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Between Trump and his Justice Department lawyers, a vast disconnect

Bloomberg, On The Case with Alison Frankel

Keker, Van Nest & Peter's win blocking President Trump's Executive Order to defund "sanctuary jurisdictions" was featured in Alison Frankel's On The Case column for Reuters.

Frankel writes: 

So: The president believes his executive order was a critical and lawful weapon to force sanctuary cities to bow to the administration, stanching the flow of American blood spilled by the illegal immigrants. But as I read the transcript of the oral argument on the injunction, the Justice Department believes the executive order was little more than political grandstanding - and that the executive branch doesn’t have a constitutional right to wield Congress-approved federal funding to states and cities as a bludgeon to beat them into compliance with its policies.

That’s a deep divide, with real costs to the credibility of the Justice Department.

The judge called DOJ’s argument “not legally plausible” in the face of public statements by Trump and the AG. That’s a gloomy portent for a Justice Department that will continually have to ask federal judges to disregard the president’s words as they consider his policies.

"There's a lot about the White House's statement that doesn't make sense," said Santa Clara lawyer Cody Harris in an email. "In court, the Department of Justice lawyers interpreted the executive order to mean basically nothing ... But the White House now says that a judicial order holding the federal government to its own interpretation will cause Americans to die. There's no way to square the administration's bellicose public statements with its own litigation position."