Trump Policy on Sanctuary Cities Blocked for the Third Time

For at least the third time, a federal court has called Trump’s executive order withholding federal funds from what he deems to be “sanctuary cities” unconstitutional, and this time it comes with a permanent, nationwide injunction to enforce the ruling.

Credit: MiguelB
Credit: MiguelB

A federal court on Monday ruled to block President Trump’s executive order halting certain federal funds for so-called sanctuary cities, calling it “unconstitutional on its face.”

“The defendants are permanently enjoined from enforcing Section 9(a) of the Executive Order against jurisdictions they deem as sanctuary jurisdictions. Because Section 9(a) is unconstitutional on its face, and not simply in its application to the plaintiffs here, a nationwide injunction against the defendants other than President Trump is appropriate,” U.S. District Judge William Orrick ruled…

“I concluded that the County of Santa Clara and the City and County of San Francisco had pre-enforcement standing to protect hundreds of millions of dollars of federal grants from the unconstitutionally broad sweep of the Executive Order,” Orrick wrote.

You can read the full ruling here. At issue is a section of federal law giving grants to local governments called Byrne/JAG grants. Congress does have the authority to pass a law that does what Trump’s executive order does, and they do have the authority to give such power to the executive branch, but they have not done so. There are other grants for which they have given such authority to the president, but the section involving this particular grant explicitly does not do so.

So what we have here is yet another example of a badly conceived and badly written executive order that pays no attention to the question of the president’s legitimate authority. And that happens because he has nothing but amateurs in charge of such matters. Who in the White House is qualified to write such an order? Bannon wasn’t. Steven Miller isn’t. Kushner isn’t. Kelly isn’t. Ordinarily this would go through the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel first, which would advise the White House on what proper authority the president has in the matter, but Trump has ignored that department completely in writing executive orders. This is what happens when you put amateurs in charge.

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