California's outspoken Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown supports the idea of suing President Trump over his latest attempt to punish "sanctuary cities," as a bill moves through the state's legislature to increase protections for its cities.
"It might just be very helpful to get into court and resolve this in a judicial form, rather than in the rhetoric of politicians talking past one another," Brown said in an interview with NBC's Chuck Todd that will air Sunday morning on "Meet the Press."
Brown was cautious, saying it is still up to the the Golden State's attorney general on whether to go to court. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, a Democrat, is reportedly doing just that. "If the law is ambiguous we can often clarify it through litigation," Brown said.
On the bill making its ways through the legislature, Todd insisted that it be characterized as making California into a "sanctuary state," which Brown pushed back against.
The governor said he wants to be more "nuanced" than that in discussing the legislation. "That bill does not declare California a sanctuary state, number one," Brown said. "Number two, it's still going through the process, we're looking at it very carefully, we're having discussions with the author."
Todd interrupted, asking the governor why he doesn't believe its fair to say it's declaring California a sanctuary state.
"As a former seminarian, I have a very clear image of the sanctuary. It's in a church. It conjures up medieval sanctuary places. It says more than a specific set of legislative requirements," Brown fired back, using his signature flourish to drive home the point.
"Th goal here is to block, not to collaborate with the abuse of federal power," Brown said. "And we want to be very understanding of people that have come to our state, have worked in our economy, often for decades, serving the need, picking our food, working in our restaurants, working in high-tech industries, the whole range that constitutes the life of California has been contributed to by many of these immigrants that are not documented."
Nevertheless, Brown called it a "balancing act" between what his state wants and the law as enforced by the U.S. government.
It is a "difficult problem because you do have people that are not here legally, they've committed crimes, they have no business in the United States in the manner in which they've come and conducted themselves subsequently," Brown added.