Federal judge blocks Trump executive order holding back funds to sanctuary cities

In a blow to efforts by President Donald Trump to crack down on jurisdictions that protect immigrants illegally in the United States, a federal judge in California has issued a nationwide injunction against a plan to withhold federal dollars going to sanctuary cities, dealing the White House another legal setback on a Trump executive action.

"The threat is unconstitutionally coercive," wrote federal judge William Orrick, who ruled that the Executive had overstepped his authority with this order.

"The Constitution vests the spending powers in Congress, not the President, so the Order cannot constitutionally place new conditions on federal funds," Orrick added.

"Given the nationwide scope of the Order, and its apparent constitutional flaws, a nationwide injunction is appropriate," ruled the judge, who was nominated for the federal bench by President Barack Obama.

The decision was based in part on a ruling about the Obama health law - the Affordable Care Act - which the U.S. Supreme Court found went too far in threatening to withhold Medicaid funding from certain states.

"The Executive Order threatens to deny sanctuary jurisdictions all federal grants, hundreds of millions of dollars on which the Counties rely," the ruling read.

The ruling represented yet another legal setback in the courts for the Trump Administration, which has seen legal obstacles block the President's efforts to place new limits on refugees and foreign travelers.

Late on Tuesday night, the White House responded to the ruling by denouncing the actions of an "unelected" federal judge.

"This case is yet one more example of egregious overreach by a single, unelected district judge," said Press Secretary Sean Spicer in a written statement.

Here is the statement released by the White House:

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