News Roundup

Afternoon Briefs: 'Highly irregular conduct' by DOJ alleged; satanist loses abortion case

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The Department of Justice building in Washington, D.C. Photo from

DOJ engaged in ‘highly irregular conduct,’ says amicus appointee in Michael Flynn case

The U.S. Department of Justice “engaged in highly irregular conduct to benefit a political ally of the president” when it sought to drop the case against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, according to an amicus lawyer appointed to make the case against the dismissal. For that reason, a federal judge should refuse the government request, said the lawyer, Debevoise & Plimpton partner John Gleeson, a former federal judge. Gleeson said Flynn gave conflicting statements in court proceedings, but the court should not prosecute Flynn for perjury. Instead, Flynn’s conduct should be taken into account when he is sentenced for lying to the FBI, Gleeson said. Flynn had previously pleaded guilty to the lying charge, but he later sought to withdraw the plea. (The New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN,, the June 10 brief)

Appeals court tosses satanist’s abortion law challenge

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at St. Louis has tossed a lawsuit challenging a law requiring physicians to give an anti-abortion booklet to women seeking an abortion. The plaintiff was a member of the Satanic Temple who contended that the law violates her religious freedom. The decision was written by Judge David Stras, an appointee of President Donald Trump. (Courthouse News Service, the Associated Press, the June 9 decision)

6th Circuit vacates order to move at-risk inmates in Ohio

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Cincinnati vacated Tuesday a judge’s order to begin moving inmates from an Ohio federal prison who face greater risks if they contract COVID-19. The 6th Circuit said the inmates at the Elkton Federal Correctional Institution had failed to show that the Federal Bureau of Prisons was deliberately indifferent to the serious risk of harm. The 6th Circuit acted after U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor stayed the judge’s order to release or transfer 837 inmates. (, ACLU press release, the 6th Circuit opinion)

ACLU of Louisiana plans ‘wave of lawsuits’ challenging police practices

The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana is planning “a wave of lawsuits” to challenge racially discriminatory policing practices and hold police accountable for misconduct. The group plans to enlist law firms and law school legal clinics in its effort, with the aim of creating “a litigation blueprint for altering police conduct across the country.” (ACLU June 10 press release)

New York courts hire outside lawyer for institutional racism review

New York Chief Judge Janet DiFiore announced Tuesday that an outside lawyer will be hired to conduct an independent review of the court system’s response to issues of institutional racism. The review will be led by Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison partner Jeh Johnson, a former secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. (, June 9 press release)

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