August 10, 2017

AUSTIN — Yesterday the U.S. District Court in Austin rejected the State of Texas’s extraordinary attempt to have SB 4, the law banning so-called sanctuary cities, declared constitutional before it takes effect. According to the court’s ruling, “the State has not shown the existence of actual or imminent injury,” and any decision by the court would be improperly premature. The dismissal leaves the fate of SB4 to be determined by a federal court in San Antonio, where the ACLU is representing the lead plaintiffs.

“The Court’s ruling confirms what we’ve known all along: the State’s preemptive SB4 lawsuit was a farce intended to distract from the real issue—the devastating effect SB4 will have on communities and law enforcement agencies across Texas,” said Edgar Saldivar, senior staff attorney of the ACLU of Texas. “This is a significant blow to the State, and its legal posturing has only resulted in wasted taxpayer money. The real fight is now in San Antonio’s federal court, where the fate of SB4 will soon be decided.”

In its ruling, the Court maintained the lawsuit’s attempt to seek preemptive “judicial blessing” of constitutionality would open a “Pandora’s box” and invite every local government to do the same. Attorney General Ken Paxton filed the lawsuit one day after Governor Greg Abbott signed SB4 into law.

Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU's Immigrants’ Rights Project, added, “We are pleased that the Court rejected the State’s attempt to circumvent the normal rules governing lawsuits.”

Sign Up for Breaking News