The Justice Department is facing yet another possible contempt sanction from a federal judge. This is becoming something of a trend for the Justice Department. One could only imagine the response of the bar to a private law firm with such a record of contempt. The latest threat comes from United States District Court Chief Judge Vaughn Walker in Al-Haramain v. Obama. This remains one of the most troubling cases from the Bush Administration and the Obama Administration has again yielded to the worst element in the Justice Department in continuing the same policies and practices of its predecessor.
The case involves unlawful surveillance by the NSA. The Justice Department previously threatened the extraordinary act to removing evidence from the court after the court refused to yield to its demand. Despite orders to the contrary, the Justice Department continues to file motions to dismiss. In January, Chief Judge denied the government’s third motion to dismiss the case and the Ninth Circuit has also rejected the government’s case. Yet, the Justice Department continues in open contempt of the court.
Walker appears to have finally had enough, noting that the government was “continuing to assert legal positions already specifically rejected by the court in previous orders” and “government officials in one or
more defendant agencies, including the NSA Director … are refusing to cooperate with the court’s orders.” He has issued a show cause order on why he should not start handing out sanctions.
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