In sanc­tu­ary city fight, state loses bid for pre-emp­tive vic­tory

The Washington Times Daily - - AMERICAN SCENE - — Stephen Dinan

A fed­eral court Wed­nes­day tossed out Texas’s at­tempt for a pre­emp­tive le­gal de­fense of the state’s new an­ti­sanc­tu­ary city law, shift­ing the bat­tle­ground to yet an­other fed­eral court.

Hours af­ter Gov. Greg Ab­bott signed the anti-sanc­tu­ary law, SB 4, At­tor­ney Gen­eral Ken Pax­ton went to a court and asked for a pre­lim­i­nary rul­ing that it was con­sti­tu­tional. But U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks in Austin re­jected that move, say­ing courts aren’t in the busi­ness of giv­ing ad­vi­sory opin­ions.

The bat­tle now heads to an­other fed­eral court in San An­to­nio, where sev­eral cities seek to pre­serve their sanc­tu­ary poli­cies in the face of the new law, which is set to take ef­fect Sept. 1.

Mr. Pax­ton had tried to get the le­gal bat­tle shifted to Judge Sparks in Austin, but the rul­ing ends that ef­fort.

“We’re disappointed with the court’s rul­ing and look for­ward to press­ing our win­ning ar­gu­ments in the San An­to­nio cases and beyond (if nec­es­sary) on this un­doubt­edly con­sti­tu­tional law,” the at­tor­ney gen­eral said.

Judge Sparks was ap­pointed to the bench by Pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush, while Judge Or­lando Gar­cia, who now be­comes the key ju­rist, was ap­pointed by Pres­i­dent Clin­ton.

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