Conservatives are accustomed to griping about liberal activism on the bench – court rulings that appear to defy the Constitution in favor of some absurd “interpretation” that takes us far astray from the intent of the Founders. But never have we seen such abject nonsense in the courts as this year. On the travel ban, especially, liberal judges have given embarrassingly biased, lawless rulings. But just when you think you’ve seen the worst of the worst, a federal judge in Chicago comes along to show that we haven’t seen nothing yet.
According to U.S. District Court Judge Harry Leinenweber, the Justice Department is not allowed to withhold federal grant money from cities that do not cooperate with U.S. immigration authorities. At Chicago’s request, Judge Leinenweber granted an injunction against the Trump administration’s order that such funding be withheld from so-called sanctuary cities. The ruling is not limited to Chicago; until the issue is taken up by a higher court, the administration may not make any federal funds contingent on a city’s compliance with federal law.
“The court finds that the city has established that it would suffer irreparable harm if a preliminary injunction is not entered,” Leinenweber wrote.
Um, so? If anything, that’s a reason for Chicago to get its act together and do what it needs to do in order to secure that grant money. Is there some sort of constitutional law that says, “If any U.S. city needs money from the federal government for any reason, said money shall be given forthwith and without condition?” We must have missed that clause.
Contrary to what this judge apparently believes, these Justice Department grants aren’t simply handed out like pieces of candy. Cities must go through an arduous application process to qualify for the money. Said application is then reviewed by federal officials. Some cities get the money. Some don’t. That’s the very definition of a program in which no one is automatically entitled to funding. And if it is lawful for the administration to give money to some cities and not others, it is by default lawful for them to attach strings to the grants. And what string could be less controversial than: “Obey the law”?