//  4/30/17  //  Topic Update


Judge William H. Orrick, of United States District Court for the Northern District of California, issued a nationwide preliminary injunction against the executive order authorizing the withholding of federal grant money from sanctuary cities (NYT, WaPoWSJ).

  • The opinion can be found here.
  • Nikolas Bowie, writing for Take Care, argues that Judge Orrick’s decision enjoining President Trump’s executive order on sanctuary cities is important for at least four reasons: it declared that the President’s effort to withhold federal funding from sanctuary cities is unconstitutional; rejected the government’s procedural defense; relied on out-of-court public statements by members of the Trump Administration; and it introduced those out-of-court public statements into the record via judicial notice.
  • Trump’s tweets in response to the sanctuary city ruling tend to delegitimize the judiciary, argues Joshua Matz for Take Care.
  • Jonathan Turley responds to Trump's call to split the Ninth Circuit (The Hill).
  • At Lawfare, Jane Chong points out that the press has misstated key facts about Trump's executive order.
  • Judge Orrick’s decision relies on federalist principles and the importance of separation of powers, explains Ilya Somin (WaPo).
  • Garrett Epps argues in the Atlantic that, after alienating the judiciary, President Trump should not be surprised his unconstitutional and vague executive order was enjoined.
  • Josh Blackman argues against Judge Orrick’s ruling and postulates that the executive order may ultimately succeed (Josh Blackman’s Blog).
  • On Twitter, President Trump promised to appeal decisions on both the travel ban order and sanctuary city order to the Supreme Court (NYT). 

The Trump Administration often argues that sanctuary cities are violating a federal statute, 8 U.S.C. § 1373(a), but that isn't true, explains Nikolas Bowie on Take Care.

  • The Supreme Court needs to expand doctrine in order to strike down 8 USC § 1373, which is at the center of current debates about sanctuary cities, argues Josh Blackman at his blog.

By enforcing the order against sanctuary cities, the DOJ undermines its legal claim that there is no credible threat the government will withhold federal funds, Nikolas Bowie writes for Take Care.

  • Contrary to the Administration’s rhetoric, there is substantial evidence that sanctuary cities are safer, argues Melissa Turcios for ACS legal blog.

Attorney General Sessions asked nine jurisdictions to prove that they are communicating with federal authorities about undocumented immigrants, and if they are not, they could lose funding, reports Matt Zapotosky (WaPo; ABA Journal).

  • See the press release here.
  • See the letters sent to the jurisdictions here.
  • California Senate Leader Kevin de León stated that these policies are based on “principles of white supremacy,” reports Patrick McGreevy (LA Times).
  • At Constitutional Law Prof Blog, Steven Schwinn discusses the implications of these letters for a future constitutional challenge to an effort to withhold federal funding from these cities.

Updates | The Week of January 22, 2018

1/28/18  //  Daily Update

At Take Care, Eli Savit argued that the Trump Administration's threats against sanctuary cities are baseless, but that the rhetoric is nonetheless dangerous. The Justice Department subpoenaed letters from sanctuary cities across the country.

Updates | The Week of January 15, 2018

1/14/18  //  Daily Update

President Trump’s top immigration chief said he was preparing to significantly increase his agency’s enforcement presence in California because of last year’s passage of a “sanctuary state” law.

Zachary Piaker

Columbia Law School

Update | The Week of November 27, 2017

12/4/17  //  Daily Update

A jury acquitted an undocumented immigrant in a case that President Trump often cited as a part of his opposition to sanctuary cities. Judicial rulings against President Trump's effort to deny funding to sanctuary cities have implications for federalism and separation of powers debates.

Jeffrey Stein

Columbia Law School