Lieff Cabraser Civil Justice Blog
The Constitution of the United States of America

San Francisco Federal Judge Grants Nationwide Preliminary Injunction Stopping Enforcement of Executive Order Against “Sanctuary Jurisdictions”

In January and February of 2017, the City and County of San Francisco (California) and the County of Santa Clara (California) filed lawsuits to stop enforcement of President Trump’s executive order threatening the withdrawal of federal funds from so-called “sanctuary jurisdictions.” These complaints were ultimately supported by 36 cities and counties in California and across the country, from Jersey City to New Orleans to Seattle, and all parts in between. On April 14, 2017, the Court heard arguments on the Plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction against the executive order as unconstitutional and harmful to the public nationwide. On April 25, 2017, Judge William H. Orrick of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California granted the Plaintiffs’ request and issued a nationwide preliminary injunction stopping enforcement of the executive order against jurisdictions deemed sanctuary jurisdictions.

Judge Orrick found that the counties “have demonstrated that they are likely to succeed on the merits of their challenge to Section 9(a) of the Executive Order, that they will suffer irreparable harm absent an injunction, and that the balance of harms and public interest weigh in their favor.”

The Judge’s Order further noted, “The Counties have demonstrated that they are likely to succeed on their claims that the Executive Order purports to wield powers exclusive to Congress, and violates the Tenth and Fifth Amendments. These constitutional violations are not limited to San Francisco or Santa Clara, but apply equally to all states and local jurisdictions. Given the nationwide scope of the Order, and its apparent constitutional flaws, a nationwide injunction is appropriate.”

A Case Management Conference will be held on May 2, 2017.