Beyond sanctioning the lawyers, Hanen also ordered the government to produce a list of any person in the 26 challenger states who was granted a benefit under the 2014 immigration directives between November 2014 and March 2015. That list would stay sealed with the court until the Supreme Court acted, Hanen said, at which point he would consider requests by the states to release information from it to the “proper authorities.”

Hanen’s ire was directed at Washington-based Justice Department lawyers. He said there was no evidence that lawyers from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas committed misconduct. He also noted that none of the ethical breaches occurred under Lynch, who took over as attorney general from Eric Holder Jr., now a partner at Covington & Burling, in April 2015.

“The court cannot help but hope that the new Attorney General, being a former United States Attorney, would also believe strongly that it is the duty of DOJ attorneys to act honestly in all of their dealings with a court, with opposing counsel and with the American people,” Hanen wrote.

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