It was only last week that the Governor of California, Jerry Brown and his Attorney General Xavier Becerra boldly defied the Trump administration, in particular U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, when Sessions came to California to inform the Democrat leadership that they were interfering with federal law due to their “sanctuary” state policy.
Sessions filed a lawsuit against the Golden State over three laws it passed. The Department of Justice claims the laws violate the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution which holds that federal law is superior over state law when certain issues are involved.
The lawsuit was filed by Sessions in Sacramento in Judge William Orrick’s federal court. The case was assigned to federal Judge John A. Mendez in San Francisco.
California previously filed a lawsuit in August in Sacramento in Orrick’s court challenging the Trump administration’s crackdown on states who follow a “sanctuary” city or state policy.
Becerra sought a preliminary injunction from the court regarding the withholding by the Trump administration of federal grant monies for law enforcement.
Orrick recently denied Becerra’s motion for a preliminary injunction, giving the Trump administration a small victory.
Obviously, California was not happy with the outcome from Orrick’s court and decided to get the case moved out of Orrick’s hands.
How is California attempting to “oust” Orrick?
Since California didn’t get the preliminary injunction it had asked for against the Trump administration, they are now attempting to “judge shop” in hopes of getting a favorable outcome perhaps?
Documents were filed Friday in San Francisco to Judge Mendez asking that the case in Sacramento be heard entirely by Mendez because it involves similar issues to the August case filed by California in Sacramento last year.
Becerra’s motion states:
“Plaintiff’s lawsuit seeks to define the parameters of the federal government’s immigration powers as they related to the state’s constitutional powers 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.”
Some may argue that it makes sense to combine the cases and have all heard in the same court. However, the timing coming on the heels of California being denied its preliminary injunction against the Trump administration is suspicious.
There may also be another reason that Becerra is hoping to get the case heard before Mendez.
Mendez, who was appointed by George W. Bush was born and raised in Oakland, California which is presently a “hot bed” of controversy.
The latest storm involves Mayor Libby Schlaaf’s possible illegal move in allegedly warning illegal aliens that ICE would be conducting raids in the area.
Perhaps California hopes that Mendez, being local to Oakland would have sympathy to their sanctuary policies.
In addition, Mendez has been described as an “independent thinker” of sorts who doesn’t always seem to follow the expected course of action.
In 2015, Mendez “stunned the courtroom” when he was a federal judge in Sacramento.
Mendez was hearing a case in which a “federal grand jury indicted nine members of a Russian immigrant family in Sacramento on charges of acting as straw buyers for homes they purchased by using phony income documents to qualify for loans. The five were convicted in May on wire fraud charges after a 12-day trial in a case that generated more than 400 docket entries since the indictment.”
Five defendants were convicted in the multimillion-dollar mortgage fraud scheme.
“Prosecutors argued the defendants were paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to participate in the scheme, and spent the money on such items as a Lincoln Navigator and a limousine.”
Everyone expected Mendez to hand down lengthy prison sentences because they were facing sentences of three to 20 years in prison.
Instead, Mendez, according to the defense attorney, said:
“You know, the government’s going to disagree with me, I know that, but this is wrong and none of these people should be going to prison.”
Even the defense attorney was shocked and said, “Our jaws just dropped. I was convinced they were all going to prison.”
Sounds like Judge Mendez would be a perfect match for Governor “Moonbeam” Jerry Brown’s antics in refusing to drop his sanctuary city policies.
Let’s hope that the Trump administration will convince Mendez of Becerra’s real motive behind his sudden desire to move the case to Mendez’s court.
And let’s hope that Mendez is not having another 2015 “California moment” when he rules on the case but instead denies Becerra’s motion.
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