In it, but not of it. TPM DC

In the wake of a federal judge slapping down the Trump administration’s attempt to roll back decades-old protections for children in immigration detention, the Trump administration is threatening to present migrant parents with a choice between indefinite detention with their children or continued separation — leaving out the third option used by previous administrations of supervised release.

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The powerful and deep-pocketed conservative group Judicial Crisis Network pledged on Monday to spend $1.4 million in television advertisements supporting Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s latest nominee to the Supreme Court.

“Judge Kavanaugh is a home run,” Carrie Severino, JCN’s chief counsel and policy director, said in a statement announcing the seven-figure ad buy. “Like Gorsuch, Judge Kavanaugh is brilliant, fair and independent, committed to following the law and honoring the Constitution. I look forward to the confirmation of another great justice.”

The group had already signaled it was willing to spend big to support Trump’s nominee, no matter who the President chose. Shortly after Kennedy announced his retirement, JCN went up with a $1 million ad buy, and it began telling reporters about the $1.4 million ad buy hours before Trump had announced his selection.

The Kavanaugh ad will air nationally on cable news, in addition to airing in Alabama, Indiana, North Dakota and West Virginia, according to the press release. Those Trump-voting states are all home to Democratic senators who will face intense pressure to support the President’s nominee.

The press release noted that the group had previously “announced that they would spend up to $7 million stopping Merrick Garland and later they announced they would spend up to $10 million supporting now-Justice Gorsuch.”

Watch the new ad for Kavanaugh below:

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Democratic senators seen as potential swing votes in favor of President Donald Trump’s latest nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, said Monday following his nomination that they would examine his record closely.

In contrast with many Democratic senators who’d already made the case that Trump should wait until after the 2018 midterm election in order to nominate a judge to fill retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy’s seat — just as Senate Republicans obstructed Obama nominee Merrick Garland for months ahead of the 2016 election — Sens. Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) made no mention of delaying consideration for Kavanaugh.

“Following the president’s announcement, I will carefully review and consider the record and qualifications of Judge Brett Kavanaugh,” Donnelly said.

“Now I’ll get to work to thoroughly review and vet his record to provide advice and consent for filling this vacancy, which is part of my constitutional duty,” Heitkamp echoed.

“Just as I did when Merrick Garland and Neil Gorsuch were nominated,” Manchin noted, “I will evaluate Judge Kavanaugh’s record, legal qualifications, judicial philosophy and particularly, his views on healthcare.”

Conservatives will look to Donnelly, Heitkamp and Manchin as potential Democratic votes in favor of Kavanaugh, since the three senators face tough re-election races in the fall in red states won by Trump in 2016.

Other Democratic senators from Trump-voting states, including Bill Nelson (D-FL), also said they’d hear Kavanaugh out.

It was a much different message than those issued by many Senate Democrats representing blue states, typified in Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) response to the nomination.

Arguing that Kavanaugh’s “own writings make clear that he would rule against reproductive rights and freedoms, and that he would welcome challenges to the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act,” Schumer said in a statement that he would “oppose Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination with everything I have, and I hope a bipartisan majority will do the same.”

Heitkamp appeared ready to counter that argument from Democratic leadership.

“I have no doubt that many members of Congress and outside groups will announce how they stand on the nominee before doing their due diligence and instead just take a partisan stancebut that isn’t how I work,” her statement read. “An exhaustive and fair process took place for Justice Gorsuch, who I supported, and it should and must take place again now.”

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) heaped praise Monday night on Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s nominee to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court.

“Judge Kavanaugh has sterling academic credentials,” a statement from McConnell read. “He is widely admired for his intellect, experience, and exemplary judicial temperament. He has won the respect of his peers and is highly regarded throughout the legal community. And his judicial record demonstrates a firm understanding of the role of a judge in our Republic: Setting aside personal views and political preferences in order to interpret our laws as they are written.”

Grassley called Kavanaugh “one of the most qualified Supreme Court nominees to come before the Senate.”

“His credentials are well known, and he’s served with distinction as a judge on the esteemed D.C. Circuit for more than a decade. He is a superb mainstream candidate worthy of the Senate’s consideration,” he said in a statement.

As chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Grassley will oversee Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings. McConnell, who reportedly warned Trump that Kavanaugh’s long trail of decisions would complicate his confirmation, will oversee the chamber’s vote.

McConnell and Grassley were similarly instrumental in preventing President Barack Obama’s nominee to fill the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat, Judge Merrick Garland, from receiving any consideration for that role. More than a year later, Trump nominee Neil Gorsuch was confirmed in his place.

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on a court deadline for the Trump administration to reunify parents and children separated at the U.S.-Mexico border (all times local):

6:30 p.m.

A Los Angeles federal judge has rejected a Trump administration request to detain immigrant families together, calling it a “cynical” attempt to undo a longstanding court settlement.

U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee said Monday that the federal government had failed to present new evidence to support revising a court order that limits the detention of children who crossed the border illegally.

The Department of Justice asked Gee to alter a 1997 settlement after the president reversed his zero-tolerance policy that caused uproar when children were taken from their parents in emotional scenes caught on camera.

The government wants to change the settlement so it can detain families together.

Gee says the effort attempts to foist responsibility on the court for the president’s “ill-considered” action and Congress’ failure to take action.


4:30 p.m.

An immigrant rights attorney representing two of three Central American men being held in a Michigan jail while waiting to be reunified with their children says they haven’t seen their sons in three months.

Abril Valdez of the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan tells The Associated Press on Monday that the federal government is being “vague” on the time and place of the reunifications that could come Tuesday.

Valdez says the Honduran men have been moved to a jail in Battle Creek, Michigan. Both their sons are 3 and placed in temporary foster care in Grand Rapids.

Valdez says the fathers sought asylum after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas.

A court has ordered the government to reunify children younger than 5 with their parents by Tuesday. The government says it’ll reunify and release more than 50 children with their families by the deadline.


4:30 p.m.

An immigrants’ rights group says three fathers from Central America could be reunified with their young children who are in temporary foster care in Michigan after the families were separated at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Michigan Immigrant Rights Center managing attorney Susan Reed says the men are in jail in the city of Battle Creek and could see their kids Tuesday.

Each child is younger than 5 and placed in foster care in Grand Rapids. Reed says the families have no connection to the state other than “they were brought to Michigan.”

A court ordered the government to reunify children younger than 5 with their parents by Tuesday.

The government says it’ll reunify and release more than 50 children with their families by the deadline. That’s only about half of the 100 or so toddlers covered by the order.


4 p.m.

The American Civil Liberties Union says it’s “both pleased and disappointed” with the government’s progress toward meeting a court-ordered deadline to reunify immigrant children younger than 5 with their families.

ACLU Attorney Lee Gelernt told reporters Monday that hopefully more than 50 kids taken from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border will be back with their families Tuesday, calling it “an enormous victory.”

But he said those who remain apart from their parents are “in for a long process.”

U.S. Justice Department attorney Sarah Fabian said at a court hearing that the government was prepared to reunify and release more than 50 children with their parents. That’s only about half of the 100 or so toddlers covered by the court order.

U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw ordered both sides back in court Tuesday to give another update.


11:05 a.m.

A U.S. government attorney says authorities will release roughly half the immigrant children under age 5 who are still in custody after reunifying them with their families under a court-ordered deadline.

U.S. Justice Department attorney Sarah Fabian said Monday that the government was prepared to reunify more than 50 children with their parents.

In those cases, Fabian says, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will release parents and children together.

The government has proposed expanding family detention, but only three family detention centers are operational and they’re at or near capacity.

More than 2,000 children have been held in shelters after being separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border under the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy.

A federal judge last month ordered the U.S. to reunify parents with all children under 5 by Tuesday.


9 p.m.

The American Civil Liberties Union says it appears the Trump administration will miss Tuesday’s deadline to reunite young children with their parents in more than half of the cases.

The group said the administration provided it with a list of 102 children under 5 years old who must be reunited by Tuesday under an order by U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego. It said in a statement that it “appears likely that less than half will be reunited” by that deadline.

On Friday, the administration asked the judge for more time but Sabraw said he was sticking to the deadline unless there was a good case for certain exceptions. The two sides are due in court Monday.

Administration officials didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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President Donald Trump on Monday nominated appeals court judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy’s seat on the Supreme Court.

“Tonight, it is my honor and privilege to announce that I will nominate Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Surpeme Court,” Trump said.

“Judge Kavanaugh has impeccable credentials, unsurpassed qualifications and a proven commitment to equal justice under the law,” he said separately, adding later: “This incredibly qualified nominee deserves a swift confirmation and robust, bipartisan support.”

Kavanaugh, who first appeared on Trump’s roster of Federalist Society-approved potential Supreme Court nominees last year, began his remarks by applauding Trump’s “appreciation for the vital role of the American judiciary.”

“No president has ever consulted so widely, or talked with more people from more backgrounds, to seek input about a Supreme Court nomination,” he said.

“Tomorrow I begin meeting with members of the Senate, which plays an essential role in this process,” he later concluded. “I will tell each senator that I revere the Constitution. I believe that an independent judiciary is the crown jewel of our constitutional republic. If confirmed by the Senate, I will keep an open mind in every case. And I will always strive to preserve the Constitution of the United States and the American rule of law.”

Kavanaugh has been viewed somewhat skeptically by some conservatives, who have scrutinized his ties to the Bushes and his long career inside the Beltway, the proverbial “swamp.”

He has served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit since 2006. His confirmation for that post was stalled for nearly three years due to allegations by Democrats that he was too partisan.

Prior to being a judge, the 53-year-old Kavanaugh worked on Ken Starr’s investigation into President Bill Clinton, on the legal team for George W. Bush in the Florida recount effort, and in Bush’s White House.

In his decade-plus tenure on the D.C. Circuit, the most influential court below the Supreme Court, he has amassed a massive paper trail that will be picked apart by his opponents.

Among his controversial moves are multiple votes against environmental regulations, an opinion ruling that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau had an unconstitutional structure, and a dissent from an appeals court ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act in 2011. (He dissented because he believed the ACA was constitutional for reasons other than those cited by the court’s majority.)

More recently, he joined a decision overturning a district court’s move requiring the Trump administration to let an undocumented teen in detention seek an abortion. The decision would have allowed the government to delay the abortion while it sought a sponsor for the teen, but was reversed when appealed to the full appeals court, where Kavanaugh also wrote a dissent.

Additionally, Kavanaugh wrote a 2009 law article arguing that presidents should be exempt from certain lawsuits and investigations that “would ill serve the public interest, especially in times of financial or national security crisis.”

He is a graduate of both Yale undergrad and law school, and he clerked for Kennedy.

Watch Trump’s announcement below:

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Lawyers for the Trump administration appeared once again in a courtroom in San Diego to ask a federal judge to push back his deadline for the reunification of children under five years old who were taken from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. And once again, U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw held off on giving them an extension, and  demanded instead that they return to court on Tuesday to explain how many families were reunited, why the government failed to reunite the rest by the deadline, and how much more time it will need for those cases.

“I am encouraged by the progress,” Judge Sabraw said. “I’m optimistic that many of these families will be reunited by tomorrow.”

Justice Department attorney Sarah Fabien said that while only two children out of the 102 the government has identified have been reunited so far, she believes another 54 can be returned to their parents by Tuesday’s deadline. As for the rest, she claimed, three were brought to the U.S. by someone who is not their biological parent, three have parents with serious criminal records that bar reunification, five have parents with something on their record that requires further investigation, 12 have parents either in local or federal criminal detention who must serve time before being transferred to ICE, 18 have parents who were lost by the administration after their deportation or release into the U.S., and four have been approved for release to a non-parent sponsor.

As for the last of the 102, Fabian said, “We’re still trying to track down what information we have about that parent. To my knowledge we do not have any information.”

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The Trump administration returns to federal court Monday morning to plead for more time to reunite about 100 children younger than five years old who were taken from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The American Civil Liberties Union confirmed Sunday night that the government will blow past the Tuesday deadline imposed by District Judge Dana Sabraw for the Southern District of California, telling reporters that it “appears likely that less than half will be reunited.”

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The Trump administration told a federal court on Friday that they will not be able to meet its July 10 deadline for reuniting approximately 100 children younger than 5 years old that the government took from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border under the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy.

Attorneys for the Justice Department asked U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego for an extension, saying the government has not been able to find the parents of 16 children under 5 years old, have lost track of 19 parents who were released from ICE custody, and believe it is not obligated to reunite another 19 families in which the parents have already been deported.

Pointing to the work they are doing to match parents and children using DNA tests and conduct criminal background checks on all parents, the Trump administration said it could only commit to reuniting the 46 parents still being held in ICE custody with their under-5 children detained in a separate facility.

Judge Sabraw rejected many of the government’s arguments — especially the claim that the reunification order excludes deported parents — and did not issue the deadline extension the Trump administration requested. Instead, he told the government to work with the ACLU over the weekend to create a list of all the children under five still in custody and the reasons why they will or will not be returned to their parents in time — and promised to issue a ruling on Monday.

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Late last month, a federal judge in Washington gave the Trump administration about a week to show it was acting in good faith to follow a California court order to reunite immigrant families — and particularly to make progress in reuniting three Central American political asylum seekers held in ICE detention in South Texas, who filed a lawsuit after their children were taken from them under the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy.

If the government did not act on its own, U.S. District Judge James Friedman warned, he would be forced to issue a temporary restraining order.

On Thursday night, lawyers for the parents told Judge Friedman that while the government had given the parents more information about their children and some had been granted more phone contact — both demands in their lawsuit — they needed the court’s intervention.

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