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March 24, 2017

The Complexities of a “Motive” Analysis in Challenging President Trump’s Executive Order Regarding Entry to the United States

By Vikram Amar and Alan Brownstein

Cross-posted from Justia.com:

One of the vexing legal questions raised by President Trump's original and revised executive orders concerning entry into the United States by nationals of several Middle Eastern and African countries is whether and how courts ought to take into account the subjective motives behind the executive order, whether or not these motives are reflected in the text of the orders themselves. Many people think of the executive orders as "Muslim bans"-even though there is no mention of Muslim peoples in the orders themselves-because they credit rhetoric prior to the executive orders that may tend to suggest anti-Muslim sentiment has been on the president's mind as he has crafted these entry limitations. (For these purposes critics are asserting that a desire to exclude persons from one religious group would be impermissible, although in the immigration setting that proposition might be a contested question.)

Permissible (and Impermissible) Uses of Motive to Strike Down Laws

Consideration of direct evidence of impermissible subjective motive has been a confused area of constitutional law. Courts have often expressed-as the Supreme Court did in United States v. O'Brien, the case involving a famously unsuccessful free speech challenge to a federal law prohibiting destruction of draft cards-a reluctance to use extrinsic proof of invidious motive to strike down laws that would otherwise pass constitutional muster. Courts have offered a variety of reasons for their wariness to look into motive. One is that courts would be in the position of accusing co-equal branches of pretext and dishonesty (or at the very least unawareness of their own true motivation), and that can create friction between the branches. (Think of how courts have reacted to President Trump's allegations of judicial dishonesty.) Another is the idea that a president or legislature whose action is struck down because of a bad motive can simply reenact the policy for a good motive, in which case courts will have to uphold the new enactment, raising the question why it was worth the hassle to invalidate the action in the first place. (One rejoinder to that is that courts won't always be convinced that the second enactment is taint-free, and may not uphold it. Another is that if the second enactment is adopted for pure rather than invidious reasons, it is a qualitatively different enactment insofar as motive, and the way the polity understands it, is an essential part of a law: Justice Holmes once reminded that even a dog knows the difference between being kicked and being tripped over.)

Yet another reason proffered for refraining from motive analysis is that the motive of many legislative bodies is hard to discern-in Congress, there may be hundreds of motives of hundreds of legislators in enacting a particular law. For these and other reasons, even when some justices want to look at subjective evidence of motivation (as with Justice Kennedy's opinion in the Florida case involving an anti-animal-sacrifice law that was struck down for violating free exercise of religion principles), other justices decline to join them in doing so.

Notwithstanding these concerns, however, courts have been willing to accept direct proof of impermissible motive in certain doctrinal areas. Perhaps the most prominent is the equal protection norm of the Fourteenth and Fifth Amendments. When a facially neutral law that draws no problematic classifications between groups can be shown to have a disparate impact against certain classes, and when there is strong enough evidence that a desire to harm those groups was a driving factor behind the law's enactment, courts have been willing to strike those laws down. The evidentiary threshold a challenger must satisfy is high, but at least the courts are open to the evidence if a strong case is made.

A second (and perhaps similarly equality-driven) area of jurisprudence where the Court has made use of subjective evidence of improper motive is the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Unlike in the Free Exercise Clause setting mentioned above, the Court in several Establishment Clause rulings has explicitly required that government's motive be either secular, or at the very least not a desire to favor some sects over others. In Wallace v. Jaffree, the Court struck down an Alabama law mandating a moment of silence at the beginning of public school classes because the Court concluded, based in significant measure on historical evidence and legislative history, that the law was a backdoor attempt to reintroduce prayer in the schools. And in McCreary County v ACLU of Kentucky, the Court invalidated the placement of a Ten Commandments display on public property, again in part based on a conclusion of improper motives of religious favoritism. These are the cases (again, assuming they apply in the immigration setting) on which challengers to President Trump's executive orders have been relying.

In short, courts appear to weave their way through many complex factors in evaluating claims based on invidious or impermissible motives. Even in equal protection cases, where the Court has remained nominally open to claims of invidious motivation, the size of the decision-making body may be critical to whether a case can be made. As the Court explained in Hunter v. Underwood, "the difficulties in determining the actual motivations" of a governing institutional body increase substantially when a claim is brought against the U.S. Congress as opposed to a county board of commissioners.

Thus, the nature of the constitutional claim, the size of the decision-making body, and the persuasiveness of the extrinsic evidence of impermissible motive will all be considered, with different factors controlling the Court's analysis in various cases. In Hunter, for instance, the Court struck down on equal protection grounds a provision of the 1901 Alabama Constitution denying the right to vote to any person convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, because the Court found that the all-white state constitutional convention that adopted the provision did so with the intent of disenfranchising black residents in particular. The large size of the convention did not insulate it from an equal protection challenge given the strength of the historical evidence establishing the invidious motivation of the convention participants.

On the other hand, the size of the decision-making body may have been critical in some free speech cases. As noted, the Court in O'Brien downplayed the idea that an act of Congress could be struck down because of the intent of some legislators to enact it for the purpose of suppressing protected speech. Yet in cases involving much smaller decision-making bodies, such as Mt. Healthy City School District v. Doyle, the Court recognized that a teacher could assert a valid free speech claim challenging the school board's decision not to rehire him if the teacher could show the board was punishing him for protected speech in which he had engaged.

President Trump's Executive Orders Restricting Immigration

Viewed against this complicated and somewhat indeterminate background, several factors could be relevant to the challenges to President Trump's revised executive order that are based on an alleged intent to further a constitutionally impermissible purpose-religious discrimination against a particular faith community. To begin with, the authority to issue an executive order rests with one person alone, the President of the United States. Thus, struggling to determine the intent of a large body is not a problem here.

Further, the challenge to the order is based on the Establishment Clause, an area of law in which there is significant precedent accepting direct inquiry into government motive as the basis for evaluating and invalidating state action. Indeed, this dimension of the Establishment Clause, the prohibition against discrimination against minority faiths, overlaps and resonates with equal protection doctrine. As we have explained, there is probably no area of constitutional law in which direct inquiry into motive has been more accepted than equal protection jurisprudence adjudicating claims against invidious discrimination.

Finally, it should be clear that attempts to structure a law to mask improper intent do not always insulate impermissibly motivated state action from constitutional review. In Hunter, historians documented how the Alabama constitutional convention had an anti-black agenda on their minds, even though the disenfranchisement provision in question was written more broadly and more neutrally. Thus, the fact that the president might have drafted the new order to scrupulously avoid reference to religious discrimination, while relevant, is not necessarily dispositive.

Other Factors at Play

There are, however, several open legal questions that may very well support a court's decision to uphold the President's order. One large question, noted above, is whether domestic Establishment Clause norms apply with full force in the immigration setting. In Kleindienst v. Mandel, the Court wrote: "We hold that when the Executive exercises [the power to exclude an alien] on the basis of a facially legitimate and bona fide reason, the courts will n[ot] look behind the exercise of that discretion . . . ." Ultimately, succeeding with an Establishment Clause claim with require grappling with this high level of judicial deference.

Another issue is whether statements made during a campaign by a candidate for office should be considered reliable evidence as to the official's intent after he is elected and adopts policies. Statements made during the heat of a campaign are arguably different than statements made during official deliberations by elected representatives. There is certainly a plausible argument that what is said during a campaign stays in the campaign and does not carry over as an indication of intent after an official is elected.

While this contention has considerable force, there is an argument on the other side. Much of what an elected official says has a dual audience; the government actors he is trying to influence to secure adoption of a regulation and the constituency who elected him whose support will be necessary if he is to stay in office. Elected officials are always at least in part in campaign mode. It might be difficult to state a clear rule about what evidence of invidious intent will be inadmissible campaign rhetoric and what may be considered to be probative in the adjudication of constitutional claims. This is particularly the case when one recognizes that one candidate campaigning for office is often an incumbent whose campaign and "official" statements are inherently intertwined.

Two other related issues may be even more difficult to resolve. As noted earlier, one argument against invalidating a regulation based on direct inquiry into legislative motive is that the same law in most cases could have been adopted for legitimate reasons too. The adjudication of the president's executive order presents a stark example of this problem. What evidence must be presented by the government to convince a court that, even if President Trump did or does harbor some anti-Muslim sentiment, the same order would have been issued even in the absence of such intent? If any established impermissible intent ended up not being a "but for" cause of the executive order, then it should not be a basis of invalidation. But the government may have to present a fair amount of evidence of objective reasonableness to rebut the influence of invidious motives-if the courts recognize and care about such motive claims in this setting.

Finally, if an impermissible motive was a driving force behind the initial order, has it dissipated such that the revised order should be free from its taint? Time would obviously be one factor to take into account in answering such a question. But how much time? And what other factors? Changes in the contours of the policy that seek to make it more neutral? A formal acknowledgement by the president that he shouldn't take into account religious favoritism? The fact that the regulation was evaluated and supported by government officials and agencies other than those who initially endorsed it for impermissible reasons? These are complex questions that appellate courts may have to address in this setting if, and this is a significant if, they allow a motive-based Establishment Clause challenge to immigration orders to go forward.

 

March 20, 2017

Arbitration About Arbitration

My article "Arbitration About Arbitration" will appear in the Stanford Law Review (forthcoming 2017).

Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court's interpretation of the Federal Arbitration Act ("FAA") has nearly eliminated consumer and employment class actions, sparking vigorous debate. Yet another important development in federal arbitration law has received less attention. Traditionally, judges granted motions to compel arbitration only after confirming that the parties formed a valid agreement to arbitrate that applies to the underlying lawsuit. But now, through the use of "delegation clauses," businesses are giving arbitrators the exclusive power to decide these matters. Increasingly, critical questions about the arbitration-including whether the process is fair-are being resolved in arbitration. 

This mind-bending issue-arbitration about arbitration-has become one of the most important and unsettled areas on the docket. In 2016 alone, there were 198 reported decisions dealing with delegation clauses. Moreover, judges are struggling with every major issue related to arbitration about arbitration. Indeed, they have splintered over how to determine whether a contract contains a delegation clause, how to gauge the validity of these provisions, and whether arbitrators can decide whether the FAA even applies to a lawsuit. 

The Article then contends that this doctrinal chaos stems from a single faulty premise. The spread of arbitration about arbitration can largely be traced to a single analytical gambit in a 2010 opinion called Rent-A-Center West, Inc. v. Jackson.  In that decision, Justice Scalia declared that delegation clauses are nothing less than full-fledged "agreement[s] to arbitrate threshold issues concerning the arbitration agreement."  In other words, Justice Scalia cast delegation provisions as independent arbitration clauses that apply to any dispute about the agreement to arbitrate the underlying lawsuit.  In turn, viewing delegation clauses this way infuses them with the full force of the FAA and gives them the same exalted status as agreements to arbitrate the plaintiff's complaint.  

However, drawing on the FAA's text, legislative record, and forgotten strands of federal common law, the Article contends that arbitration about arbitration is manifestly different from arbitration about the merits of a case. First, the law has long distinguished between agreements to arbitrate a complaint and agreements to arbitrate the enforceability or scope of an arbitration provision.  When it comes to the merits, there is a hallowed presumption that "any doubts . . . should be resolved in favor of arbitration."  But for substantive arbitrability, the premise flips: "[c]ourts should not assume that the parties agreed to arbitrate arbitrability unless there is "clea[r] and unmistakabl[e]" evidence that they did so."  Thus, Rent-A-Center fuses two things that courts have traditionally treated differently. 

This doctrinal divergence was not random; to the contrary, it stemmed from a clear-eyed assessment that delegation clauses are more problematic than arbitration provisions. Congress passed the FAA to facilitate the arbitration of lawsuits, not arbitration about whether lawsuits should be arbitrated. As a result, sections 3 and 4 require judges to decide whether the parties have formed a valid agreement to arbitrate that encompasses the plaintiff's causes of action.  When parties try to draft around these commands, they cut against the grain of the statute. Likewise, equating arbitration and delegation provisions ignores the fact that arbitration about arbitration is an exotic issue that parties are unlikely to notice or comprehend.  Many plaintiffs would be alarmed to find that they have entrusted an arbitrator-who, unlike a judge, bills by the hour-to decide the very question of whether a dispute should be arbitrated. Finally, the Article explains how acknowledging the ways in which delegation clauses are unique can resolve the many of the questions that are currently dividing courts.

March 17, 2017

Professor McAllister on the Puzzle of California's Climate Leadership

Professor Lesley McAllister recently blogged over at Environmental Law Prof Blog about last week's successful environmental law symposium at King Hall.

Here's an excerpt:

Last Friday, UC Davis School of Law's Environmental Law Society and the Environs journal held their 2017 Symposium, The Future of Climate Change Law & Policy: View to 2030.  It was an excellent event, with many great speakers and terrific attendance -- big congratulations to the student organizers: Sophie Wenzlau, Dane Jones and Jamie Katz!  Panels dealt with California's new SB32 (which updates AB32 by writing into law California's 2030 goal of reducing its emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030); climate change and agriculture; zero emissions vehicles; and California's leadership in international climate law. 

A couple speakers on the final panel about international connections couldn't come at the last minute, so I and several of my colleagues were asked to step in. The panel went well, but I had one of those experiences that one should not have after more than 10 years of teaching and presenting on panels - I spoke for 9 (out of 10) minutes without getting to the point!  Of course, we all hate when professors do this!  I can only offer the excuse that I am out of practice, and I have been through a ridiculous amount of cancer treatment in the past three and a half years. But it was a shame because I really had some important knowledge that I wanted to convey, and I bombed it.

This blog post is my attempt at a re-do.  The very interesting and timely question that I wanted to address was how and why California has made so many international linkages in climate policy.  Everyone knows that California has been a climate change leader within the United States. But it may be forgotten that California has also been extremely active internationally, working with other subnational jurisdictions throughout the world.

To read the complete blog entry by Professor McAllister, see "The Puzzle of California's Climate Leadership" at Environmental Law Prof Blog.

 

March 17, 2017

Chief Justice of California Tani Cantil-Sakauye '84 Objects to Immigration Enforcement Tactics at California Courthouses

Cross-posted from Immigration Prof Blog.

The Chief Justice of California Tani Cantil-Sakauye has expressed concerns with federal immigration tactics at California courthouses in the following letter:

Dear Attorney General Sessions and Secretary Kelly:

As Chief Justice of California responsible for the safe and fair delivery of justice in our state, I am deeply concerned about reports from some of our trial courts that immigration agents appear to be stalking undocumented immigrants in our courthouses to make arrests. 

Our courthouses serve as a vital forum for ensuring access to justice and protecting public safety. Courthouses should not be used as bait in the necessary enforcement of our country's immigration laws.

Our courts are the main point of contact for millions of the most vulnerable Californians in times of anxiety, stress, and crises in their lives. Crime victims, victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence, witnesses to crimes who are aiding law enforcement, limited-English speakers, unrepresented litigants, and children and families all come to our courts seeking justice and due process of law. As finders of fact, trial courts strive to mitigate fear to ensure fairness and protect legal rights. Our work is critical for ensuring public safety and the efficient administration of justice.

Most Americans have more daily contact with their state and local governments than with the federal government, and I am concerned about the impact on public trust and confidence in our state court system if the public feels that our state institutions are being used to facilitate other goals and objectives, no matter how expedient they may be.

Each layer of government - federal, state, and local - provides a portion of the fabric of our society that preserves law and order and protects the rights and freedoms of the people. The separation of powers and checks and balances at the various levels and branches of government ensure the harmonious existence of the rule of law.

The federal and state governments share power in countless ways, and our roles and responsibilities are balanced for the public good. As officers of the court, we judges uphold the constitutions of both the United States and California, and the executive branch does the same by ensuring that our laws are fairly and safely enforced. But enforcement policies that include stalking courthouses and arresting undocumented immigrants, the vast majority of whom pose no risk to public safety, are neither safe nor fair. They not only compromise our core value of fairness but they undermine the judiciary's ability to provide equal access to justice. I respectfully request that you refrain from this sort of enforcement in California's courthouses.

-Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye

March 17, 2017

Comic by Late King Hall Professor Keith Aoki Is Completed

Cross-posted from Duke's James Boyle at The Public Domain.

It is done! We are delighted to announce the publication of our new comic book — Theft: A History of Music, a graphic novel laying out a 2000 year long history of music from Plato to rap.

The comic is by James Boyle, Jennifer Jenkins and the late Keith Aoki. It is available for purchase as a remarkably handsome 8.5 x 11” paperback, and for free download under a Creative Commons license. If you buy the book, 50% percent of the royalties will go to support Duke’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain.

This comic is not just about music.  It is about musical borrowing, and the attempts to forbid or prevent it.  Again and again there have been attempts to police music; to restrict borrowing and cultural cross-fertilization. But music builds on itself.  To those who think that mash-ups and sampling started with YouTube or the DJ’s turntables, it might be shocking to find that musicians have been borrowing – extensively borrowing – from each other since music began. Then why try to stop that process? The reasons varied. Philosophy, religion, politics, race – again and again, race – and law. And because music affects us so deeply, those struggles were passionate ones. They still are.

The history in this book runs from Plato to Blurred Lines and beyond. You will read about the Holy Roman Empire’s attempts to standardize religious music with the first great musical technology (notation) and the inevitable backfire of that attempt. You will read about troubadours and church composers, swapping tunes (and remarkably profane lyrics), changing both religion and music in the process. You will see diatribes against jazz for corrupting musical culture, against rock and roll for breaching the color-line. You will learn about the lawsuits that, surprisingly, shaped rap. You will read the story of some of music’s iconoclasts—from Handel and Beethoven to Robert JohnsonChuck BerryLittle RichardRay Charles, the British Invasion and Public Enemy.

To understand this history fully, one has to roam wider still – into musical technologies from notation to the sample deck, aesthetics, the incentive systems that got musicians paid, and law’s 250 year struggle to assimilate music, without destroying it in the process. Would jazz, soul or rock and roll be legal if they were reinvented today? We are not sure.  Which as you will read, is profoundly worrying because today, more than ever, we need the arts.

All of this makes up our story. It is assuredly not the only history of music.  But it is definitely a part – a fascinating part – of that history. We hope you like it.

March 16, 2017

"Crisis Migration" Conference and Related Events

Today brings a wealth of immigration-related events to King Hall. The Crisis Migration conference, co-sponsored by the School of Law and the Max Planck Institute, among others, has brought together leading scholars from around the world.

I am participating in the panel on "Crisis Migrants and Public Welfare Policies as Immigration Enforcement: The United States." Other conference participants from King Hall include Professors Leticia Saucedo, Brian Soucek, and Rose Cuison-Villazor, as well as alum Jihan Kahssay and law students Sylvia Cunningham, Stephanie Medina, Sara Ehsani-Nia, and Kyle Edgerton.

In addition, during the lunch hour, the California International Law Center presented "Refugees in Europe and South Africa" by Ulrich Becker of the Max Planck Institute and Dean Letlhokwa George Mpedi of the law school at University of Johannesburg. In the afternoon, renowned immigration attorney and MacArthur fellow Margaret Stock spoke on "Refugees and National Security."

March 15, 2017

Speaking on Immigration Policy at the World Affairs Council

Tonight I will speak before the Sacramento chapter of the World Affairs Council on "Immigration Policy under the New Administration." The Council is a non-profit organization that strives to promote discourse on matters of global importance.

Here is the event synopsis: What does the recent White House executive order barring travel to the United States by citizens of seven Muslim-majority nations mean? Dean Kevin R. Johnson will discuss the order at length, touching on subjects including previously existing procedures for vetting refugees and immigrants, confusion among immigration officials regarding implementation of the order, what the future may hold for non-citizens seeking to travel in or out of the United States and the potential economic impacts.

The event takes place at the USC Price School State Capital Center in midtown Sacramento.

For more information, visit the World Affairs Council event page.

March 14, 2017

Dreyfous Lecture at Tulane Law

On Monday, I have the honor of delivering the Dreyfous Lecture on Civil Liberties and Human Rights at Tulane University Law School. The topic is "Immigration and Civil Rights in the Trump Administration," something I have been talking about a great deal lately.

According to the Tulane event page, "The George Abel and Mathilde Schwab Dreyfous Lecture on Civil Liberties and Human Rights, established in 1965, honors the founder of the Louisiana Affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union and his wife, both of whom worked to end segregation and discrimination against African-Americans. Past lecturers have included some of the nation's most distinguished legal minds, such as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, former Solicitor General Charles Fried and Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder."

The lecture is scheduled for the afternoon of Monday, March 20, at Tulane University Law School in New Orleans.

March 1, 2017

Migrant Labor and Global Health Conference Brings International Experts to UC Davis

The Migrant Labor and Global Health (MLGH) Conference brings together a multidisciplinary group of scholars and scientists for two exciting days of exploration and debate on the interrelated issues of labor migration, occupational health, and economics.

International migration is a phenomenon that involves 244 million people worldwide, most of whom move in search of work and wellbeing. Migration is projected to increase in the future, related to geographic and economic disparities, climate change and political events, such that all nations must contend with the societal shifts that are brought about by human movement. Solutions to the challenge of migration must be multi-sector and coordinated.

The Conference serves as a platform to explore the multidisciplinary aspects of migration and their impact on health.

What

A multidisciplinary, international group of scholars and scientists will explore, debate and propose solutions to the interrelated issues of labor migration, occupational health, human trafficking and economics in a two-day conference at UC Davis. The event, gathering speakers from universities, nongovernmental organizations, government and the private sector, is jointly organized by the Migration Research Cluster and the Migration and Health Research Center at UC Davis.

Discussion topics include: "Immigration Law and Enforcement in the Trump Years," (Kevin R. Johnson, Dean, UC Davis School of Law); "Migration and Development: A Roadmap to a Global Compact," (Dilip Ratha, World Bank); and "Inflection Point! Immigration Policies in Advanced Industrial Societies in the Age of Trump," (Demetrios Papademetriou, Migration Policy Institute). More than 200 people are expected to attend.

When

Thursday-Friday, March 2-3; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. each day

Who

Speakers include from UC Davis, Giovanni Peri, professor of economics and director of the UC Davis Migration Research Cluster, and Dr. Marc Schenker, professor of medicine; National Public Radio's Tom Gjelten; and officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety, and various migrant, labor, worker safety, refugee and health organizations as well as university scholars from throughout the world. The full schedule of speakers and topics as well as speakers' bios are available online. 

Where

UC Davis Conference Center

Background

International migration is a phenomenon that involves 244 million people throughout the world living outside their homeland at any given time. Most of them are migrating in search of work and well-being. Migration is projected to increase in the future, related to geographic and economic disparities, climate change and political events, such that all nations must contend with the societal shifts that are brought about by human movement.