California Supreme Court Rules Huntington Beach Must Follow Sanctuary State Law
By Shari Rendall | FAIR Take | April 2020
The California Supreme Court dealt a setback to cities within the state when it declined to hear an appeal by the City of Huntington Beach on the State’s sanctuary law (SB 54). Instead, the California Supreme Court let stand the Appellate Court ruling that Huntington Beach was not exempt from the law.
In April 2018, Huntington Beach sued the state arguing that its status as a charter city gave it the authority under the state constitution to set its own law-enforcement policies regardless of state law enacted by the legislature. (See Article XI, Section 5, California Constitution.) An Orange County Superior Court Judge agreed with the city holding it was free to continue cooperating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) regardless of SB 54.
California Attorney General Xavier Beccera (D) appealed Judge Crandall’s order and a three-judge panel of Division Three of the California Fourth District Court of Appeals reversed the decision. The appellate court held that SB 54 addresses matters of statewide concern, is reasonably related to resolution of those statewide concerns, and is narrowly tailored to avoid unnecessary interference in local government. It ruled that SB 54 trumped the express protection in the state constitution of Huntington Beach’s control over its own police department. Huntington Beach appealed the ruling but the California State Supreme Court decided not to hear the case.
Huntington Beach City Attorney Michael Gates called the decision “tragic for the rule of law and for local control efforts,” and added that “the state will continue to erode local city control.”
Click here to read the opinion of Division Three of the Fourth District in City of Huntington Beach v. Becerra that the California Supreme Court let stand.