A federal judge today denied a Motion to Dismiss filed by the City of San Diego that, if granted, would have ended a challenge to the city’s residency restrictions. In its decision, the Court found that the city’s residency restrictions were more restrictive than restrictions adopted by the county of San Diego which were overturned by the California Supreme Court in March 2015. Specifically, the Court found that “the Ordinance that Plaintiffs’ challenge is even more restrictive than the regulation in Taylor and thus likely unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause.”
“Today’s decision is a significant victory for registrants and their loved ones who wish to live in the City of San Diego,” stated ACSOL Executive Director Janice Bellucci. “Although the challenge is not yet over, we will now ask the City of San Diego to settle this case by repealing its ordinance.”
In its decision, the Court also recognized vagueness as a potentially valid claim in the lawsuit because “the Court finds it plausible that the Ordinance does not give fair notice as to what compliance requires and exposes Registrants to arbitrary and discriminatory prosecutions.” In addition, the Court rejected the City’s argument that the plaintiffs in the case lack standing because the City has not enforced its restrictions. The Court ruled that plaintiffs were not required to “make an attempt to take up permanent residency in the City before they can challenge the Ordinance on constitutional grounds.” Instead, the Court found it sufficient that plaintiffs “have suffered an injury….because the Ordinance keeps Plaintiffs from moving to the City” due to the threat of fines and/or incarceration.
A lawsuit challenging residency restrictions adopted by the City of San Diego was filed in August 2017 and the City filed its Motion to Dismiss in October 2017. Final motion documents were filed in December 2017, however, the judge did not rule until today due to health challenges.