Federal Judge Rules Trump's Sanctuary Cities Order Unconstitutional

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on October 25, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The travel ban aside, none of President Trump's executive orders have garnered as much legal attention as his proposal to withhold federal funding from sanctuary cities and states. A federal judge blocked the order in April 2017. California (along with other states) sued Attorney General Jefferson Sessions over it. Chicago (along with other cities) sued Sessions over it. That federal judge blocked it again. The Seventh Circuit blocked it. The Ninth Circuit affirmed that federal judge's block.

And now, another federal judge has ruled against the executive order, deciding that it is unconstitutional and enjoined the government from enforcing it. You can see that decision below.

No Sanctuary

In a case of the cities of Portland and Seattle against President Trump, U.S. District Judge Richard Jones in the Western District of Washington relied on the Ninth Circuit's decision in finding "it would be unconstitutional for Executive Branch agencies to withhold appropriated funds from plaintiffs Cities of Seattle and Portland pursuant to Section 9(a) of the Executive Order." The executive order declared that sanctuary jurisdictions -- which decline to cooperate with federal officials to enforce immigration laws -- "are not eligible to receive Federal grants."

"By its plain terms, the Executive Order directs the agencies of the Executive Branch to withhold funds appropriated by Congress in order to further the Administration's policy objective of punishing cities and counties that adopt so-called 'sanctuary' policies," the Ninth Circuit ruled in August, adding, "there is no reasonable argument that the President has not exceeded his authority."

Judge Jones's ruling was more terse, covering only two pages. Here is that order:

Seattle v. Trump Sanctuary Cities Order by FindLaw on Scribd

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