There is considerably less to Judge Orrick’s ruling on “defunding” sanctuary cities than initially seemed to be the case. Andy McCarthy explains that the ruling is basically an “advisory opinion” (which courts aren’t supposed to issue). The ruling is advisory because neither San Francisco nor Santa Clara, the municipal plaintiffs before Judge Orrick, faced any sort of enforcement action pursuant to the executive order they challenged. Indeed, no entity anywhere in the country appears to have been threatened with one.
Moreover, Justice Department lawyers told Judge Orrick that the executive order at issue does nothing more than call for the enforcement of already existing law — a construction completely consistent with the order as written. Unfortunately, Orrick refused to believe the Justice Department.
Andy has much more to say about the matter, including the judge’s motivation for taking his 49 page excursion. The column is worth reading in full.
So is this piece by Hans von Spakovsky. Hans argues that an exception to the injunction described by Judge Orrick seems to allow the Trump administration to go ahead with what it has actually been planning to do all along: cut off eligibility to certain grant programs that already require compliance with 8 U.S.C. 1373. Section 1373 prohibits local jurisdictions from restricting government officials or entities from communicating immigration status information to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
It looks, then, like Judge Orrick has not inflicted a defeat on President Trump after all. He’s merely performed some world-class grandstanding and, presumably, enhanced his self-image.