Nadler Rejects DOJ’s ‘Anarchist Jurisdiction’ Label of New York City

September 22, 2020 Updated: September 22, 2020

Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) condemned the Trump administration’s designation of New York City as an “anarchist jurisdiction,” which the Department of Justice announced Monday. This designation would enable the administration to withhold federal funding unless local officials restore law and order.

“We (New York’s congressional delegation) reject Trump’s partisan distraction and stand together in opposing any effort to cut funding for NYC,” Nadler wrote in a Tweet Tuesday morning.

According to the DOJ, anarchist jurisdictions are areas that have “permitted violence and destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract criminal activities.”

For New York City, the DOJ cites statistics that shootings have risen since rioting and looting began in May 2020 and writes, “For July 2020, shootings increased from 88 to 244, an increase of 177 [percent] over July 2019.  In August 2020, shootings increased from 91 to 242, a 166 [percent] increase over August 2019.”

Police stand guard near looted stores
Police stand guard near looted stores during a night of protests and vandalism over the death of George Floyd in New York City on June 1, 2020. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The DOJ also cites the fact that “the Manhattan and Brooklyn District Attorneys have declined to prosecute charges of disorderly conduct and unlawful assembly arising from the protests, and the District Attorneys in Queens and the Bronx have declined to prosecute other protest-related charges.”

Damage is seen at an Urban Outfitters store
Damage is seen at an Urban Outfitters store near New York’s Union Square on May 31, 2020, after it was damaged in the midst of a protest highlighting the death of George Floyd who was in police custody in Minneapolis. (Craig Ruttle/AP Photo)

In addition to Nadler, New York Democrats, Reps. Carolyn Maloney, Grace Meng, Nydia Velázquez, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Hakeem Jeffries, Katherine Clarke, Eliot Engel, Gregory Meeks, Jose E. Serrano, Max Rose, Nita Lowey, and Adriano Espaillat issued a written statement Monday pushing back on the DOJ’s designation of New York City as an anarchist haven.

“The President does not have the power to target and defund individual cities, nor does he have the authority to single-handedly eliminate or change congressional appropriations,” N.Y. Democrats wrote. They said they are united and will oppose any attempted funding cuts associated with the label.

In addition, New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he will fight the administration in court like they did when the administration attempted to take away money from jurisdictions for being “sanctuary cities.”

“He doesn’t control federal funding. The federal law controls federal funding, and the federal law is very specific: Jurisdiction doesn’t get affordable housing money if it does this, jurisdiction gets community development money if it does this, the jurisdiction gets Title I education funding if it does this. And the President is not above the law—that’s the Constitution of the United States,” Cuomo said in a written statement.

The DOJ has also designated Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington as “anarchist jurisdictions.”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio along with Portland and Seattle Mayor said that President Trump is playing political games with this new DOJ policy.

“This is thoroughly political and unconstitutional. The President is playing cheap political games with Congressionally directed funds,” the three mayors wrote. They added that the President is “shirking” his responsibilities and blaming others for his failures.

Epoch Times Photo
An individual whose feet caught fire after a molotov cocktail exploded runs toward a medic in Portland, Ore., on Sept. 5, 2020. (Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, NY Attorney General Letitia James criticized the president for diverting attention from COVID deaths by designating NYC as an anarchist jurisdiction. She warned the administration to be prepared to fight this policy in court.

Referring to a past court case involving a sanctuary city designation by the Trump administration that would have stripped funding from New York, James said, “We have beat the president and the illegal actions of his DOJ in court before and have no doubt we will beat them again,” James said in a written statement Monday.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the new designation.