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AG Sessions may take feud with Chicago to Supreme Court

Attorney General Jeff Sessions | AP file photo

With his patience apparently running thin, Attorney General Jeff Sessions tried to set a deadline Thursday for an appellate court to make a ruling in his months-long fight with Chicago over sanctuary city policies.

It worked — the court shot him down within hours.

Now, Sessions could be taking the feud to the U.S. Supreme Court. Meanwhile, judges here apparently think the high court’s ruling in President Donald Trump’s travel ban case could have implications for Sessions’ legal battle with Chicago.

A nationwide injunction handed down by U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber is blocking Sessions from applying new conditions to grant money in order to force cities to cooperate with immigration authorities.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said this month it would reconsider whether the injunction should apply nationwide. But Sessions had also asked the 7th Circuit, in a “stay motion,” to limit it to Chicago while his appeal plays out.

Having not heard an answer, Justice Department lawyer Katherine Twomey Allen pushed for a ruling Thursday.

“We respectfully request that this court rule on our stay motion by the close of business on June 18, 2018,” Allen wrote. “If it has not done so, the Solicitor General has determined that we will promptly seek relief from the Supreme Court.”

She said the Justice Department has been waiting to issue grant money “because the Department believes that it has the lawful authority to impose the conditions.”

“Further delay in issuance of the grants would hinder the flow of funding to support law-enforcement activity around the country, impose particular burdens for localities with relatively small budgets, and disrupt state grant-making processes under which states issue sub-awards of grant funds,” Allen wrote.

The grant at issue is the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant, used by local governments for law enforcement needs like police cruisers, body cameras and community programs aimed at reducing violence.

In an order issued hours later, the appellate court said it would “construe this letter as a motion for an immediate ruling on the motions for a stay.” Then it denied it.

However, it also said it is watching for the Supreme Court to resolve issues over Trump’s travel ban, which also raised questions about whether a district court’s preliminary injunction was overbroad.