Lawblr side of Tumblr, here. I don’t think anybody even understands how terrifying this is. If the Executive can ignore the Judiciary, then we have a full-on Constitutional Crisis on our hands. Our country immediately falls apart. The only options for enforcement of judicial orders are 1) U.S. Marshals (which are ordered around by the Judiciary but ultimately still a part of the Executive as part of the Department of Justice), in which case we have an ACTUAL ARMED CONFLICT BETWEEN TWO BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT, or if the Marshals refuse to comply, 2) the Governor of the state, say Virginia, sends in the National Guard of the state, which leads to AN ARMED CONFLICT BETWEEN A STATE MILITIA AND THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
In case you weren’t getting the picture, let me be blunt and dramatic: this is literally Civil War-level shit right here.
And Trump has been in office a week.
This is fucking terrifying.
I spent the day at SeaTac (Seattle-Tacoma International Airport). We got very little done because CBP refused to talk to us at all. When one of the attorneys with us annoyed them so much that they finally answered their office door (she literally knocked on it for 10 minutes straight), they directed her to the press release on their website (side note: I don’t know if there even is a press release on the CBP website). They told her they don’t care how many attorneys show up, they don’t take orders from attorneys or judges. Senator Patty Murray showed up just after 4:00 & CBP refused to talk to her, too. I will repeat that: Customs and Border Patrol refused to talk to a sitting United States Senator. They refused other senators at other airports, too, according to a WaPo article I read earlier.
I had to return to Portland tonight because I have work tomorrow. ACLU & International Refugee Assistance Project attorneys will be back at SeaTac tomorrow at 5:30 a.m. (including my law school bestie, I am so proud).
There were 13 people detained at SeaTac yesterday who were secretly transferred to a detention facility in Tacoma, so the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project is working with attorneys to straighten that right out.
Basically: Shit is going down, y’all. The women I went up with today? Both were Arabs. One was from Pakistan, the other was from Lebanon (a Christian, a Muslim and a Jew walk into an airport…). When I asked them if I was overreacting by feeling like this was a coup-in-progress, they said no. That’s precisely what this is.
I thought we had a coup-proof system. I was mistaken.
Keep fighting the good fight, lawyers. And if you’re in Portland, I’ll see you at Perkins-Coie tomorrow at 5:30 for the L4GG meeting.
At Dulles, CBP has been stonewalling four members of the US House of Representatives, the governer and attorney general of Virginia, and Senators Cory Booker (NJ) and Mark Warner (VA)–the latter of whom chewed out the head of CBP in person. No dice. Not even with a federal court order telling CBP at Dulles, only them, and them in particular to give detainees access to lawyers.
And they’re pulling an old trick from the national-security handbook that’s been used to evade the courts on issues like domestic surveillance: “Lawyers and advocates still didn’t know how many people were being held in the secondary inspection area at Dulles or what their immigration status was, which led to a catch-22: Attorneys couldn’t file for contempt of court without having proof that legal residents were being detained and not being given access to lawyers, but they couldn’t get proof without getting access.” (x)
At least two VA reps have found out (via friends and family) about constituents being detained at Dulles, at which point CBP released them in order to dodge the access-to-lawyers issue. The representative for my district is on the warpath–and also on the House Oversight Committee. Here’s hoping these fuckers get slapped with contempt of court so hard their ears ring, then get hauled in front of a committee hearing to see if they want to try their chances with contempt of Congress.
All of which doesn’t even get into the Monday Night Massacre clusterfuck inside the executive branch, when the acting attorney general of the United States refused to make the DoJ defend the lawfulness of the immigration order in court. And was summarily fired and replaced with someone more compliant. So here’s also hoping the Senate puts Jeff Sessions through absolute hell on his role in all this before they vote to confirm him as AG.
It’s like the civics lesson from hell.
Yeah, I need a break, y'all.
Dulles Update: The State of Virginia has filed a Motion to Show Cause against Tr*mp and the Dulles CBP. This would require CBP to prove that they’re not in contempt of court - by proving that they’re “not detaining anybody” as they claim.
We’ll see what this actually does - I can’t imagine Tr*mp or his goon squad will obey the law any more than they’ve already done - but I derive some small measure of satisfaction from the fact that any time this obscenity is in the actual White House he’s surrounded by two states and a district that fucking hate him.