SF Federal Judge Blocks Trump Order

The Daily Journal 04/26/2017

A federal judge issued a nationwide preliminary injunction Tuesday blocking an executive order by President Donald J. Trump that seeks to take federal funding away from so-called sanctuary jurisdictions.

U.S. District Judge William H. Orrick wrote in his decision that while government lawyers argued the executive order was narrow in scope and only targeted three smaller federal grants, the order, "by its plain language, attempts to reach all federal grants."

He added that "...the Order cannot constitutionally place new conditions on federal funds." The judge reasoned that the U.S. Constitution vests spending powers in Congress and not the president.

Orrick added that lawyers for San Francisco and Santa Clara counties demonstrated standing and that the order was currently causing harm by creating budget uncertainty by threatening the loss of significant federal funding and "violating the separation of powers doctrine and depriving them of their Tenth and Fifth Amendment rights."

"What the government says the order means makes it both toothless and completely unnecessary," said John W. Keker, a partner at San Francisco-based Keker, Van Nest & Peters LLP who argued pro bono for Santa Clara County.

Keker said that government lawyers essentially tried to rewrite the order in open court.

"I can't tell the difference between incompetence and intentionality with respect to some of the things that have been going on," Keker said. "In this particular case, it is clear the attorney general was using the vagueness of the order and the fact that nobody really understood what it meant to try to browbeat cities and counties into [doing] what he wanted them to do."

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Key Contacts

John W. Keker

John W. Keker

(415) 391-5400
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Daniel Purcell

Daniel Purcell

(415) 773-6697
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Cody S. Harris

Cody S. Harris

(415) 676-2294
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Edward Bayley

Edward Bayley

(415) 773-6672
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Nicholas Goldberg

Nicholas Goldberg

(415) 676-2298
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