Skip to content

Obama DOJ Colluded with ACLU to Attack Arizona's Immigration Law


Judicial Watch recently received documents from the Department of Justice that confirmed our suspicions: the DOJ has been working hand-in-hand with the radical leftist American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in mounting their respective legal challenges to the Arizona’s get-tough anti-illegal immigration law SB 1070.

These documents, obtained through a June 17, 2010, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, include email exchanges between DOJ officials and ACLU staff. And I think when you read them for yourself you’ll see how difficult it is to tell where the ACLU ends and the DOJ begins.

For example, check out this July 27, 2010, email exchange between Lucas Guttentag, leader of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project and the DOJ’s Deputy Solicitor General Edwin Kneedler:

2:15 pm: Ed

I left a voicemail earlier today about checking in once the district court rules. Would you be available then?

[Redacted statement] And from all of us, thank you again for your argument on behalf of the United States.


2:40 pm: Thanks Lucas. We should definitely check in once we hear. We’ll be huddling here as soon as we can. What is your thinking at this point on if/how you will proceed in various possible scenarios?

It was good to see you, even if only briefly, and to be on the same side for once! [Redacted statement] I have a feeling we might be seeing each other again on this case.


6:14 pm: Thanks Ed. Yes, a real pleasure to be on the same side.

I think we will be strongly inclined to seek an immediate emergency injunction from the 9th Circuit…

Can you share your current thinking with regard to the various scenarios?

Best Lucas

I am sure you share my concerns about the nation’s highest law enforcement agency being “on the same side” as the ACLU.

The documents also include email exchanges between ACLU staff and Joshua Wilkenfeld, the Assistant U.S. Attorney who signed the government’s pleadings in the lawsuit, in which they exchanged hearing transcripts and established opportunities to discuss the case. For example, the documents included this July 16, 2010, email from Guttentag to Wilkenfeld:


…Yes, look forward to talking. I’m getting a fuller briefing on yesterday’s hearing later this morning (Calif. time) and then I am tied up for a short while. Would it work for you to talk at about 4.00 or 4.30p Eastern? If it’s okay with you, I’d like to include two colleagues. By the way, we tried to order a transcript yesterday but understand the US Attorney’s office already did. Can we get a copy directly from you when it’s available?

All best,


Wilkenfeld sent the transcript later that day.

Although we did not know for certain that the Obama DOJ and the ACLU were in cahoots over this legal assault until we got our hands on these documents, there was reason for suspicion. After all, a draft of the lawsuit filed by the DOJ on July 6, 2010, against SB 1070 was described by Congressman Peter King (R-NY) as a “cut and paste” version of a class action lawsuit filed by the ACLU weeks earlier on May 17, 2010.

But while it is one thing to share the ACLU’s disrespect for the rule of law, it is quite another to collude with the organization on a litigation strategy against the State of Arizona.

The Obama DOJ is supposed to be an independent, nonpartisan law enforcement agency. I’m sure many Americans will be disturbed, though maybe not surprised, to find that Attorney General Eric Holder’s team is colluding with one of the most leftist organizations in the nation. We know whose “side” this Justice Department is on when it comes to the enforcement of our immigration laws.

Judicial Watch represents Arizona State Senator (and now State Senate President) Russell Pearce in the Obama administration’s lawsuit challenging the Arizona law. State Senator Pearce was also our guest for an educational panel on illegal immigration that we held at the National Press Club on December 8, 2010. You may want to check out our video of the panel as we discussed in-depth a number of issues relevant to the Obama administration’s lawsuit.

Comment count on this article reflects comments made on and Facebook. Visit Breitbart's Facebook Page.