The Department of Justice filed a motion Tuesday giving federal judge Andrew Hanen the chance to exhibit some level of reasonability by staying his own bizarre order, but don't expect him to take it. Hanen's order emanated from the GOP-led legal challenge to President Obama's immigration actions, Texas v. United States, and demanded that the Obama administration release to him the names and contact information of thousands of Dreamers (who aren't even relevant to the case), and that any Justice Department attorney working on the case (potentially hundreds) attend ethics training.
Tuesday’s Justice Department motion made specific note of Hanen's overreach, charging that his demands "far exceed the bounds of appropriate remedies."
The sanctions imposed by this Court exceed the scope of its authority and unjustifiably impose irreparable injury on the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and thousands of innocent third parties.
Immigration attorney and advocate David Leopold noted the inherent contradiction of the original lawsuit claiming the president had exceeded his executive authority when he created programs granting deportation relief to certain undocumented immigrants.
"The irony here is the DOJ pointing out in the motion that the real power grab is by this judge," Leopold explained, "that they have to run into court to show the judge how he has exceeded his constitutional authority."
Among many unusual things about Hanen's order, Leopold said "it just baffles the mind" that the judge thinks he has some sort of authority over state courts and the Justice Department attorneys who are arguing the immigration case before those courts.
Leopold said he doubted that Judge Hanen, who has a history of anti-immigrant rulings, would stay his own order. So the next step for the Justice Department is likely to file a motion with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to stay Judge Hanen's motion. The very conservative Fifth Circuit has already sided with Hanen in the case, upholding his original nationwide injunction that blocked Obama's immigration actions from being implemented. But Leopold believes such an appeal to stay Hanen's latest order will succeed this time.
"This order is so bizarre, and so extraordinary and so out of the bounds of what a a judge should be doing—such an abuse of discretion—that I've got to believe that someone in the in Fifth Circuit will actually apply the law this time," he said.