July 13 (UPI) -- The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of the Department of Justice giving preference in awarding policing grants to non-sanctuary cities.
The suit stems from the City of Los Angeles, a sanctuary city, which sued the Department of Justice because it was denied a $3 million grant from the Community Oriented Policing Services grant program because illegal immigration wasn't its focus. Los Angeles had instead chosen "building trust and respect" between communities and law enforcement agencies as its focus area.
The panel of judges ruled 2-1 in favor of Attorney General William Barr and other DOJ officials Friday.
"The panel held that DOJ did not exceed its statutory authority in awarding bonus points to applicants that selected the illegal immigration focus area," a summary of the decision stated. "DOJ's determination that the techniques of community policing may be used to address this public safety issue (illegal immigration) was entirely reasonable."
The decision reversed the district court's ruling in favor of Los Angeles.
"The panel rejected Los Angeles' argument that DOJ's practice of giving additional consideration to applicants that chose to further the two specified federal goals violated the Constitution's Spending Clause," the summary stated. "Because DOJ's scoring factors encouraged, but did not coerce, an applicant to cooperate on immigration matters, the panel also rejected Los Angeles's claims that DOJ's use of the factors infringed on state autonomy in a manner that raised Tenth Amendment concerns."
Judge Sandra Ikuta wrote the opinion, joined by Judge Jay Bybee, while Judge Kim Wardlaw dissented, arguing the DOJ "exceeded its delegated powers" by giving preference to illegal immigration focus area.
"The majority goes astray by finding no meaning in Congress' use of the term 'community-oriented policing," Wardlaw noted.
The DOJ's effort to define "community-oriented policing" to include "partnering with federal law enforcement to address illegal immigration," was "Orwellian," Wardlaw added.