Tuesday, April 4, 2017

California justice doubles down after rebuke from Trump officials

California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye

ATTY. GEN. JEFF SESSIONS and Homeland Security chief John Kelly issued a strong response to California's Chief Justice in a letter made public Friday. 

The two Trump appointees mansplained the meaning of "stalking" to Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, who used the term describing ICE agents who are making arrests at the state's courthouses.

"As the chief judicial officer of the State of California, your characterization of federal law enforcement officers is particularly troubling. As you are aware, stalking has a specific legal meaning in American law, which describes criminal activity involving repetitive following or harassment of the victim with the intent to produce fear of harm."

Cantil-Sakauye, a Republican, wrote a letter to the Attorney General and Homeland Security on March 16 because of instances where ICE agents made arrests at courthouses.

Instead of backing off, the Chief Justice doubled down on her original criticism. “Making arrests at courthouses, in my view, undermines public safety because victims and witnesses will fear coming to courthouses to help enforce the law,” said the Filipina/American justice. “I am disappointed that despite local and state public safety issues at stake, courthouses are not on ICE’s ‘sensitive areas’ list that includes schools, churches, and hospitals.”

“When others see that happening and even for that person themselves, it can absolutely feel like what we all would commonly call stalking,” said Stanford Professor Jayashri Srikantiah. “If you’re undocumented and you’re the victim of domestic violence, it may make you very reluctant to go to the courthouse at all, even if you have a very valid need for the legal system.”

Kelly and Sessions also made an obvious slap at California's top elected officials who have been opposed to many of Donald Trumps policies, especially in reference to immigration.

"We would encourage you to express your concerns to the Governor of California and local officials who have enacted policies that occasionally necessitate ICE officers and agents to make arrests at courthouses and other public places," concluded the letter from Sessions and Kelly.

Yesterday, April 3, the California Senate voted to make the state a sanctuary state. The bill goes to the state Assembly before going to Gov. Jerry Brown.