ADEA Washington Update

District Court Blocks President Trump’s Attempt to Withhold Money From Sanctuary Cities

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sanctuaryOn April 25, Judge William Orrick III of the Northern District of California blocked an attempt by President Trump to withhold money from “sanctuary cities.” Judge Orrick says the president has no authority to attach new conditions to federal spending. The preliminary injunction affected two lawsuits: one brought by the city of San Francisco and the other by Santa Clara County. Both suits sought relief from an executive order targeting communities that have limited their cooperation with federal immigration authorities, known as providing “sanctuary.” Judge Orrick held that based on constitutional principles, Congress—not the President—decides spending rules. Several cities and counties with varying sanctuary protections were monitoring the outcome, as billions in federal revenue are at stake. Some local governments had limited their federal cooperation because counties had received little reimbursement from the federal government for the cost of incarcerating individuals they would have otherwise released. In addition, fear among the immigrant community could cause people to hesitate to report crimes or stop reporting crimes completely.

The administration’s attorneys argued that nothing had happened yet to the city and county that brought the suits, but Judge Orrick’s ruling pointed to repeated statements made by President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions about their plans to strike at sanctuary cities by withholding federal funding. President Trump reacted to the ruling with several tweets, including one saying, “See you in the Supreme Court!” Trump accuses his opponents of “judge shopping” by taking their challenge to the Ninth Circuit. However, Judge Orrick is a district court judge, not a jurist in the appeals circuit. As of this writing, no appeal has been filed by the administration.

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