Department of Justice

February 03, 2023

Hannah Story Brown

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionAdministrative LawClimateDepartment of JusticeExecutive Branch

Revolving Door Project Reading List: The Justice Department

The Justice Department was deliberately weaponized under Trump to advance and defend his corrupt agenda. How successfully has Biden’s Justice Department, led by Attorney General Merrick Garland, replaced Trump appointees and policies, and charted a new course towards a more just interpretation and application of the law? Below, we’ve compiled a non-comprehensive reading list of some of our work from the past year plus on the Justice Department, and its all-important, uneven progress out of Trump’s long shadow.

February 03, 2023

KJ Boyle

Blog Post

Department of JusticeEthics in GovernmentTech

The Never-Ending Inquiry Into Susan Davies’ DOJ Employment

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has a FOIA problem. It’s been a two year struggle for the Revolving Door Project to uncover the complete picture of Susan Davies and her employment with the DOJ, and we’ve hit yet another road block because apparently the Office of Legal Policy (OLP) does not maintain personnel records of its own employees. At least, not for Susan Davies. And apparently the Office of Information Policy’s FOIA office wasn’t aware of that.

January 20, 2023

Hannah Story Brown Ananya Kalahasti Andrea Beaty Eleanor Eagan Nika Hajikhodaverdikhan Sion Bell

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionAdministrative LawDepartment of Justice

The Trump Administration Made a Mockery of the Law. Why Hasn't Biden Tossed its Cases?

Donald Trump and his Department of Justice consistently made a mockery of the law throughout his four years in power. And while their laughable reasoning and indefensible positions were struck down at a historic rate, many cases were still waiting for Biden. The new administration tossed out a handful immediately but an alarming number remain, either in some form of pause or advancing forward with the Biden administration adopting Trump’s position.

January 20, 2023

Emma Marsano Toni Aguilar Rosenthal

Blog Post

Department of Justice

Biden's Second Chance Not To Nominate Casey T. Arrowood

President Biden drew outrage and forceful opposition last fall after nominating Casey T. Arrowood to the position of United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee, based on Arrowood’s role in the baseless prosecution of a Chinese-Canadian professor under the Trump DOJ’s “China initiative.” Fortunately, with the new year and the convening of a new Congress, all pending nominees must be renominated, providing Biden another chance to do the right thing and drop Arrowood from consideration.

January 20, 2023

Emma Marsano Toni Aguilar Rosenthal

Blog Post

Department of Justice

Thirty Percent of US Attorney's Offices Are Still Without Nominees

More than two years into Joe Biden’s presidency, Biden has nominated 67 people to the 93 offices that compose the U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO). After one post-confirmation withdrawal  of Marisa Darden, 66 offices or 71 percent currently have nominees to the position; only 60 nominees or 64.5 percent have been fully confirmed to their office. 

December 07, 2022 | Revolving Door Project Newsletter

Hannah Story Brown

Newsletter

ClimateCongressional OversightDefenseDepartment of Justice

Pipeline Permits, Border Walls, and the Nightmare at Red Hill

Simply put, we would ask for more rigor from the wonks who would like a say in how we redesign America’s energy systems. The challenge is massive, yes: to better serve more people with more efficient, less wasteful, less toxic energy infrastructure, while restraining the human footprint on the planet, so that other forms of life can also thrive. But it is also an energizing challenge, and eminently worthy of human effort. Any theory of climate change mitigation that is inflexible and unimaginative enough to involve bulldozing those who stand in its way is just another partial paradise, a green veil thrown over the same extractive relationships that got us here. 

October 31, 2022

Toni Aguilar Rosenthal

Blog Post

Congressional OversightDepartment of Homeland SecurityDepartment of JusticeEthics in Government

A Crisis Of (Un)Accountability: Amidst Profound Political Cruelty, Ethics Matter More Than Ever

The news was flooded in September with images, reports, and increasingly abhorrent context for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ trafficking of migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard as a political stunt. DeSantis’ actions, and those of his aides, are of course potentially illegal, as was asserted by a Texas sheriff who opened a criminal investigation into the spectacle. This latest sadistic political posturing came at the cost of real people fleeing real persecution, but there is also a crucial piece of this awful puzzle that hasn’t been fully explored. Why did Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agents, funded by federal dollars, allegedly forge documents for migrants knowing (even if the migrants themselves didn’t) that their flights were not destined for the locales DHS agents made their immigration proceedings beholden to?

August 25, 2022 | Democracy Journal

Eleanor Eagan Hannah Story Brown

Op-Ed

Department of JusticeEthics in GovernmentFinancial RegulationIndependent Agencies

Enforcement: The Untapped Resource

Chronic underfunding means that the agencies with the most laudable missions—the ones seeking to protect ordinary Americans from profit-driven exploitation—often struggle to go up against powerful corporate interests. Strengthening funding for enforcement to protect Americans from environmental, health, consumer, and labor standards violations is an existing, easily justifiable tool for changing that balance of power.

August 19, 2022 | InsideSources

Max Moran Hannah Story Brown

Op-Ed

Department of JusticeEthics in GovernmentExecutive Branch

Open Letter to President Biden on Executive Gun Control Actions

Dear President Biden:

Since the horrific mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, nationwide calls for stronger gun control have intensified. On May 30, you told reporters that popular legislative proposals like an assault weapons ban and stricter background checks are up to Congress, saying, “I can’t dictate this stuff.”

August 08, 2022 | Washington Monthly

Hannah Story Brown

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionClimateDepartment of JusticeIndependent Agencies

Why Is Merrick Garland Sticking with Donald Trump on Climate Lawsuits?

It started with Boulder in early February. Then came Baltimore and San Mateo in April. Now Honolulu and Maui are the latest municipalities to overcome a crucial legal hurdle in their fight to make fossil fuel companies pay for their role in climate change. After years of obstruction, it looks like state courts will hear arguments from these cities—as well as several states—that big energy companies knowingly concealed and misrepresented the harms of their products, contributing to climate damages these regions face. Five federal appeals courts have green-lit suing the fossil fuel giants in state court, where these state and local governments have a better chance of prevailing. The stakes are massive: requiring fossil fuel companies to foot the bill for climate change–related damages to U.S. cities and states could easily run into the tens of billions.

July 13, 2022 | Revolving Door Project Newsletter

Hannah Story Brown

Newsletter

Confirmation CrisisCorporate CrackdownDepartment of JusticeEthics in Government

Only Through Change Can We Save Our Institutions Now

So the rollercoaster ride continues, deep into the summer. Thankfully, while Congress is in session—and these next three weeks of negotiation are expected to be deeply consequential for the future of the clean energy transition—the Supreme Court is not. (Well, let’s hope they don’t abuse the “Shadow Docket” [pdf]). We shouldn’t have to hear from them again until the first Monday of October. But of course, after months of waiting with heightened anxiety for Dobbs v. Jackson, West Virginia v. EPA, and many other rulings to drop, the Supreme Court had to leave us with something new to worry over as they headed out the door for summer vacation: Moore v. Harper.