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Court Denies Trump’s Efforts to Undo Injunction Blocking “Sanctuary Cities” Exec. Order

Press Release

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CA – On July 20, a U.S. District Court denied the federal government’s request to reconsider a preliminary injunction blocking President Donald Trump’s Executive Order defunding “sanctuary jurisdictions.” The Court also refused to dismiss the lawsuit, as the President’s lawyers had requested.  The Court’s order reaffirms the injunction, which was originally sought by lawyers from the County of Santa Clara and its outside counsel Keker, Van Nest & Peters LLP.

In seeking to undo the injunction, lawyers for the Trump Administration argued that a two-page memorandum written by Attorney General Jeff Sessions made it clear that the Executive Order applied only to a handful of federal grants.  Rejecting that argument, the Court concluded that the memorandum contradicted the Executive Order’s plain text and was “an ‘illusory promise’ to enforce the Executive Order narrowly.”  The Court held that the memorandum therefore failed to “resolve the constitutional claims that the Counties have brought based on the Order’s language.”  

“We are pleased with the Court’s ruling,” said Cody S. Harris, a Partner at Keker, Van Nest & Peters. “The Court rightly rejected the federal government’s attempt to rewrite President Trump’s broad and unconstitutional Executive Order with a non-binding memorandum.  With the injunction firmly in place, cities, counties, and states across the nation can continue to operate free from the unconstitutional threat of that they will be defunded under the President’s unlawful Executive Order.”

Keker, Van Nest & Peters worked alongside counsel to the County of Santa Clara pro bono as the County became the first jurisdiction in the country to seek emergency relief to the harms caused by President Trump’s January 25, 2017 Executive Order. Their effort to block implementation of the Executive Order garnered the support of over 240 individuals, organizations, businesses, and states and local governments across the country, and resulted in 15 amicus briefs in support of the preliminary injunction.

The case is County of Santa Clara v. Trump, No. 5:17-cv-00574 (N.D. Cal.). The Keker, Van Nest & Peters lawyers representing Santa Clara include John Keker, Dan Purcell, Cody Harris, Nick Goldberg, and Ed Bayley.