By Jon Dougherty
The Trump administration lost another “sanctuary city” funding case following a ruling by another Obama-appointed liberal activist federal judge in the 9th Circuit on Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases lost to 10. But before the Left celebrates, they should take stock of the conservative monster they’re creating.
As The Daily Caller reports, the case involved a lawsuit filed against the administration by — who else? — California, which claimed that the State Department did not have the authority to cut off funds to self-proclaimed sanctuary jurisdictions because Congress never gave the agency that kind of broad discretionary authority:
Judge William Orrick III — an Obama-appointed judge serving on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California — ruled Monday that the Department of State cannot withhold federal law enforcement grants from “sanctuary” jurisdictions without an act of Congress.
The case was brought forward by the state of California and the county and city of San Francisco, all of which stood to lose over $30 million in funding from the federal government, according to The Washington Post.
“Congress knows how to grant broad discretionary authority but did not do so here,” Orrick stated in his ruling, the San Francisco Chronicle reported, adding that neither the president nor the Department of Justice can mandate state and local governments to reform their policies to qualify for federal funding.
Orrick’s ruling comes after the Trump administration has lost additional sanctuary funding cases at U.S. Courts of Appeal for the 9th, 7th and 3rd circuits.
Federal law and regulations governing the disbursement of taxpayer funds for law enforcement purposes as they relate to immigration enforcement seem clear enough. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures:
The Attorney General, on May 22, 2017, issued a memo stating that sanctuary jurisdictions are those that willfully refuse to comply with 8 U.S.C. 1373 and not eligible to receive federal grants administered by the Department of Justice or the Department of Homeland Security. Section 1373 prohibits state and local jurisdictions from restricting communication to federal officials information regarding citizenship or immigration status.
Hans A. von Spakovsky, a legal expert with the Heritage Foundation, explains further:
The May 22 memorandum outlines that any city or county applying for a Department of Justice (DOJ) grant “administered by the Office of Justice Programs and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services” that requires the applicant to certify compliance with all federal laws will not be eligible for a grant if they are a sanctuary jurisdiction. A sanctuary jurisdiction is defined as any city or county that “willfully refuse[s] to comply with 8 U.S.C. §1373.”
Section 1373 provides that state and local jurisdictions “may not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from, [federal immigration officers] information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual.” In other words, any city like San Francisco that forbids its law enforcement officials from notifying the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) when they arrest or detain an illegal alien “will be ineligible to receive such awards.”
Spakovsky notes that federal courts, and Orrick, in particular, have “misinterpreted” the president’s executive orders in the past to mean a cut-off of all federal funds, but that was never the case. Nevertheless, as federal judges, they have the power to issue nationwide injunctions against presidential orders, and they have done so repeatedly with POTUS Trump during each attempt to control the U.S.-Mexico border and force cities and states to obey federal immigration laws.
The bottom line is this: Sanctuary jurisdictions are aiding and abetting lawbreaking. Setting up “sanctuaries” for illegal aliens is as obvious a flouting of the law as it gets. And while Left-wing Democrats continue to celebrate their court victories, they are aiding and abetting a new phenomenon: Conservative sanctuary backlashes.
In recent weeks, conservative and constitutionalist sheriffs and city councils around the country have been pushing back against what they see as unconstitutional gun laws. They are establishing “gun sanctuaries” as a means of sheltering residents from state (and federal?) enforcement of firearms laws they don’t agree with.
The Daily Caller reports:
County officials across four states have adopted “sanctuary jurisdiction” strategies to thwart gun-control laws, according to Reuters Monday.
The Trump administration’s tough stance on immigration led many cities across the country to pass resolutions resolving not to defend current U.S. Immigration Law. Anti-gun control organizers have started to use the same tactic.
Counties in Illinois, Washington, Oregon and New Mexico have declared gun sanctuaries, according to Reuters, in response to legislation they believe is an infringement on the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees the right to keep and bear arms. All four states have Democratic majorities and governorships.
Sixty-three municipalities in Illinois have passed some type of measure and more are likely, according to Dave Campbell, a member of the board of Effingham County, Illinois, in an interview with Reuters. “If they want to have their own laws, that’s fine. Don’t shove them on us down here,” Campbell said.
Nullification, as it’s called, is a legal construct as old as our republic. Democrat-run blue states have used it repeatedly as a tool to push back against conservatives; now conservatives are employing the same principle against anti-gun laws forced upon them by the Left.
Frankly, this was inevitable. Ordinarily, conservatives and constitutionalists are law-and-order folks. But Democrats’ defiance of federal marijuana and immigration laws has pushed conservatives to the brink.
As a nation of laws, we cannot sustain lawlessness. And yet, with each activist federal court ruling that is meant to defy Donald Trump, the reality is the court is defying — and destroying — the rule of law in America.
Where this all ends is anyone’s guess. But it seems pretty obvious it’s not going to end well.
- Follow Jon Dougherty on Twitter at @JonDougherty10