The State of California plans to file a motion to have the Department of Justice’s lawsuit against three “sanctuary state” laws moved from Sacramento, where it was originally filed, to a court in San Francisco.
The lawsuit was filed last Tuesday against the Immigrant Worker Protection Act (HB 450), the Inspection and Review of Facilities Housing Federal Detainees law (AB 103); and the California Values Act (SB 54). U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions flew in for the occasion, telling a gathering of California law enforcement officials on Wednesday morning that California could no more defy federal immigration law than the Confederacy could defy the Union.
On Saturday, Politico reported the state’s intention to file for a change of venue, which was hinted at in a Friday court filing by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.
Becerra argued that the issues raised in the Department of Justice’s new case were similar to those currently before Judge William Orrick III in San Francisco: “Plaintiff’s lawsuit seeks to define the parameters of the federal government’s immigration powers as they relate to the State’s constitutional power to enact and enforce laws concerning public safety. This precise issue is currently the subject of the State of California’s litigation against the federal government in the Northern District of California.”
Orrick, an Obama appointee, has already ruled in California’s favor in other fights with the Department of Justice over immigration policy. Last year, he blocked President Donald Trump’s executive order withholding funds from “sanctuary” jurisdictions (though last week, he denied California’s request to have $1 million in delayed funding handed over right away, pending the final settlement of the issue on appeal). Orrick helped raisehundreds of thousands of dollars for Obama.
Another San Francisco judge, William Alsup, a Bill Clinton appointee, blocked President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program by March 5.
The State of California appears to be trying to ensure a liberal judge for the case.
The judge who has been assigned the case in Sacramento is John Mendez, an appointee of George W. Bush. The Department of Justice reportedly said that it filed the case in Sacramento because it is the state capital, where the sanctuary laws were enacted.