President Trump went after what appears to be his least favorite court in the nation Wednesday in the wake of a setback on his sanctuaries cities executive order. In a series of tweets, Trump complained about the Ninth Circuit federal court, which previously froze his travel ban. "Does everyone notice that both the 'ban' case and now the 'sanctuary' case is brought in the Ninth Circuit, which has a terrible record of being overturned (close to 80%)," he wrote. (He's right on the latter stat, per PolitiFact.) Both rulings are "ridiculous," he wrote, adding, "See you in the Supreme Court!" On Tuesday, Judge William Orrick issued a temporary freeze on Trump's executive order. Orrick doesn't sit on the Ninth Circuit court but on the Northern District of California court. That's within the Ninth's jurisdiction, however, and any appeals would end up in the Ninth, notes Politico.
In his ruling, the judge cited the words of the president and his aides in suggesting that the idea of the White House withholding money from cities that don't enforce his immigration polices is unconstitutional, notes the Washington Post. He noted that in an interview with Bill O'Reilly, Trump referred to the penalty as a "weapon," while spokesman Sean Spicer stated that "counties and other institutions that remain sanctuary cities don’t get federal government funding." Attorney General Jeff Sessions made similar comments. Justice Department lawyers argued that cities wouldn't be greatly affected and that the order was merely an enforcement of current law, but Orrick wrote, “If there was doubt about the scope of the order, the president and attorney general have erased it with their public comments," per the New York Times. Only Congress, not the president, can make such decisions about federal funding, he wrote.