City of Chicago v. Sessions, 111617 ILNDC, 17 C 5720

Docket Nº:17 C 5720
Opinion Judge:Harry D. Leinenweber, Judge United States District Court
Party Name:THE CITY OF CHICAGO, Plaintiff, v. JEFFERSON BEAUREGARD SESSIONS III, Attorney General of the United States, Defendant.
Case Date:November 16, 2017
Court:United States District Courts, 7th Circuit, Northern District of Illinois
 
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THE CITY OF CHICAGO, Plaintiff,

v.

JEFFERSON BEAUREGARD SESSIONS III, Attorney General of the United States, Defendant.

No. 17 C 5720

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

November 16, 2017

          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....

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