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Appeal Court Tosses Challenge to Florida Sanctuary City Law

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By Jim Saunders, Orlando Sentinel


TALLAHASSEE — In a win for Gov. Ron DeSantis and Republican lawmakers, a federal appeals court has tossed out a challenge to a 2019 immigration law that banned so-called sanctuary cities in Florida.

A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday overturned a ruling by a South Florida district judge that blocked parts of the controversial law. The appeals court also ordered the dismissal of the lawsuit because it said plaintiffs did not have legal standing to challenge the law.

Several groups, such as the Florida Immigrant Coalition and the Farmworker Association of Florida, filed the lawsuit in July 2019, raising constitutional issues and alleging discriminatory intent in the law (SB 168). But Thursday’s ruling said, in part, the groups could not show proof of “actual injury” needed to establish standing.

“First, the organizations maintain that their members have suffered, and will continue to suffer, racial profiling by law enforcement complying with SB 168. Second, the organizations assert that they have diverted resources from existing programs to respond to SB 168. Neither theory holds water,” said the 28-page ruling written by Chief Judge William Pryor and joined by Judges Stanley Marcus and Kathryn Kimball Mizelle.

While the ruling was based on a lack of legal standing, the Atlanta-based appeals court also took issue with U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom’s underlying decision.

“Because the organizations lack standing, we cannot opine on the merits of this case,” Pryor wrote. “But our holding that the organizations lack standing should not be read as suggesting that we agree with the district court on the merits. Indeed, we have grave doubts about the merits, but the district court lacked jurisdiction to rule on them.”

The Republican-controlled Legislature passed the law in May 2019 along nearly straight party lines after heavy debate. In a September 2021 decision, Bloom said two major parts of the law violated constitutional equal-protection rights and issued a permanent injunction against them.

Read the full article here: Appeals court tosses challenge to Florida sanctuary city law – Orlando Sentinel

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