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Afternoon Briefs: Appeals court vacates 'dirty power' rule; court employee accused of online threats

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DC Circuit Court vacates ‘dirty power’ rule

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit effectively ended the Trump administration’s plan to weaken climate change policies Tuesday when it vacated a “dirty power” rule. The appeals court said the rule, which relaxed restrictions on greenhouse gases, had misconstrued environmental laws. (The New York Times, Bloomberg Law, press releases here and here, the Jan. 19 decision)

Court employee accused of threats against Democrats

An assistant court analyst for New York’s court system was denied bail after he was charged with making online threats against Democrats. Brendan Hunt, 37, of Queens, New York, is accused of using the alias “X-Ray Ultra” to threaten or incite others to murder Democratic officials, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “We’re not voting in another rigged election. Start up the firing squads, mow down these commies, and lets take america back!” he allegedly wrote on Facebook. His defense lawyer said the government allegations suggest nothing more than a plan “to make outlandish posts online from inside his home.” (The New York Times, Law360, Department of Justice press release)

Judge mostly blocks immigration fee hikes

U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta of the District of Columbia has mostly blocked a Trump administration rule that would have increased fees in deportation proceedings. The rule sought to increase filing fees by as much as 800%. Mehta said the government failed to consider public comments by opponents of the rule. The case is Catholic Legal Immigration Network v. Executive Office for Immigration Review. (Law360, American Immigration Council press release, the Jan. 18 decision)

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