The Department of Justice has filed a motion opposing the State of California’s effort to move a lawsuit against its “sanctuary state” laws from a federal district court in Sacramento to one in San Francisco.
As Politico’s Josh Gerstein reported Monday (original links):
In a submission to Sacramento-based U.S. District Court Judge John Mendez on Monday, Justice Department lawyers seemed to ridicule the transfer proposal floated last week by attorneys from the office of state Attorney General Xavier Becerra.
“It is remarkable that the State of California would seek to delay this matter primarily so that it can avoid litigating in its State capital. There is no basis to seriously entertain this request that the case be transferred,” Justice Department lawyers wrote. “California’s wish to defend these challenges in another federal judicial district in San Francisco, where the State capital is not located and where the official Defendants do not reside, makes no sense.”
Lawyers from Justice’s Office of Immigration Litigation called the state’s transfer suggestion “meritless,” despite the fact that attorneys for the state have yet to file a formal motion seeking the transfer. In a scheduling filing last Friday, lawyers from Becerra’s office said a transfer to San Francisco would be warranted because a judge there is already considering a case that involves a federal law seeking to prohibit certain local and state policies from preventing cooperation with immigration authorities.
The San Francisco court is notoriously left-wing and has ruled against the Trump administration on immigration issues in the past. In addition, the presiding judge in the state’s ongoing case in San Francisco against President Trump’s executive order stripping grants from sanctuary cities, William Orrick III, is a Barack Obama appointee — and past donor.
In contrast, the judge in Sacramento, John Mendez, is a George W. Bush appointee.
The State of California argues that the issues in the San Francisco and Sacramento cases are the same; the Department of Justice disagrees.