SF judge declares Trump executive order unconstitutional

A San Francisco judge ruled that the executive order against sanctuary cities is unconstitutional in response to a lawsuit filed by San Francisco and Santa Clara against President Trump’s executive order.

On April 14 representatives of the city and county of San Francisco and Santa Clara presented their reasons to reject the executive order President Trump signed against self-declared sanctuary cities before U.S. District Court Judge William H. Orrick.

“We cannot rely on the interpretation (government) representatives are making here today,” said San Francisco Deputy Attorney Mollie M. Lee at the end of the hearing.

Judge Orrick blocked the executive order on the basis that Congress has the power of the purse and gets to attach strings to federal funding, not the president. Orrick also accused the president of trying to threaten the cities by withholding funding.

“The court found the Trump administration’s arguments were not legally plausible, and the court sided with us on every substantive issue,” City Attorney Dennis Herrera said. “I hope this president learns from his litany of mistakes. His first 100 days have been a disaster. I hope for all of our sakes that he can turn it around.”
Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler was not clear as to what extent the funding would be cut but did say it would be a “small amount of money,” less than $1 million for Santa Clara but he is unclear about the amount for San Francisco.

Judge Orrick asked Readler on more than one occasion if he was aware that it was unconstitutional and a violation of power to deprive local government entities of fundings already approved by Congress.

During the hearing on April 14, San Francisco and Santa Clara officials explained that the money they would not receive would directly affect their most financially vulnerable residents. However, analysts predicted that it could have affected everything from Medicaid to school funds.

Though this is a victory for San Francisco, Judge Orrick ruled that the administration can withhold funds in cases where the law already gives them permission. This means that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will still be able to take millions of dollars from sanctuary cities from three U.S. Justice Department grant programs.

The ruling comes a day before the Texas House is set to discuss an anti-sanctuary city bill that was already passed by the Texas Senate. Bill 4 will cut funding to Texas cities, counties and universities that do not enforce federal immigration laws. Opposers of this bill collected 13,000 signatures on a petition against it and presented it to the Texas State Capitol Tuesday.