California’s sanctuary city law will survive after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take the case on, the court announced Monday morning.
The Supreme Court denied the Trump administration’s petition challenging Senate Bill 54, which prevents state and local law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration enforcement officials.
“We’re protecting Californians’ right to decide how we do public safety in our state,” said California Attorney General Xavier Beccera in a statement. “The Trump Administration does not have the authority to commandeer state resources. We’re heartened by today’s Supreme Court decision.”
The fight over SB 54 entailed legal interpretations of the 10th Amendment, which regulates states’ rights versus the rights of the federal government.
The sanctuary city law was passed in 2017 and faced an immediate legal challenge from the Trump administration. A federal judge ruled against the federal government’s attempt to secure a legal injunction and a Ninth Circuit panel upheld that ruling last year.
The Supreme Court’s refusal to take up the federal government’s petition means that the Ninth Circuit ruling is law.
Monday’s decision represents a significant legal victory for California, which has fought Trump across a wide range of issues, including immigration.
The Trump administration had argued that California’s sanctuary city laws promote lawlessness as it relates to the enforcement of federal immigration policy. Whereas proponents of sanctuary cities say such laws enhance public safety by allowing members of the immigrant community, which is sizable in California, to communicate with law enforcement without fear of deportation.
Ultimately, the Supreme Court took a dim view of the Trump administration’s view of federal preemption of state laws, backing what other courts have decided on the sanctuary city issue to date.
A separate court ruling held that the Trump administration could not withhold funding from California and other states due to the existence of sanctuary laws in their jurisdiction.
This is a developing story.
— By Matthew Renda