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AZ Legislature Seeks to Defend AZ Immigration Law


As you no doubt recall, the Obama administration has sued the State of Arizona over its get-tough illegal immigration law, S.B. 1070. Judicial Watch has been representing Arizona State Senate President Russell Pearce in court against this shameless legal assault. Recently we added a new client: The Arizona State Legislature.

On Friday, February 11, 2011, we filed a “Motion to Intervene” on behalf of the Arizona State Legislature in the Obama Justice Department lawsuit against the state of Arizona. Governor Jan Brewer paved the way for this intervention when she signed emergency legislation on February 7, 2011, authorizing the Arizona Legislature to retain counsel to help defend S.B. 1070.

Here’s a squib from our motion:

Under a newly enacted Arizona law, the Legislature has been authorized to defend S.B. 1070….Through this Motion, the Legislature now seeks permission to intervene as a defendant (joining the State of Arizona and Governor Brewer) for the purpose of defending its enactment, S.B. 1070, and the interests of the people of Arizona.

In the motion, the Legislature argued that it “has a paramount interest in seeing that [the law’s] enactment is upheld.”

In addition to the “Motion to Intervene,” Judicial Watch also filed a “Proposed Answer in Intervention” on behalf of the Arizona Legislature. The court filing counters the allegations proffered by the Obama Justice Department in its complaint challenging S.B. 1070. Among the Arizona Legislature’s key arguments:

  • [The Arizona Legislature] has a right to protect its citizens.

  • Arizona has a right to self defense under the Constitution, particularly when the federal government fails to protect it.
  • [The Arizona Legislature] complied with all relevant federal, state and local laws, including the Arizona Constitution and the [U.S.] Constitution [in crafting S.B. 1070].
  • SB 1070 is not preempted by federal law or the Constitution. SB 1070 does not conflict with federal law, does not constitute an improper regulation of immigration, and Congress has not fully occupied the field.

So how did all of this end up in court in the first place?

On April 23, 2010, Governor Brewer signed into law S.B. 1070. On July 6, 2010, the Obama Justice Department filed a lawsuit challenging the law and requesting a preliminary injunction to prevent the law from being enforced. (As you may recall from the February 4, 2011, edition of the Weekly Update, Judicial Watch uncovered documents proving the Obama Justice Department worked hand-in-hand with the radical leftist ACLU to craft their respective legal strategies. More on that here.)

On July 28, 2010, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton allowed some provisions of the law to be enforced while granting the Obama administration an injunction on other key provisions until the Court could determine whether or not these provisions are constitutional. The State of Arizona appealed Judge Bolton’s ruling which is now under review by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

In our opinion, the Arizona State Legislature represents the people of Arizona and is right to defend S.B. 1070 against the Obama administration’s legal attack. The people of Arizona have suffered the effects of rampant illegal immigration for far too long.

The Obama administration has taken a dangerous and nonsensical approach to illegal immigration, failing to secure the borders while at the same time attacking Arizona for simply trying to enforce the law and protect its citizens. We look forward to standing with the Arizona State Legislature, Arizona State Senate President Russell Pearce, Arizona House Speaker Kirk Adams and the people of Arizona in defense of the rule of law.

JW considers this work on behalf of S.B. 1070 to be, perhaps, the most important litigation we’ve undertaken in our 17-year history. So much is at stake in this lawsuit. States across the country continue to struggle with the devastating consequences of illegal immigration. They’re looking to Arizona (and, I’m proud to say, your Judicial Watch) for guidance as to what they can do legally to protect themselves. The Obama administration, meanwhile, has fostered an air of lawlessness in response, enacting stealth amnesty, encouraging sanctuary cities to continue their illegal behavior, and then attacking states that try to enforce the law. Enough is enough.

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