On October 5 of 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 54 (SB-54), aka the Sanctuary State Law. SB-54 was dubbed the “Sanctuary State Law” since it restricted local police departments throughout the state of California from sharing any information with federal immigration authorities, among many other restrictions.
While everyone else in America was watching the Kavanaugh/Ford testimony last Thursday, Orange County Superior Court Judge James Crandell was busy ruling SB-54 unconstitutional as it pertained to the state of California’s constitution.
In April, Huntington Beach, one of 121 charter cities in the state of California, filed a complaint claiming that state’s constitution gave the city local autonomy and independence over certain laws, including police departments and local resources, as reported by CNBC.
Under California’s constitution, cities have the option to be organized under the general laws of the State, or they can be organized under a charter adopted by local voters. Cites that opt to adopt their own charter are also authorized to adopt their own ordinances and/or resolutions for any matters concerning municipal affairs.
“To me, having SB-54 declared unconstitutional at any level is a massive victory [for the city] and a massive defeat for the state,” Michael Gates, the attorney representing the city of Huntington Beach, said to CNBC. Gates declared that the ruling doesn’t just exempt the city of Huntington Beach from the law, but all other charter cities throughout the state.
The ruling acts as a harbinger of what the state of California can expect from a lawsuit filed in March by the Trump Administration. The lawsuit filed by the federal government contends that three different state laws passed in 2017 meant to shield illegal immigrants from deportation violates the United States Constitution. California’s SB-54 is one of the three laws listed in the Trump Administration’s lawsuit against the state of California.
The Chairman of the Orange County Republican Party, Fred Whitaker, characterized the ruling as a “good victory for the 121 charter cities.” Whitaker continued, “I think it also helps the case of many general law cities that also have taken a stand in opposition to SB-54.” Whitaker also stated that the ruling could act as a boon for Republican candidates running in Orange County, which is where the opposition to SB-54 was born.
The first city in Orange County to contend that SB-54 was unconstitutional was Los Alamitos, which was followed by a cascade of other cities such as Huntington Beach, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, and Lake Forest.
The board of supervisors of numerous counties have also voiced their opposition to SB-54, including Orange County, San Diego County, Kern County, Tehama County, Siskiyou County, and Shasta County.
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