Reagan judge reams Barr for defying a federal court order

An opinion by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on January 23, 2020, written by Judge Frank Easterbrook—a Reagan appointee—sharply rebuked Attorney General William Barr for instructing the Board of Immigration Appeals to ignore the court’s decision in an immigration case.

This is unprecedented. “We have never before encountered defiance of a remand order, and we hope never to see it again,” Easterbrook wrote. Politico called it “a shocking break with more than 200 years of constitutional and legal precedent,” and suggested it threatens the continuing viability of Marbury v. Madison, the 1803 Supreme Court case establishing that Congress and the Executive must obey court orders. Read their reporting here.

Trump has criticized judges and even individual jurors. Barr is nothing but his water boy. Either this is directly Trump’s doing, or Barr is sucking up to his boss. In another time, it would have gotten any other attorney general impeached, but this president and attorney general are now above the law thanks to the Republican cowards in the U.S. Senate.

If we are to save the Constitution and the rule of law, we voters must take things into our own hands. We have an election coming up.

Fire ’em.


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  1. Mark Adams #

    Has the immigrant actually been removed? If he is still in the country there is no contempt here.
    Also if what the justice department is arguing is that this immigrant is not getting the waiver he applied for ever, then he should be removed. And the government will appeal to the Supreme Court and that court will have to determine if it is only the AG has the power to do the waiver or if an administrative judge has the power to grant what perhaps only the AG can do.

  2. Roger Rabbit #

    “If he is still in the country there is no contempt here.” Not true. Sassing a judge in court, or disrupting court proceedings, will get you held in contempt even if you’re not a party but only a spectator. This is similar, but worse, because Barr ordered a federal agency to defy the court’s authority. That’s contempt, in and of itself, and nothing more was required for the judge to punish it, if he so chose. (In this case, the judge didn’t because the plaintiff didn’t ask him to. But the judge’s remarks clearly indicated he would have done so.) For what it’s worth, I believe the subject of the case (the plaintiff) has been deported, or is in the process of being deported, but this has no bearing at all on whether Barr committed contempt, or could have been held in contempt, for instructing the immigration board to ignore the court’s order because he thinks it is “wrong.” That’s also a serious threat to our legal serious; we simply can’t allow parties to legal cases to decide for themselves whether they’re going to respect court rulings or defy them. Enforcing their rulings is a primary function of the courts’ contempt authority, and this was an appropriate case for exercising that authority. It’s hard to imagine a more clearcut case of contempt than an official with supervisory authority over a government party in a legal proceeding instructing that party to ignore the court’s rulings.