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Will A Celebrity Rabbi’s Selfie Ruin Trump’s ‘Sanctuary City’ Court Case?

The White House held its first-ever Israeli Independence Day party on Tuesday night, and some of the biggest movers and shakers in the American Jewish world were in attendance. Among them was Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, a former Republican congressional candidate and author of books like “Shalom in the Home” and “Kosher Lust.” Boteach, who frequently contributes to the website Breitbart News, tweeted a selfie that he had taken with White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, Breitbart’s former executive chair.

There was just one problem: In the background of the photo was a whiteboard listing all of President Trump’s campaign promises. While the existence of Bannon’s whiteboard had already been reported, many of the specifics had not been publicly revealed until now.

Among the pledges was “Cancel all federal funding to sanctuary cities” — referring to municipalities that do not cooperate with federal deportations of undocumented immigrants.

This may cause complications for the Trump administration in court. The government argued before a federal district court last month that Trump’s executive order withdrawing funding from such cities only applied to “a limited range” of grants, and not, as Bannon wrote, “all federal funding.”

The order was ruled unconstitutional last week, a decision that Trump promised to appeal all the way to the Supreme Court. The revelation that a goal of Trump’s chief strategist is to eliminate all federal funding for sanctuary cities may not end up being used in court, but it certainly won’t help their appeal.

This would not be the first time that publicized statements by Trump officials undermined their court cases: The executive order banning immigration from several Muslim-majority countries was revoked by judges who used public statements by Trump and his advisers to show that the order had unconstitutional religious motivations.

Contact Aiden Pink at pink@forward.com or on Twitter at @aidenpink.

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