Here are some of the legal news stories making headlines this week:
Today marks two years since the January 6 attack at the Capitol.
- The House Select Committee recently completed its investigation, releasing a final report and referring former President Donald Trump and a number of his allies to the Department of Justice for prosecution. In the report, the Committee focused on Trump’s culpability for the insurrection. “The central cause of January 6th was one man, former President Donald Trump, whom many others followed. None of the events of January 6th would have happened without him,” the report said.
- The Committee also released transcripts of interviews with a number of key witnesses, including, among others, Cassidy Hutchinson, Donald Trump Jr., and John Eastman. In her conversations with the Committee, Hutchinson alleged that her lawyer, former Trump White House ethics lawyer Stefan Passantino, advised her to give misleading testimony to the Committee. Hutchinson testified that Passantino told her, “We just want to focus on protecting the president. We all know you’re loyal. Let’s just get you in and out, and this day will be easy, I promise.”
- In addition, Committee Chair Bennie Thompson withdrew the subpoena that the Committee had issued to Donald Trump in October 2022. In a letter to Trump, Thompson wrote that the Committee would no longer pursue the information covered by the subpoena since the investigation had concluded.
The Supreme Court left in place a public health policy with major implications for asylum seekers.
- 42 U.S. Code §265, commonly referred to as “Title 42,” is a public health law that empowers the U.S. Surgeon General to restrict people from entering the United States in order to stop the spread of disease. Former President Donald Trump used this policy to curb immigration, including of asylum seekers, at the height of the Covid pandemic. President Joe Biden also continued using the policy for some time, before seeking to end it last year.
- In the case before the Supreme Court, 19 Republican state Attorneys General are seeking to intervene in a case to defend the use of Title 42, which followed a separate case in which a district court judge struck down Title 42.
- By a 5-4 vote, the justices left Title 42 in place, for now, and agreed to hear oral arguments in the case. Five Conservative justices comprised the majority (Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett), while Justice Neil Gorsuch joined the Court’s three liberal justices in voting to reject hearing oral arguments on the matter. In his dissent, which was joined by Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, Gorsuch wrote, “The current border crisis is not a COVID crisis. And courts should not be in the business of perpetuating administrative edicts designed for one emergency only because elected officials have failed to address a different emergency. We are a court of law, not policymakers of last resort.”
- On Thursday, Biden announced new immigration initiatives. The administration will permit 30,000 people from Nicaragua, Cuba, and Haiti to be admitted to the United States monthly, but they will continue to use Title 42 to curb illegal immigration while legal challenges over the policy continue.