Even putting all the furious activity around the SPOG contract aside for a moment, it was a very busy day for the city on the legal front. Two rulings were handed down today, along with one legal filing that essentially settles a long-pending case.
This morning, the Mayor’s Office announced that the Trump Administration had backed down from its threats to withhold federal funding from so-called “sanctuary cities” and moved forward with a 2017 grant of $252,000. “Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions blinked, Seattle won, and public safety prevailed,” Durkan said.
The fine print suggests otherwise.
Today the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the Trump Administration in its attempt to withhold federal funding from so-called “sanctuary cities.” Though the case was brought by San Francisco and Santa Clara, it’s good news for Seattle too.
Last week, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a nationwide permanent injunction that prohibits the Department of Justice from withholding federal grants to police departments in jurisdictions with so-called “sanctuary city” policies.
Back in January, the Department of Justice sent letters to several cities and counties, including King County, expressing concern over sanctuary city policies, demanding further documentation of existing policies, and threatening consequences if its demands are not met. Yesterday the DOJ sent the same letter to the City of Seattle, with the same demands and threats.
Yesterday the US Department of Justice sent another round of threatening letters to select cities and counties, pushing back on so-called “sanctuary city” policies.
This morning, Mayor Durkan, City Attorney Holmes, King County Council President Joe McDermott, and City Council member Lorena Gonzalez held a joint press conference to double-down on their support for the city’s “welcoming city” policies, to release a letter sent to the DOJ on the topic, and to announce funding for programs to support Seattle’s immigrant community and DACA recipients.
It’s been almost two months since my last catch-all posting on the status of the City of Seattle’s various outstanding legal battles. Stuff has happened, so it’s time for an update.
Last Thursday, the City of Seattle won a legal round in its case against the Trump Administration over its “sanctuary city” policy when the judge overseeing the case denied the DOJ’s motion to dismiss the case.
Yesterday Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo that defines a “sanctuary city” for the purposes of interpreting President Trump’s executive order that withholds federal funding from such cities.