Andrew Hanen

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Andrew Hanen
Judge Andrew S. Hanen.jpg
Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas
Assumed office
May 10, 2002
Appointed byGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byFilemon Vela Sr.
Personal details
Andrew Scott Hanen

(1953-12-10) December 10, 1953 (age 65)
Elgin, Illinois, U.S.
EducationDenison University (B.A.)
Baylor Law School (J.D.)

Andrew Scott Hanen (born December 10, 1953) is a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

Early life and education[edit]

Hanen was born on December 10, 1953,[1] in Elgin, Illinois, but was raised in Waco, Texas.[2][3] He received a Bachelor of Arts, with honors, from Denison University in 1975, majoring in economics and political science.[2][3] He received his Juris Doctor from Baylor Law School in 1978, where he graduated first in his class. He was a briefing attorney to Joe Greenhill, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas, from 1978 to 1979.[2][3]


He was in private practice in Houston, Texas, from 1979 to 2002.[2] In 1992, Hanen was nominated by President George H. W. Bush to be a United States District Judge, but the nomination lapsed.[2][3]

District court service[edit]

On January 23, 2002, he was nominated by President George W. Bush to a seat on the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas vacated by Filemon Vela, Sr. Hanen was confirmed by a 97-0 vote of the United States Senate on May 9, 2002,[4] and received his commission on May 10, 2002. Hanen maintains chambers in Brownsville, Texas.[5]

Notable cases[edit]

During sentencing of a convicted child smuggler in December 2013, Hanen sharply rebuked the United States Department of Homeland Security for not prosecuting the child's mother.[6] Hanen wrote, "DHS should cease telling the citizens of the United States that it is enforcing our border security laws because it is not. Even worse, it is helping those who violate these laws."[7]

While on the bench, Hanen "developed a reputation as an outspoken judicial critic of the Obama administration's immigration policies".[3] In February 2015, Hanen granted the State of Texas's motion for a nationwide preliminary injunction barring President Barack Obama from carrying out the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program.[6] In United States v. Texas, that ruling was affirmed by an equally divided Supreme Court of the United States on June 23, 2016 (with an eight-member bench due to the death of Justice Antonin Scalia).[6]

On May 19, 2016, while the case was awaiting decision at the Supreme Court, as a lesser alternative to entirely striking the government's pleadings, Hanen demanded that some 3,000 Department of Justice lawyers in 26 states take ethics classes, and ordered other sanctions for those who argued Texas v. United States, involving President Obama's immigration executive actions.[8][9] Hanen did not explain why he extended his sanctions to attorneys who had no involvement in the case.[10] Hanen accused Justice Department's lawyers of lying to him during arguments in the case, and barred them from appearing in his courtroom.[8] He accused the department of "a calculated plan of unethical conduct".[11] Hanen also ordered Attorney General Loretta Lynch to appoint someone within the department to ensure compliance with his order.[11]

Hanen also ordered U.S. immigration officials to turn over, within weeks, the names and addresses of 50,000 people who received deferral under the expanded deferred-action initiative.[9] The National Immigration Law Center, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Immigrants' Rights Project, and the ACLU of Texas petitioned the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to vacate the order or postpone the deadline.[9] Separately, the Justice Department argued in a filing in the district court than Hanen's ordered sanctions "exceed the scope of [the court's] authority and unjustifiably impose irreparable injury on the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security and thousands of innocent third parties."[10][12] The Justice Department also argued that additional ethics courses could cost up to $7.8 million over five years.[9]

On June 7, 2016, Hanen stayed his order requiring ethics courses for federal attorneys and requiring U.S. immigration officials to turn over the names and addresses until August 2016.[9][needs update]


  1. ^ "Andrew Scott Hanen". The Complete Marquis Who's Who Biographies. Accessed February 17, 2015 via LexisNexis.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Hanen, Andrew S. - Federal Judicial Center".
  3. ^ a b c d e Molly Hennessy-Fiske, U.S. Judge Andrew Hanen has history of opposing Obama immigration policies, Los Angeles Times (February 17, 2015).
  4. ^ "United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Judicial Nominations and Confirmations: 107th Congress". Archived from the original on November 7, 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
  5. ^ "United States District Judge Andrew S. Hanen" Archived March 31, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ a b c Linda Greenhouse (June 25, 2016). "The Supreme Court's Silent Failure on Immigration". The New York Times. p. SR2. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
  7. ^ Von Spakovsky, Hans A. (20 December 2013). "Federal Judge: The Obama Administration Aids and Abets Human Trafficking". National Review. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
  8. ^ a b Shear, Michael (May 19, 2016). "Federal Judge in Texas Demands Justice Dept. Lawyers Take Ethics Class". The New York Times. New York. Retrieved May 20, 2016. In a blistering order, Judge Andrew S. Hanen of Federal District Court in Brownsville accused the Justice Department lawyers of lying to him during arguments in the case, and he barred them from appearing in his courtroom.
  9. ^ a b c d e Aaron Nelsen (June 7, 2016). "Federal judge stays his sanctions order", San Antonio Express-News.
  10. ^ a b Julia Preston (May 31, 2016). Justice Dept. Says Judge in Immigration Case Is Out of Bounds, The New York Times.
  11. ^ a b Palazzolo, Joe; Gershman, Jacob (May 19, 2016). "Furious Federal Judge Orders Justice Department Lawyers to Undergo Ethics Training". The Wall Street Journal. New York. Retrieved May 20, 2016. The problem, according to Judge Hanen, is the Justice Department assured him that the federal government wouldn't begin implementing the program — which the judge apparently took to mean any part of it — before February 2015, giving him time to weigh the legal issues. He also said the Justice Department misled him about how many three-year extensions were granted.
  12. ^ Brent Kendall (May 31, 2016). Justice Department Pushes Back on Sweeping Sanction, The Wall Street Journal.

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Filemon Vela, Sr.
Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas