“The Donald” Loses Yet Another Lawsuit

I have wanted to write about Trump’s legal matters for some time. The list of cases he has lost is voluminous; the cases he has won are seemingly few. Per a study by USA Today, Trump has been involved in 3,500 legal cases in the past three decades – unprecedented for a U.S. President.

For this column I have picked a loser; not Trump, the case: San Francisco v. Donald J. Trump and Jefferson B. Sessions, III.


Trump is no fan of Sanctuary Cities, cities that provide a sanctuary for those with questionable citizenship or immigration status. He is also no fan of California.

As he told the dethroned Bill O’Reilly on February 7, 2017, as quoted in the Opinion, “I’m very much opposed to sanctuary cities …If we have to defund, we give tremendous amounts of money to California…California in many ways is out of control.”

So what do you do when you are a Presidential Bully and Congress, who is empowered to pass laws, doesn’t do what you want? You inarticulately tweet all day and night, and when that doesn’t get results you pass your own law. In this case, Executive Order 13,768:  “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States.”  Huh?


EO 13,768 directs the withholding of federal funds to so-called sanctuary jurisdictions, like San Francisco. Under the Order, San Francisco is not eligible to receive federal grants.

The City and County of San Francisco (and Santa Clara) sued the Trumpster. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard the case and provided a thorough analysis.

The Court cited Alexander Hamilton who wrote that Congress not the President “commands the purse.”

The Court summarized the Executive Order as being proposed “to further the Administration’s policy objective of punishing cities and counties that adopt so-called ‘sanctuary policies.’”


In a brazen and ironic defensive argument, the Administration argued the Executive Order “is all bluster and no bite, representing a perfectly legitimate use of the Presidential ‘bully pulpit,’” without any real meaning – “gesture without motion, as T.S. Eliot put it.” That’s right out of the Court Opinion.

Essentially the Administration argued the President is all bluster.

The Court of Appeals concluded that Executive Order 13,768 “directs the Attorney General to cut all grant programs,” so it was more than (the usual) Trump bluster.


In the end the Court of Appeals ruled the President’s Executive Order unconstitutional, the power to withhold funds belongs solely to Congress.

With the soon-to-come new, hand picked U.S. Supreme Court, we’ll see how many of these Trump court losses are overturned.



Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter Simon licensed in California and Nevada, with offices in Truckee and Tahoe City, California, and Reno, Nevada.  Jim’s practice areas include:  real estate, development, construction, business, HOA’s, contracts, personal injury, accidents, mediation and other transactional matters.  He may be reached at porter@portersimon.com or www.portersimon.com.  

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The content contained and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author. This blog contains content and opinions concerning the law generally, and is not intended to constitute legal advice or to create any attorney‑client relationship with the reader. The reader should consult with an attorney about any specific legal issues prior to embarking on any course of action or inaction involving legal matters.