By a 7-2 vote, the Supreme Court voted on Monday to refuse to hear the Trump administration's challenge to the legality of California's "sanctuary state" laws. The ruling means that the 9th Circuit's decision upholding the laws will stand.
Only Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito voted to hear the administration's appeal, which means that both of Trump's appointees — Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh — voted against granting certiorari in the case.
The court's order announcing the denial of certiorari did not comment on the reasons for denial other than to note that Alito and Thomas would have voted to grant the government's petition.
The government had argued that three different provisions of California law violate the Constitution by interfering with federal enforcement of immigration law. Those included California Senate Bill 54 (also known as the California Values Act), which was passed in 2017; certain provisions of Assembly Bill 450 (a California law that requires employers to alert employees before federal immigration inspections); and Assembly Bill 103, which imposed state inspection requirements on facilities that house immigration detainees.
The lawsuit was rejected by a federal district court in California and then by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that — with the exception of one minor provision of AB 103 — all three laws pass constitutional muster.
Monday's ruling means that absent a significant change in the composition of the court, California's law will stand for the foreseeable future.