August Flentje, Career Government Lawyer, Lacks Zeal in Defense of Travel Ban

Liberals can relax now. A “career government lawyer” for the Department of Justice was sent to represent their opposition. August Flentje, a career government lawyer for 19 years (see, that bothers me), sort of defended President Trump’s Executive Order for a temporary travel ban from seven countries that are hotbeds of terrorism: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. After listening to the oral arguments presented before Judge Michelle FriedlandJudge Richard Clifton and Judge William Canby from the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, I picture Flentje getting a good night’s sleep the night before. I realize he didn’t have a lot of time to prepare, but he wasn’t interested in preparing for a fight. Judge Friedland asked for evidence that the seven countries were connected to terrorism. Flentje failed to give an acceptable answer. Even Judge Clifton (appointed by George W. Bush) objected to the apparent lack of preparation, saying Flentje’s answer to Judge Friedland’s question was too abstract. When Judge Canby suggested the travel ban was a Muslim ban, Flentje’s response was weak. I thought lawyers loved to debate. “I’m not sure I’m convincing the court,” Flentje admitted. Where’s your fire, Flentje?

Noah Purcell, representing the states of Minnesota and Washington, and opposing the travel ban, didn’t do much better. He failed to produce evidence for his claim that the travel ban was a Muslim ban when all other countries with Muslim populations are not banned by the executive order. He admitted not even considering that. (Geez, perhaps one should consider online law schools before Harvard Law School, says the armchair journalist.)

Flentje and Purcell clearly needed more time of “discovery” to build their arguments. Judge Friedland objected specifically to Flentje’s lack of evidence, “You’re saying that the proceedings are moving fast, but you appealed to us before you continued in the district court to develop the record. So why should we be hearing this now, if it sounds like you’re trying to say you’re going to present other evidence later?”

On Thursday, the federal appeals panel rejected Trump’s bid to reinstate the travel ban. Why? Because Flentje failed to answer Judge Friedland’s question of whether there was any evidence that the seven countries were connected to terrorism.

In other news, Captain Obvious fires career government lawyers.