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The “sanctuary cities” connection to the SCOTUS sports betting decision

The state’s rights aspect of this ruling may have other applications.

Seven of the nine justices — five conservatives and two liberals — backed a robust reading of the Constitution’s 10th Amendment and a limit on the federal government’s power to force the states go along with Washington’s wishes.

The federal anti-gambling law is unconstitutional because “it unequivocally dictates what a state legislature may and may not do,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his majority opinion. “It’s as if federal officers were installed in state legislative chambers and were armed with the authority to stop legislators from voting on any offending proposals.”

There is a direct link between the court’s decision in the sports betting case and the administration’s effort to punish local governments that resist Trump’s immigration enforcement policies, several legal commentators said.

“The court ruled definitively that the federal government can’t force states to enforce federal law. In the immigration context, this means it can’t require state or local officials to cooperate with federal immigration authorities,” said Ilya Shapiro, a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the libertarian Cato Institute.

Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s immigrants’ rights project, said the ruling reinforced decisions from the 1990s, including one that struck down part of a federal gun control law that required local police to determine if buyers were fit to own handguns.

“It reiterates that the real thrust of the 10th Amendment and the principles of law in this area is that the fed government can’t tell the states or cities how to legislate,” Jadwat said. The amendment says that powers not specifically given to the federal government belong to the states.

See here for the background. This is only directly applicable to the feds attempting to force a local government to enforce immigration laws, not to the state trying to do the same to cities or counties. In other words, it’s not really on point for the SB4 litigation, but that doesn’t mean it won’t play a role somehow. At least, that’s my totally uninformed non-lawyer’s guess. Whatever else the case, putting some limits on Jeff Sessions is a good thing. Slate and ThinkProgress have more.

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  1. N.M. Horwitz says:

    I wrote about a little bit of this for the Texan earlier this month.

    This is pretty good news for “sanctuary city” litigation in places like California or Illinois, where it is the state vs. the feds, but you are right that it provides little help for SB4. The gist of state-local relations is that the states can do anything and everything they want unless the state constitution restrains it (which most states, including Texas, do to **some** extent). That being said, the whole SB-4-is-racist thing will likely keep it tied up in court, but not for the reasons SCOTUS examined on the NCAA case.

  2. Bill Daniels says:

    I think there’s a huge gulf between refusing to enforce federal law directly and refusing to cooperate with the federal government. In other words, if California wants a traffic stop to go like this:

    Cop: “License and insurance please, and why are there beer cans all over your car?”

    Illegal alien: “Oh, officer, I’m an undocumented immigrant, so I’m exempt from your laws.”

    Cop: “Oh my goodness. I’m so sorry to have bothered you. Have a nice day.”

    ..that’s their prerogative.

    However, in the event that an illegal alien accidentally gets arrested in California because they did not disclose their special, elevated status up front, refusing to turn over that illegal when asked doesn’t seem like a 10th Amendment issue.

  3. Manny Barrera says:

    How are those gas prices effecting your business Bill?

    Bill, Your whole scenario is straight out of Fox fantasy land.

  4. Bill Daniels says:


    I really feel bad for you. The whole narrative you have hung your hopes on is falling apart. Even the NYT and WaPo are reporting that yes, not only were Trump’s “wires tapped” by the Obama Justice Department, and now we learn they actually had a FBI spy embedded in the campaign as well. When the OIG’s report comes out, I want you to reach out, here, to your online friends, before you do anything rash and suicidal.

    And you know what, us old white guys who haven’t committed suicide with our guns will be here to support you, to get you through the dark times ahead.

  5. Manny Barrera says:

    How is the gasoline prices helping your business Bill.

    What you described Bill is straight out of lala land that would be Fox and other crazy conspiracy sources, like the Russian puppet himself.

    Bill you know that there were no spies if you really read the New York Times and the Washington Post. I will provide you a link but one of several thing that Trump and his followers all have in common is lying,

    Trump and all his continuing supporters are all traitors to this country.