Feds to sue Arizona over SB 1070?

It’s being reported officials in President Obama’s administration are urging the U.S. Department of Justice, led by Attorney General Eric Holder, to sue the state of Arizona over SB 1070, the recently enacted Arizona law which is supposed to clamp down on illegal immigrants in that state. Both President Obama and Attorney General Holder have criticized the legislation, with Obama saying that it “threatened to undermine basic notions of fairness,” and the Justice Department is rumored to be considering a suit to block the legislation from taking effect. According to the report in the Post, a key legal ground being considered is the doctrine of “preemption” — arguing that the state’s law illegally intrudes on immigration enforcement, which is a federal responsibility.

I’m not a lawyer, so I don’t presume to know whether a lawsuit by the U.S. Department of Justice on the principle of preemption would have any merit, but it would certainly be interesting to see how such a lawsuit would play out in the courts.


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3 thoughts on “Feds to sue Arizona over SB 1070?

  1. Normally I’d read the law for myself and I started with this one – but a big project with a tight deadline means I just don’t have time. I’ve heard so much conflicting things about what the law actually says. One thing in particular is the issue of primary vs. secondary enforcement (like seatbelt laws often are). I’ve heard it said that law enforcement can only ask for ID/proof of citizenship if they’ve already pulled someone over for another reason. I’ve also heard just the opposite – that they can pull a vehicle over for mere suspicion of the people inside being illegal. Can anyone comment on this – I don’t give a damn what Maddow, Olberman, Limbaugh, Hannity, etc say. Either someone or some site with true credibility or what you have actually read of the law yourself.

  2. Yes this is an interesting predicament. I wonder when before and how often the federal government has sued a state. I think I remember the reverse in that CA tried to sue the feds for unfunded mandates (I believe the case was thrown out). It is interesting the federal defense would be to argue “that the state’s law illegally intrudes on immigration enforcement, which is a federal responsibility.” Maybe AZ could counter-sue on the fact that the federal government has neglected its responsibility.

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