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County of Santa Clara Leads Broad Coalition of Local Governments and Organizations Nationwide in Supporting the City of Philadelphia’s Challenge to Unlawful Federal Grant Conditions

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF.—On October 19, 2017, the County of Santa Clara filed an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief on behalf of 29 local governments and organizations nationwide. The brief, authored by the Office of the County Counsel, urges a federal court in Pennsylvania to grant the City of Philadelphia’s motion for a preliminary injunction blocking the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) from enforcing several new conditions on federal law enforcement grant funding. The unconstitutional conditions would require local governments around the country to give up this critical funding unless they cave to the federal government’s desire to enlist local police to assist with federal immigration enforcement efforts.

The brief echoes a filing the County made on behalf of local governments across the country in a case brought by the City of Chicago challenging the same unconstitutional funding conditions. An Illinois federal court granted a nationwide preliminary injunction, citing the County’s brief as evidence of the national impact of DOJ’s coercive actions. But the federal government continues to dispute Chicago’s injunction, requiring Philadelphia to fight the same battle now.

“The County of Santa Clara is proud to lead local governments around the country in resisting the Trump Administration’s unconstitutional attempts to coerce local governments to do its bidding by threatening to take away the funds we use to protect and serve our communities,” said Santa Clara County Counsel James R. Williams.  “We will continue to fight alongside our sister counties and cities around the country to preserve important local rights.”

The amicus brief is joined by major cities across the country, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, the District of Columbia, Austin, Chicago, Denver, New York, and Seattle. Also joining the brief are four major associations representing local governments and their officials: The United States Conference of Mayors, the National League of Cities, the International Municipal Lawyers Association, and the International City/County Management Association.

The case is City of Philadelphia v. Sessions, No. 17-3894 (Eastern District of Pennsylvania).

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About the Santa Clara County Counsel’s Office

The County Counsel serves as legal counsel to the County, its Board of Supervisors and elected officials, every County department and agency, and the County’s boards and commissions. With a staff of 170 employees, including 85 attorneys, the Office of the County Counsel is also responsible for all civil litigation involving the County and its officers. Through its Social Justice and Impact Litigation Section, the Office litigates high-impact cases, drafts innovative local ordinances, and develops policies and programs to advance social and economic justice.

About the County of Santa Clara, California

The County of Santa Clara government serves a diverse, multi-cultural population of 1.9 million residents. With a $6.5 billion annual budget, dozens of offices/departments, and over 18,000 employees, the County provides essential services to its residents, including public health protection, environmental stewardship, medical services through Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, child and adult protection services, homelessness prevention and treatment, roads, park services, libraries, emergency response to disasters, protection of minority communities and those under threat, access to a fair criminal justice system, and many others, particularly for those in the greatest need. The County is the most populous in Northern California.

Contact: Maria Leticia Gomez, Office of Public Affairs, (408) 299-5154, [email protected]


Posted: October 20, 2017