Federal Judge Randy Moss ruled today that Ken Cuccinelli was illegally appointed to head USCIS last year:
Hell of a Sunday ruling from federal judge Randy Moss, who determined Ken Cuccinelli was illegally appointed: https://t.co/vL7azZM7QZ
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) March 1, 2020
And Judge Moss ruled that all of Cuccinelli’s policies enacted from his time leading the agency are now null and void:
— Bradley Jenkins (@bradkjenkins) March 1, 2020
Judge Moss compared the situation to the long-running bit on “The Office” where Dwight Schrute calls himself the “assistant regional manager” while Michael Scott refers to him as the “assistant to the regional manager.” Judge Moss ruled that, “. . . either way, that person is, at best, second in command” and “the acting Secretary created a position that is second in command in name only”:
From the district court decision holding that Cuccinelli was unlawfully installed as the director of USCIS, an Office reference:
(corrected tweet, ugh) pic.twitter.com/yGmm3Ph7je
— Gabriel Malor (@gabrielmalor) March 1, 2020
Cuccinelli’s appointment last year immediately raised legal questions over whether he could be placed to lead USCIS without a formal nomination. His official title was principal deputy director, but he was performing the duties of the acting director, an agency official told CNN at the time.
“Cuccinelli may have the title of Principal Deputy Director, and the Department of Homeland Security’s order of succession may designate the office of the Principal Deputy Director as the ‘first assistant’ to the Director. But labels — without any substance — cannot satisfy the FVRA’s default rule under any plausible reading of the statute,” US District Court Judge Randolph D. Moss said in his ruling Sunday.
To support the point, Moss cited in a footnote the popular TV show “The Office,” highlighting a “long-running riff” from the show “between one who serves as ‘the assistant regional manager’ and ‘the assistant to the regional manager.'”
“But either way, that person is, at best, second in command. Here, the acting Secretary created a position that is second in command in name only,” the footnote reads.
This could affect other “acting” directors:
Explosive! – Every immigration reg and policy signed by Cuccinelli may be challenged. And this could mean the policies of the other "acting" agency heads can be challenged as well. https://t.co/imI9tQDH9g
— (((Greg Siskind))) (@gsiskind) March 1, 2020
And it’s a big win for the group Democracy Forward that brought the lawsuit:
?VICTORY: A court just ruled the Trump administration violated the FVRA and unlawfully appointed Ken Cuccinelli to serve as acting USCIS Director. We fought back with @RAICESTexas @CLINICLegal on behalf of asylum seekers, and won!https://t.co/Jl5gq9GsOE
— Democracy Forward (@DemocracyFwd) March 1, 2020