City and County of San Francisco v. Trump, No. 17-17478 (9th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
Under the principle of Separation of Powers and in consideration of the Spending Clause, which vests exclusive power to Congress to impose conditions on federal grants, the Executive Branch may not refuse to disperse federal grants to sanctuary cities and counties without congressional authorization. President Trump issued Executive Order 13,768, "Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States," with the purpose of directing executive departments and agencies to employ all lawful means to enforce immigration laws. The Executive Order's primary concern was sanctuary jurisdictions, which the President viewed as willfully violating Federal law in an attempt to shield aliens from removal from the country.
As a preliminary matter, the Ninth Circuit held that the Counties had standing and the case was ripe for review. On the merits, the panel affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the Counties because Congress did not authorize withholding of funds in this case and thus the Executive Order violates the constitutional principle of the Separation of Powers. However, given the absence of specific findings underlying the nationwide application of the injunction, the panel vacated the injunction and remanded for reconsideration and further findings.