Jordan Candler / April 26, 2017

Obama Lackey Blocks Trump … or Does He?

Tuesday’s sensationalized judicial “bombshell” doesn’t actually change anything.

Just when you think judicial activism can’t get any more bizarre, in comes U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick. Yesterday, Judge Orrick — who, by the way, targeted the noble work of the pro-life group Center for Medical Progress and also helped funnel almost a quarter-million dollars to Barack Obama and his lemmings — issued a provisional injunction against defunding so-called sanctuary cities. For now, the ruling protects the nine lawless jurisdictions that are being threatened with imminent Justice Department sanctions. But the details of the case and the court’s reasoning are almost surreal.

The injunction pertains to a January executive order (and this is the key). According to Judge Orrick, “The President has called it ‘a weapon’ to use against jurisdictions that disagree with his preferred policies of immigration enforcement, and his press secretary has reiterated that the President intends to ensure that ‘counties and other institutions that remain sanctuary cites don’t get federal government funding in compliance with the executive order.’ The Attorney General has warned that jurisdictions that do not comply with Section 1373 would suffer ‘withholding grants, termination of grants, and disbarment or ineligibility for future grants,’ and the ‘claw back’ of any funds previously awarded.”

But then Judge Orrick goes on to argue, “That said, this injunction does nothing more than implement the effect of the Government’s flawed interpretation of the Order. It does not affect the ability of the Attorney General or the Secretary to enforce existing conditions of federal grants or 8 U.S.C. 1373, nor does it impact the Secretary’s ability to develop regulations or other guidance defining what a sanctuary jurisdiction is or designating a jurisdiction as such. It does prohibit the Government from exercising 9(a) in a way that violates the Constitution.”

So the executive order is void, but Sessions is also being allowed to carry on. Huh? In essence, the judge wrongly contends that Trump intended to completely defund sanctuary cities. Legally, the defunding measures are relegated to three grants. So the question is: What was the administration’s motive? For the answer, let’s look at what Trump’s executive order actually said: “[T]he Attorney General and the Secretary, in their discretion and to the extent consistent with law, shall ensure that jurisdictions that willfully refuse to comply with 8 U.S.C. 1373 (sanctuary jurisdictions) are not eligible to receive Federal grants, except as deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes by the Attorney General or the Secretary.” Notice the phrase “consistent with law.” The judge is inaccurately surmising things from Trump’s admittedly loose mouth despite what the text actually says.

To be fair, the executive order was unnecessary legally. Why executively execute something that’s already legal? The message it sent, on the other hand, was needed. On the flip side, the courts hijacked the order by pretending it’s something it’s clearly not. Politico called it “another high-profile blow to Trump’s efforts to use executive orders to carry out major policy moves.” Except it’s not. The Leftmedia is sensationalizing yesterday’s news even though it literally changes nothing. As David French put it, “Trump isn’t blocked from enforcing existing law. He’s only blocked from engaging in illegal acts that the DOJ promised the court that it wasn’t considering. In other words, move along. There’s not much to see here.”

Unfortunately, extreme judicial activism and Leftmedia hyperbole will be the modus operandi for the next four years. On the positive side, it’s impossible to overstate just how important it was to get Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. Because that’s ultimately where sanity will (we hope) prevail.

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