Justice Dept. Lawyers Ordered to Take Ethics Classes After Misleading Judge in Amnesty Case

WASHINGTON TIMES — The Justice Department will order all of its civil division lawyers to take an hourlong remedial ethics class, hoping to head off even worse punishment from a federal judge who is furious about the way Obama administration attorneys misled him in the case involving the president’s deportation amnesty.

In a document filed with Judge Andrew Hanen last month and made public Monday, administration attorneys insisted they didn’t mean to mislead the court, but they acknowledged sloppiness and said their own use of technical jargon may have confused the judge.

But the lawyers pleaded with Judge Hanen not to slap any of them with sanctions, saying the errors were the result of groupthink and not attributable to any particular lawyer’s goofs. The lawyers asked the judge to keep in place the 108,000 three-year amnesties issued in defiance of his rulings, saying to punish the illegal immigrants who were improperly granted them “would be unwarranted.”

“We fully recognize that we used flawed phrasing, which is unfortunate and regrettable, and — quite understandably — has been exasperating for this Court. But the imprecision was inadvertent, not the product of an intent to deceive,” the department said in its filing. “We therefore respectfully submit there is no basis for imposing sanctions against any person or entity.”

Benjamin C. Mizer, principal deputy assistant attorney general for the civil division, issued an apology in a separate filing and said he would require the remedial ethics classes.

“On behalf of the Civil Division and the Department of Justice, I apologize to the court for the problems that arose in this case. I am very sorry and deeply regret that we failed to provide clear and precise information to the court,” he wrote.

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