Court Says Charter Cities Are Exempt From Sanctuary State Law
California’s sanctuary state law suffered a significant setback in the courts last week, with an Orange County judge’s ruling that SB 54 is unconstitutional in its application to charter cities.
The decision was made in favor of Huntington Beach, which argued it should be exempt from the law because it infringes upon the rights of those cities governed by a municipal charter. Judge James Crandall agreed.
“The operation of a police department and its jail is a city affair,” Judge Crandall opined. “For the state to say one size fits all for policing isn’t going to fit everybody.”
The decision renders Huntington Beach, as well as California’s 121 other charter cities, exempt from SB 54.
“This is a significant victory for the rule of law, the [California] Constitution, the city’s charter authority and other charter cities,” said Huntington Beach City Attorney Michael Gates. “We will continue to hold Sacramento accountable for unconstitutional state law overreaches. The city of Huntington Beach will not allow Sacramento to violate its constitutionally protected rights.”
The state, however, remains unmoved. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra basically to said to hell with the ruling in a statement Friday:
“Preserving the safety and constitutional rights of all our people is a statewide imperative which cannot be undermined by contrary local rules. We will continue working to ensure that our values and laws like the California Values Act are upheld throughout our state.”
Asked specifically about plans for appeal, the California Attorney General’s Office declined to comment.
SB 54 or the California Values Act, which limits local law enforcement’s ability to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, has proven to be of the most controversial pieces of state legislation in recent memory. Since its passage last year, it has divided local jurisdictions across California, with some expressing steadfast support and others vowing legal challenges.