Judicial Watch Wins Motion in Arizona Lawsuit!

On Wednesday, April 5, our client, the Arizona State Legislature, was granted permission to intervene as a defendant in the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) lawsuit against SB 1070, Arizona’s get-tough illegal immigration law. Judge Susan Bolton granted Judicial Watch’s motion over the objections of the Obama DOJ.

Here’s a quick exerpt from the order, which was short and sweet:

On February 7, 2011, Arizona Governor Janice K. Brewer signed into law Senate Bill 1117 (“S.B. 1117″), which provides that “the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate may direct counsel to initiate a legal proceeding or appear on behalf of their respective chambers or on behalf of the Legislature in any challenge in a state or federal court” to S.B. 1070. The Legislature now seeks permission of the Court to intervene as a Defendant in this action…permitting the Legislature to intervene at this time will not unduly delay or prejudice the original parties…the Court in its discretion finds that the Legislature should be permitted to intervene as Defendant at this time.

The Legislature now joins the State of Arizona, Governor Brewer and the author of the law, Arizona State Senate President and Judicial Watch client Russell Pearce, for the purpose of defending its enactment of SB 1070 in the interests of the people of Arizona.

Judicial Watch filed the “Motion to Intervene,” on February 11, 2011, with the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona stating: “The Legislature…has a paramount interest in seeing that [SB 1070’s] enactment is upheld.” At the same time, filed an “Answer in Intervention” with the court on behalf of the Arizona State Legislature. And here are our main 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 SB 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.”

    Fortunately, thanks to Judge Bolton’s ruling, the Arizona Legislature will have the opportunity to make this case in court.

So where does the Obama DOJ’s lawsuit against the State of Arizona now stand?

Frankly, the future of SB 1070, and other similar measures intended to confront the threat of rampant illegal immigration, are in limbo thanks to the Obama administration and its persistent attempts to thwart federal immigration laws.

It is important to remember, this lawsuit is not just about the state of Arizona. Many other states across the country are looking to this lawsuit to set the guidelines for how they can protect themselves. This lawsuit will have ramifications for the rest of the country and that’s one reason we’re expending a considerable amount of effort trying to stop it.

Judicial Watch is working with elected representatives in Texas, Maryland, and Pennsylvania (to name just a few) as they consider their own Arizona-type legislation. Arizona is leading the wave of states that want to enforce federal laws against illegal immigration.

By way of review, this all began on April 23, 2010, when Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 into law. Shortly thereafter, on July 6, 2010, the Obama DOJ filed a lawsuit challenging it, requesting a preliminary injunction to prevent the law from being enforced. On July 28, 2010, U.S. Judge Bolton allowed some provisions of the law to be enacted, while granting the Obama administration an injunction on other provisions until the Court could determine whether 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. Many believe the lawsuit will ultimately reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

No matter where this lawsuit goes next, we are quite pleased that the Arizona State Legislature, which represents the people of Arizona, will at least be able to defend against the DOJ’s suit. As we argued in court, the Legislature has a paramount interest in seeing its law upheld.

Arizona’s citizens have been living on the frontline in the battle against illegal immigration, suffering the effects of an out-of-control border and a DOJ that refuses to uphold federal law. The Obama administration has utterly failed in its obligation to protect Arizona’s citizens and secure the border.

The people of Arizona are the winners in this ruling, along with the Arizona State Legislature, Arizona State Senate President Russell Pearce, and Arizona House Speaker Kirk Adams.

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