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Q&A With Pro Bono Lawyer Who Helped Block Trump's Sanctuary Executive Order

The Recorder

U.S. District Judge William Orrick III blocked the Trump administration Tuesday from enforcing its threat to withhold federal funds from sanctuary cities. The nationwide injunction was a win for lawyers for Santa Clara County and their pro bono counsel at Keker Van Nest & Peters, as well as the San Francisco city attorney’s office.

San Francisco filed the first lawsuit Jan. 31 challenging President Donald Trump’s executive order targeting about 300 communities that decline to cooperate with federal immigration officials in aiding deportation. Santa Clara County and Keker followed suit shortly thereafter, upping the ante by asking for the nationwide injunction. Keker’s Cody Harris, who worked on the case alongside partners John Keker and Daniel Purcell and associates Nicholas Goldberg and Edward Bayley, spoke with The Recorder shortly after Orrick’s decision was handed down Tuesday to discuss the firm’s work so far and what’s ahead in the underlying case.

So why did the firm care enough to get involved in this way?

Cody Harris: Obviously it has a huge impact on a lot of people. The County of Santa Clara has 1.9 million residents in it and this executive order was threatening defunding on a vast scale that would affect everything from health and social services, really you name it. Obviously when people talk about the case they’re discussing it in the context of immigration and sanctuary jurisdictions, which is an important issue. But the case is broader than that. It’s about executive power. It’s about the power of the president and whether the president has to follow the Constitution.

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