The productivity of President Trump’s first 100 days has come into question quite a bit recently. While it has been an eventful time for the young administration, it has also been served many political defeats. Today, Trump’s administration faced another setback as an executive order that would deny federal funding to sanctuary cities was temporarily blocked, Politico reports. The decision came after both San Francisco and Santa Clara filed lawsuits against President Trump’s executive orders.
According to The New York Times, the latest injunction was handed down by William Orrick, a Judge from United States District Court for the Northern District of California.
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) April 25, 2017
According to Judge Orrick, the scope of the executive order, which would penalize cities that protect their undocumented population, had a broader reach than federal law allows, the Washington Post reports. In short, the President cannot withhold federal funds from sanctuary cities, because the funds were not allocated by Congress under these conditions in the first place.
According to Politico, Judge Orrick released a statement on the issue, saying that comments from both President Trump and Attorney General Sessions would violate the conditions set by congress as it relates to allocating funds. Adding:
If there was doubt about the scope of the Order, the President and Attorney General have erased it with their public comments. The Constitution vests the spending power in Congress, not the President, so the Order cannot constitutionally place new conditions on federal funds.
According to the Washington Post, Judge Orrick doubled down on his opinion, saying:
The defunding provision is entirely inconsistent with law in its stated purpose and directives because it instructs the Attorney General and the Secretary to do something that only Congress has the authority to do–place new conditions on federal funds.
The Washington Post also mentions that many of the preexisting grants have no ties to conditions based on immigration or law enforcement.
Some pro-Trump people feel the judge’s interpretation goes too far.
@foxnewspolitics This is getting ridiculous already. How can these judges do this? Sanctuary Cities are against the law. These are real judges? Really?
— LaDeplorable (@raquelita44) April 25, 2017
Their main argument is that sanctuary cities protect criminals, or that because Judge Orrick was appointed by former President Obama, that his motives are likely biased.
Others pointed out that the judge was well within his jurisdiction.
POTUS doesn't get to interpret the Constitution.
Federal judges are vested with that power and they say #sanctuarycities are here to stay!
— Vinay A. Ramesh (@vinaytion) April 25, 2017
However, the injunction doesn’t completely prevent President Trump from enacting future measures from targeting sanctuary cities.
— ABC News Radio (@ABCNewsRadio) April 25, 2017
The point of contention for Judge Orrick is that President Trump is trying to rewrite, or undermine current laws that were enacted by Congress. If the President could do this, the Washington Post points out, he could use excessive power to force cities into unlawful compromises. Moving forward, the government still has the power to designate cities as sanctuary cities, putting them in the crosshairs of future legislation. And, as it sees fit, the government can still determine whether or not a city can receive funding if that city is in violation of preexisting legal conditions.