President Donald Trump has been hoping he could leverage federal aid against sanctuary cities, but that leverage was denied by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
On Thursday, the 7th Circuit appellate court ruled that Trump has overstepped his constitutional authority by withholding certain federal funds to cities that have chosen to designate themselves as sanctuary cities.
Over the last several months, President Trump has had a pretty good run in the courts.
The administration has been able to bolster its immigration policies on several recent Supreme Court rulings, but this one hurts.
Numerous cities throughout the country run by Democrat mayors have defied the President by refusing to cooperate with ICE and federal immigration laws.
According to this ruling, they now no longer have to fear having federal grants withheld for that reason.
As part of the 95-page ruling issued by the court, Judge Ilana Rovner stated, “Such a concentration of power would allow tyranny to flourish, and our system of government is wisely set up by the Founders to foreclose such a danger.
“The separation of powers is a foundation of our government, not a formality to be swept aside on the path to achieving goals that the executive branch deems worthy. Rather than an exercise of authority granted to it by the legislature, the conditions imposed here are an executive usurpation of the power of the purse.”
This particular case originated in Chicago in 2017 when the Department of Justice withheld Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance grants from the city because the city was not cooperating with ICE.
Even though the city of Chicago has won this particular round, the battle is far from over.
The DOJ now has the option of appealing the decision to the Supreme Court, but it has yet to announce how it plans to proceed (although most believe a SCOTUS appeal is a given).
Trump has also hinted at using coronavirus aid to states as a means to pressure uncooperative sanctuary cities.