SAN DIEGO — The federal government filed a lawsuit against the state of California Friday in San Diego federal court over the state’s recently enacted law banning the operation of private detention facilities, alleging Assembly Bill 32 is unconstitutional and hampers government operations to house federal inmates.
The suit names California, Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Xavier Becerra as defendants, and calls for a federal judge to declare AB 32 invalid due to a violation of the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution and bar the state from enforcing it.
“California, of course, is free to decide that it will no longer use private detention facilities for its state prisoners and detainees. But it cannot dictate that choice for the federal government, especially in a manner that discriminates against the federal government and those with whom it contracts,” the lawsuit states.
A similar lawsuit was filed in San Diego federal court last month by the GEO Group, Inc., a Florida-based corporation that owns and operates private prisons, jail and detention facilities across the country, including the Western Region Detention Center in downtown San Diego.
The government’s lawsuit states that the U.S. Marshals Service houses 1,100 of its 5,000 Californian inmates in private detention facilities, all of which are in the San Diego area.