Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

City of Chicago v. Sessions

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

November 16, 2017

THE CITY OF CHICAGO, Plaintiff,
v.
JEFFERSON BEAUREGARD SESSIONS III, Attorney General of the United States, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Harry D. Leinenweber, Judge United States District Court

         Two Motions are before the Court. The first is the City of Chicago's (“Chicago”) Motion for Partial Reconsideration of this Court's September 15, 2017 Opinion granting in part and denying in part Chicago's Motion for a Preliminary Injunction against certain conditions on the 2017 Byrne JAG grant. The second is the United States Conference of Mayors' Motion to Intervene as of right and, alternatively, permissively. For the reasons stated herein, Chicago's Motion for Partial Reconsideration [ECF No. 99] and the Conference's Motion to Intervene [ECF No. 91] are denied.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program (“Byrne JAG grant”) is an annual federal grant that provides financial assistance for state and local law enforcement efforts. See, 34 U.S.C. § 10152. The Attorney General has attached three conditions to the 2017 Byrne JAG grant that are contested in this lawsuit, referred to as the notice, access, and compliance conditions, respectively. See, City of Chi. v. Sessions, No. 17 C 5720, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149847, at *4-9 (N.D. Ill. Sep. 15, 2017). The Court assumes familiarity with the underlying facts of this case as recited in its previous opinion granting in part and denying in part Chicago's motion for a preliminary injunction, see, generally, id., and will engage in only a procedural summary here.

         On August 10, 2017, Chicago moved for a nationwide preliminary injunction, arguing that all three conditions imposed on the 2017 Byrne JAG grant were unlawful and unconstitutional. Sessions, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149847 at *4. On September 15, 2017, the Court granted a preliminary injunction as to the notice and access conditions, but denied the preliminary injunction as to the compliance condition. Id. at *44. On September 26, 2017, the Attorney General filed a notice of appeal and moved to stay the nationwide scope of the injunction pending appeal. (See, Notice of Appeal, Sept. 26, 2017, ECF No. 79; Motion to Stay Nationwide Application of Preliminary Injunction, Sept. 26, 2017, ECF No. 80.) The Attorney General argued to this Court that Chicago, as the only plaintiff, lacked standing to pursue an injunction nationwide in scope. The United States Conference of Mayors (the “Conference”) then moved to intervene on October 6, 2017. (See, Conference's Mot. to Intervene, Oct. 6, 2017, ECF No. 91.)

         On October 13, 2017, this Court denied the Attorney General's Motion to Stay the nationwide scope of the injunction. City of Chi. v. Sessions, No. 17 C 5720, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 169518, at *19 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 13, 2017). On that same day, the Attorney General petitioned the Seventh Circuit to stay the nationwide injunction, and Chicago moved for partial reconsideration of the denial of the preliminary injunction as to the third condition, the compliance condition. (See, Defendant-Appellant's Mot. for Partial Stay of Prelim. Inj. Pending Appeal, No. 17-2991, Oct. 13, 2017, Dkt. 8; Chicago's Mot. for Partial Recons., Oct. 13, 2017, ECF No. 99.) On October 16, 2017, Chicago moved to suspend briefing and consideration of the partial stay in the Seventh Circuit due to the motion for partial reconsideration pending before this Court. (See, Mot. to Suspend Consideration of Mot. for Partial Stay, No. 17-2991, Oct. 16, 2017, Dkt. 10.) On October 20, 2017, the Seventh Circuit granted Chicago's Motion to suspend proceedings on appeal pending this Court's resolution of Chicago's motion for partial reconsideration. (See, Order, City of Chi. v. Sessions, Case No. 17-2991, Dkt. 27 (7th Cir. Oct. 20, 2017).)

         This Court now takes the two pending motions in turn.

         II. ANALYSIS

         A. The City of Chicago's Motion for Partial Reconsideration

         Chicago asks the Court to reconsider its denial of the preliminary injunction as to the compliance condition on the Byrne JAG grant. As explored thoroughly in the Court's September 15, 2017 Opinion, the compliance condition requires a grant applicant to certify its compliance with 8 U.S.C. § 1373, a federal law that prohibits certain restrictions on communication between federal immigration agents and state and local government officials regarding an individual's immigration status. See, 8 U.S.C. § 1373. Chicago bases its Motion on a letter to Eddie T. Johnson, Chicago Superintendent of Police, from Alan Hanson, Acting Assistant Attorney General, dated October 11, 2017. (See, Oct. 11, 2017 Letter, Ex. A to Decl. of Ari Holtzblatt, ECF No. 103 (“DOJ Letter”).) The letter states that the Department of Justice (the “DOJ”) has determined that Chicago is in violation of Section 1373 based on its preliminary review of Chicago's laws and policies, and is therefore ineligible for Byrne JAG funding. (Ibid.) According to the letter, the DOJ found that at least one section of Chicago's Welcoming City Ordinance violates Section 1373 (and potentially several other sections as well, depending on Chicago's interpretation of the ordinance). (Ibid.) The letter concludes by inviting a response and/or additional documentation from Chicago based on the DOJ's preliminary assessment, noting that the letter does not constitute final agency action. (Ibid.)

         The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not expressly provide for motions for reconsideration. However, these motions are common and understood to fall under either Rule 59(e) (to amend or alter a judgment) or Rule 60(b) (for relief from a judgment or order). See, Fed. R. Civ. P. 59, 60. Although Chicago does not explicitly state the Federal Rule it is moving under, the Seventh Circuit construed Chicago's motion for reconsideration under Rule 59(e) in its decision to suspend proceedings on appeal, and the parties reference Rule 59 in their briefs. (See, Order, City of Chi. v. Sessions, Case No. 17-2991, Dkt. 27 (7th Cir. Oct. 20, 2017); Chicago's Mot. for Partial Recons., ¶ 5; Opp'n to Pl.'s Mot. for Partial Recons., at 2, Oct. 23, 2017, ECF No. 110.) As such, the Court construes the motion for reconsideration under Rule 59(e).

         Rule 59(e) allows a court to alter or amend a judgment if the movant clearly establishes: (1) that the court committed a manifest error of law or fact, or (2) that newly discovered evidence precluded entry of judgment. Cincinnati Life Ins. Co. v. Beyrer, 722 F.3d 939, 954 (7th Cir. 2013). “It does not provide a vehicle for a party to undo its own procedural failures, and it certainly does not allow a party to introduce new evidence or advance arguments that could and should have been presented to the district court prior to the judgment.” Ibid. (quoting Bordelon v. Chi. Sch. Reform Bd. of Trs., 233 F.3d 524, 529 (7th Cir. 2000)). Chicago moves this Court to reconsider based on the second option: newly discovered evidence. To succeed on a motion under Rule 59 by invoking newly discovered evidence, a party must show that: “(1) it has evidence that was discovered post-trial [or judgment]; (2) it had exercised due diligence to discover the new evidence; (3) the evidence is not merely cumulative or impeaching; (4) the evidence is material; and (5) the evidence is such that [it] would probably produce a new result.” Id. at 955 (quoting Envtl. Barrier Co., LLC v. Slurry Sys., Inc., 540 F.3d 598, 608 (7th Cir. 2008)) (citation omitted). Motions for reconsideration “should only be granted in rare circumstances, ” and district courts enjoy wide discretion in determining whether to grant them. Anderson v. Holy See, 934 F.Supp.2d 954, 958 (N.D. Ill. 2013), aff'd sub nom. Anderson v. Catholic Bishop of Chicago, 759 F.3d 645 (7th Cir. 2014); see also, Harrington v. City of Chi., 433 F.3d 542, 546 (7th Cir. 2006) (noting that motions to reconsider are discretionary).

         In support of its motion to reconsider, Chicago points to this Court's holding that “only affirmative demands on states constitute a violation of the Tenth Amendment” and “Section 1373 imposes no affirmative obligation on local governments.” City of Chi. v. Sessions, No. 17 C 5720, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149847, at *37-38 (N.D. Ill. Sep. 15, 2017). It argues that the DOJ Letter interprets Section 1373 to impose affirmative obligations in contravention of this Court's ruling, making reconsideration proper. See, ibid.

         The Court disagrees. Nothing in the DOJ Letter contravenes the Court's prior ruling, which did not rest on either the DOJ or Chicago's interpretation of Section 1373's requirements but, instead, rests solely on the text of Section 1373. See, Sessions, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 149487 at *35-38. The Court ruled on the constitutionality of Section 1373 as a facial challenge. See, ibid. Both parties not only agreed with that construction during the preliminary injunction hearing, but framed the central legal issue in facial terms and argued for such an approach. In response to the Court's question about what Section 1373 allows, Mr. Readler on behalf of the Attorney General stated: “Let me say we're also here on a facial challenge, so [Chicago] [has] not - [Chicago is] not asking for a preliminary injunction today to declare that [Chicago's] law is in compliance with 1373. That issue would probably require some discovery in terms of how it's executed.” (Prelim. Inj. Hr'g at 53:3-8.) Similarly, in response to the Court's question about whether Chicago was requesting an injunction limited to Chicago, Mr. Safer on behalf of Chicago answered, “No, your Honor. We're asking for a nationwide injunction because this is a facial challenge to a . . . provision that is applied across the country.” (Id. at 62:9-14.) The Court asked a follow-up question about whether Chicago's Welcoming City Ordinance distinguished it from other jurisdictions, to which Mr. Safer responded that he “agree[d] with the Attorney General . . . that this is a facial challenge, and . . . [that] it is a matter of saying that these conditions are unconstitutional, ultra vires, without authority, and that applies throughout the country.” (Id. at 62:7-63:5.) The DOJ Letter advancing a different interpretation of Section 1373 would not change the Court's facial analysis of the Tenth Amendment challenge. Accordingly, the DOJ Letter does not meet two of the requirements for reconsideration based on newly discovered evidence: it is not “material” to the Court's facial analysis, and its consideration would not “produce a new result.” Beyrer, 722 F.3d at 955.

         Furthermore, Chicago's Motion for Partial Reconsideration brings up issues that were never previously before the Court. Chicago did not request a declaration of compliance with Section 1373 in its Motion for a Preliminary Injunction, making its Motion for Reconsideration an improper vehicle for injecting this issue into the case. See, Beyrer, 722 F.3d at 954 (quoting Bordelon, 233 F.3d at 529) (“[Reconsideration] certainly does not allow a party to . . . advance arguments that could . . . have been presented to the district court prior to the judgment.”). In addition, a denial of Chicago's Motion for Reconsideration will not prevent it from seeking this relief. Included in Chicago's seven-count Complaint is Count V, which seeks a declaratory judgment that Chicago complies with Section 1373. The argument that Chicago makes in support of its Motion for Reconsideration is a distinct issue and more appropriately ruled upon separately, rather than inserting an as-applied challenge into what was previously unanimously formulated and subsequently ruled on as a facial challenge.

         Moreover, addressing an as-applied challenge to Section 1373 based on the DOJ Letter is premature. The DOJ Letter specifically disclaims final agency action and invites Chicago to respond before a final determination is made. If the DOJ makes a final determination that Chicago is eligible for 2017 Byrne JAG funds, then no harm accrues to Chicago. Although Chicago argues that the DOJ letter “staked out a final view” on Section 1373, this does not change the fact that the DOJ has yet to make a determination about Chicago's eligibility for funds. (See, Reply in Supp. of Pl.'s Mot. for Partial Recons., ECF No. 114, Oct. 30, 2017, at 3.) Litigating a policy position based on a preliminary assessment is premature, and this Court will not do so.

         Accordingly, the Court denies Chicago's Motion for Reconsideration because the DOJ letter is not “material” to the Court's facial analysis and its consideration would not “produce a new result.” Beyrer, 722 F.3d at 955. Further, reconsideration is improper because the question whether Chicago complies with Section 1373 was not before the Court in its prior ruling. See, Id. at 954.

         B. The U.S. Conference of Mayors' Motion to Intervene

          The Conference moves to intervene as of right under Rule 24(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and, alternatively, permissively under Rule 24(b). See, Fed. R. Civ. P. 24. The Seventh Circuit has cautioned district courts to keep the two inquiries - the inquiry under Rule 24(a) and the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.