Over the weekend we looked at a recent court ruling in California which shot holes in the state’s primary sanctuary city law. The judge hearing that case ruled in favor of Huntington Beach, saying that the law violated the rights of charter cities to set their own rules in municipal government matters. Given the large number of charter cities in California (there are more than 100 of them), that’s a pretty big deal. But that wasn’t the end of the story.
Normally, if the state doesn’t like the way a particular ruling goes, they would file an appeal. In this case, as our colleague Matt Vespa at Townhall reported, the state’s attorney general simply turned around and said he would ignore the court order and enforce state law anyway. That update comes from the LA Times.
Despite an Orange County judge’s ruling this week that California’s so-called sanctuary protections for immigrants who are in the country illegally are unconstitutional as they apply to charter cities, state Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra said Friday that the state would continue to uphold its laws.
“Preserving the safety and constitutional rights of all our people is a statewide imperative which cannot be undermined by contrary local rules,” Becerra said in a statement. “We will continue working to ensure that our values and laws like the California Values Act are upheld throughout our state.”
Jennifer Molina, press secretary for the attorney general’s office, declined to comment on the likelihood of an appeal.
What was it that California was saying about the need to rein in Trump’s reckless abuse of power? The state was just hit with a court order saying they couldn’t enforce the sanctuary city laws on charter cities who don’t wish to comply. And the response from Xavier Becerra is to simply ignore the courts, not even bother filing an appeal and try to enforce the law anyway? California, in an effort to demonstrate how much they can #RESIST the President, is rapidly falling into anarchy.
One other point was brought up by a couple of readers regarding this story and I wanted to address it here. In my original article, I pointed out the court hadn’t ruled that the state’s SB 54 law was unconstitutional or struck it down entirely. In Matt’s piece, he states that the court did find it unconstitutional. The confusion here comes from the fact that I was pointing out that Judge James Crandall hadn’t ruled the entire law in violation of the United States Constitution or struck it down. What he said was that it violated portions of the California state constitution regarding charter cities. His ruling doesn’t affect enforcement of SB 54 across the rest of the state outside the charter cities. Sorry for any confusion.
The final question here is what Huntington Beach and other charter cities opposing SB 54 do now. If they had lost their case they could appeal, but what do you do when you win the case and are told by the state attorney general that they’re still going to force you to comply? I suppose they have to start over with a new lawsuit against the AG. I get the feeling this isn’t going to be over any time soon.