Here we go again.
A judge in northern California has stepped in to “permanently” block one of President Trump’s orders regarding Justice Department grant money for sanctuary cities which refuse to uphold the law. This action will obviously be appealed, as several other such rulings have been, but for the time being, District Court Judge William Orrick III scores himself another turn in the headlines. (Associated Press)
A federal judge on Monday permanently blocked President Donald Trump’s executive order to cut funding from cities that limit cooperation with U.S. immigration authorities.
U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick rejected the administration’s argument that the executive order applies only to a relatively small pot of money and said Trump cannot set new conditions on spending approved by Congress.
The judge had previously made the same arguments in a ruling that put a temporary hold on the executive order targeting so-called sanctuary cities. The Trump administration has appealed that decision to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
It’s a stretch of the imagination to declare it a coincidence that this is the same judge they found to block a different sanctuary city order back in April. And given the location where the case was heard, the first round of appeals will go to the 9th Circuit, which means the ruling will probably go to the Supreme Court eventually. Much like the travel ban, it’s clear that you can eventually find a judge to rule however you like, providing you’re willing to shop around.
The decision itself remains just as dubious as the previous ruling. Orrick is claiming that the President doesn’t have the authority to repurpose funds which Congress has already authorized. That’s vague at best and seems to ignore the fact that we’re talking about money given to the Executive Branch for the purpose of issuing grants. That means there’s an application process (which we’ve covered here before) and not everyone who applies for one will receive the funding. Further, it’s the Justice Department who determines the criteria for receiving such grants. Congress simply made the funding available to set up and maintain the program.
Judge William Orrick III is certainly making a name for himself and becoming a hero of the #RESIST movement, but if he continues to have his findings overruled upon review it may not do much for his career. It’s also worth noting that prior to taking the bench, Orrick had a long history as a generous political donor while he was working as an attorney in the private sector. A quick look at Open Secrets shows the lengthy list of politicians who have benefitted from his generosity.
Wouldn’t it be shocking to find out that they were all conservatives and Republicans? Naw… just kidding. He gave to Hillary Clinton (2006), Rahm Emanuel, the Democratic Party of Iowa, John Kerry, Dianne Feinstein, Bill Clinton (multiple times), Barack Obama in 2004… shall I go on? I think you get the idea.
So we’ll apparently put the brakes on any progress in enforcing immigration law for the time being. And the to-do list for the Supreme Court grows even longer.