justice. Justice for the “elite” and then real justice for the normal person.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:


If a court can keep a person in jail for asserting their Fifth Amendment rights, then they sure as hell can toss a few prosecutors, cops, and their respective supervisors in jail for perjury. The supervisors would be for condoning the perjury they HAD to know was going to and was perpetrated. As THAT ONE GUY said above, make the punishment personal, and move it up the chain of command. It will stop.

Anonymous Coward says:

Footnote 10 hyperlinks

From page 17 of the opinion, in footnote 10:

See, e.g., Bradley T. Tennis, Uniform Ethical Regulation of Federal Prosecutors, 120 YALE L.J. 144 (2010); Paula J. Casey, Regulating Federal Prosecutors: Why McDade Should Be Repealed, 19 GA. ST. U. L. REV. 395 (2002).

(Hyperlinks added.)

Additionally, following the reference in footnote 17 on p.148 of Tennis:

• Harold J. Krent, Executive Control over Criminal Law Enforcement: Some Lessons from History, 38 AM. U. L. REV. 275, 286-303 (1989)

Just in case anyone here is looking to discuss a little bit of light reading ;-).

Dave Northmoon St. Witherspoonbergeron says:

Judge Hanen is a silly ninny and this nonsensical order will surely be overturned
on appeal soon enough. Silly ninny. These gov’t folks aren’t newbs. They’re skilled
lawyers who are sharp cookies, more experienced than any lawyer you or I will
probably ever meet.

Keep in mind that on the date that the “big lie” is purported to have been fibbed,
these gov’t folks observed the brief with THE DATES IN QUESTION right there IN THE
JUDGE’S HAND. They weren’t lying to his face. They were merely misunderstanding
the intended context of a carelessly-stated inquiry from a man who is revealed to be
in hind-sight relatively dim-witted.

The angry, shouty ruling relies upon one man’s squinty-eyed and selective memory of
the courtroom discussion in question. The gov’t’s reply is, not-for-nothing, sufficiently
reasoned to cast much doubt as to what was understood by the parties inside that room
on that date.

Techdirt’s analysis here is pretty lame. Read Judge Hanen’s hyperactive ruling for yourself
at the link below. That feisty rambling reveals a man who sits way up on a high horse.
With this ruling, and considering Judge Hanen’s record of bombastic overreach and histeria
on the matter of federal immigration policy, the man sure does live up to his reputation
of the root’nist-toot’nist, back-water American jurist that he most certainly is.

The judges’s incoherent issue begins fully scattershot by using the following over-the-top,
Hollywood dramatization to serve as document abstract to the ruling that follows.
Apparently, Judge Hanen wants his audience to get tingles of Oscar Night excitement
when we witness his holy writ. He’s a rather self-important and very silly ninny.

FBI AGENT HOFFMAN: Don’t go Boy Scout on me. We don’t have a rulebook here.
ATTORNEY JAMES DONOVAN: You’re Agent Hoffman, yeah?
ATTORNEY JAMES DONOVAN: German extraction?
ATTORNEY JAMES DONOVAN: My name’s Donovan, Irish, both sides, mother and father.
I’m Irish, you’re German, but what makes us both Americans? Just one thing …
the rulebook. We call it the Constitution and we agree to the rules and that’s
what makes us Americans. It’s all that makes us Americans, so don’t tell me
there’s no rulebook.
— BRIDGE OF SPIES (DreamWorks 2015) (emphasis added). Screenplay by Matt Charman, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen.


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: District of Columbia

The 50 States in the United States of America should definitely succeed from the District of Columbia.

Most people who think that the problems come from the District of Columbia believe that those problems make it harder, not easier, for the people and the states to succeed in their respective goals. I take it you are someone who believes that only through the advertisity caused by the Federal government will the the states become strong?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: District of Columbia

Perhaps you could enlighten us what was meant, then. I suspect GP was teasing GGP over the misuse of “succeed” where it almost certainly should have been “secede.” If so, it is you who missed the point of the wordplay, not the GP misunderstanding a larger issue.

btr1701 (profile) says:


> Unfortunately, the court is limited to what it can do in response to
> the DOJ’s misconduct.

Not as limited as you imply. The court could hold the lawyers in contempt, make them serve some time in jail and fine them personally for their dishonesty, and it could refer them all to their various bar associations for disciplinary action, to include disbarment.

The fact that court chose to do none of this in favor of some in-service ethics classes, which the attendees will spending either sleeping through or playing on their smart-phones, indicates the court didn’t actually find outright lying by the government to be very troubling at all.

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