18:35, June 07 43 0 abajournal.com

2018-06-07 18:35:05
Does law requiring immigration cooperation run afoul of sports betting decision? Judge thinks so

A federal law requiring local governments to cooperate in immigration enforcement violates the anti-commandeering doctrine cited in the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision on sports betting, a federal judge says in a decision that requires the Justice Department to release grant money to the city of Philadelphia.

U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson ruled Wednesday in Philadelphia’s legal battle with the U.S. Justice Department, report the Philadelphia Inquirer, Slate and CBS Philly. Baylson granted a permanent injunction that bars Attorney General Jeff Sessions from imposing restrictions on the public safety grants that totaled about $1.6 million for Philadelphia.

Baylson cited the May 14 Supreme Court decision, Murphy v. NCAA, which struck down a federal law that bars states from authorizing sports betting. He also cited an April decision by the Chicago-based 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholding a nationwide preliminary injunction that barred the Justice Department from withholding the grants.

Philadelphia had filed a suit in August that challenged the restrictions on criminal justice grants known as Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants. The Justice Department had required local governments to meet three conditions for the grants: they must allow access to prisons by immigration agents, provide advance notice when prisoners wanted on an immigration detainer are being released, and certify compliance with a federal statute that bars local law enforcement agencies from refusing to share immigration status information with federal authorities.

The 7th Circuit had ruled the access and notice conditions imposed by Sessions exceed the authority delegated by Congress. Baylson said he reached the same conclusion.

Baylson also said the certification restriction and the law it is based on violate the 10th Amendment principle in Murphy v. NCAA that Congress can’t dictate to states. He also said the conditions were arbitrary and capricious, and they violated the spending clause by restricting the distribution of federal funds without congressional authorization.

In any event, Baylson said, the city substantially complies with the three conditions and is entitled to prompt payment of the funds.

Slate sees irony that Baylson cited the Supreme Court sports betting decision written by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. Slate says Alito has opposed immigrant rights, yet Baylson managed to cite his opinion to protect immigrants. “That’s how the federalism cookie crumbles,” Slate wrote.