WASHINGTON — President Trump vowed on Wednesday to challenge California jurisdictions all the way to the Supreme Court after a federal judge there stopped him from withholding funds to penalize them for shielding illegal immigrants.
Mr. Trump, who twice has been blocked by courts from imposing a temporary travel ban on visitors from select Muslim-majority countries, expressed frustration that once again a judge in a single district could thwart him from taking action. The judge who issued the latest ruling is in California, the same state as the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which heard the previous cases.
“First the Ninth Circuit rules against the ban & now it hits again on sanctuary cities-both ridiculous rulings,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. “See you in the Supreme Court!”
Asked by reporters later in the day whether he was surprised by the ruling, Mr. Trump said: “I’m never surprised by the Ninth Circuit. We’ll see them at the Supreme Court.”
Mr. Trump may have been confused about which court actually ruled in the latest dispute, involving so-called sanctuary cities. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has not yet actually heard the case, just a district court judge located within the Ninth Circuit jurisdiction. Under normal procedures, the district court judge’s ruling would have to be appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which would rule before it could be brought to the Supreme Court.
But Mr. Trump’s confidence in a future victory at the Supreme Court follows the successful confirmation of his appointment of Justice Neil M. Gorsuch. In theory, at least, Justice Gorsuch bolsters the conservative wing of the court, but there is no guarantee that five justices would agree to overturn a ruling against the administration even if the case does reach them.
By Peter Baker for The New York Times
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