President Trump’s hopes of immigration reform suffered yet another major blow earlier this week when a federal judge on Tuesday ruled another one of his executive actions unconstitutional. This particular ruling relates to the president’s threat to withhold federal funds from so-called ‘sanctuary cities,’ and as expected, Donald Trump was none too happy about having a court once again interfere with his plans.
The case was brought before the court by the city of San Francisco, Santa Clara County and a number of other jurisdictions. In part, these cities and counties argued that it might be unconstitutional to withhold federal funds from cities that didn’t fully cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.
However, in his ruling, Ninth Circuit Court Judge William H. Gorwick didn’t actually state that the policy itself is unconstitutional. Rather, he simply agreed with the argument that these cities could suffer from “immediate irreparable harm” if the policy were actually implemented. He also felt that their constitutional challenge had at least a chance of succeeding once the case is actually heard. By making this ruling, the judge is then effectively putting a hold on the executive action until the case can be heard.
All of this sounds logical and is fully in line with the ways things are and should be done in democratic societies. Nonetheless, President Trump didn’t seem to think so and quickly took to Twitter to vent his anger over the ruling. Judging by his tweets, it seems the president’s biggest problem with the ruling was that it was issued by the Ninth Circuit. It just so happens that the Ninth Circuit was the same one that overturned Trump’s controversial ‘Muslim ban.’
In a series of three tweets sent from his personal @realDonaldTrump account, the president first proceeded to call out the Ninth Circuit for ruling against his ban and sanctuary cities, both of which he describes as “ridiculous rulings.” Trump then pledges to see the Ninth Circuit court in Supreme Court before then noting that it’s odd that out of such a large country, both rulings would come out of the same circuit. Furthermore, he points out that over 80 percent of Ninth Circuit rulings heard by the Supreme Court are overturned.
The White House and many Trump officials also took time to outcry the ruling, with a late-night White House statement labeling it an “egregious overreach.” Reince Preibus spoke in more plain terms, simply stating that the court was “going bananas.”
Another intriguing statement was made by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who began by stating that “this is the Trump era” and continuing on to pledge that the administration would fully enforce immigration laws—insinuating that Trump would succeed where others have failed.
The ruling wasn’t entirely bad news for the Trump administration. In fact, the judge clearly stated that his ruling doesn’t prohibit the government from creating and enforcing any conditions on federal grants. Furthermore, the government is still free to create a detailed legal definition of a sanctuary city. However, these criteria cannot be applied to cities as a way to deny them federal funds. In this sense, the definition is mostly worthless—at least until a final ruling is passed down in this case.
Based on the president’s tweets and statements from various other White House officials, it seems certain that the Justice Department will appeal. If this happens, the case will then move on to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. As this court also happens to be mostly filled with left-leaning judges, it’s likely that Trump might finally get his wish of taking things all the way to the Supreme Court. Once thing is for sure, the fight is far from over for those on both sides.