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Judicial Watch, former Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce and State Legislators for Legal Immigration Ask Court to Reverse Appellate Court Ruling Placing Key Provisions on Hold

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and fights government corruption, announced today that it has filed two separate amicus curiae briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of SB 1070, also known as the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act.  On April 11, 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld an injunction against enforcement of some of the law’s provisions per the request of the Obama administration, prompting the State of Arizona to petition the High Court (State of Arizona et al., v. The United States of America). The Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments in the SB 1070 case for April 25, 2012, the Court’s last day of hearings for the current term.

Judicial Watch filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of former Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce, author of SB 1070, and a separate brief on behalf of State Legislators for Legal Immigration (SLLI).  The amicus brief on behalf of SLLI was joined by 29 legislators from 20 states. In both briefs, Judicial Watch argues that SB 1070 utilizes the state of Arizona’s well-established police powers and is therefore not pre-empted by federal law as the Obama administration maintains. Judicial Watch asks the Supreme Court to reverse the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling placing key provisions of SB 1070 on hold:

“S.B. 1070 does not regulate immigration or naturalization. It does not control who may enter the United States or the conditions under which lawfully present aliens may remain in the United States or become naturalized citizens. Nor does it purport to define any alien’s legal status or deport unlawfully present aliens from the United States. It merely authorizes and directs Arizona’s state and local law enforcement officers to communicate and cooperate with federal officials regarding the enforcement of federal immigration law and creates disincentives for unlawfully present aliens who do not comply with federal law to enter or remain in Arizona,” Judicial Watch argued in its brief filed on behalf of the State Legislators for Legal Immigration. “Therefore, this Court should reverse the Ninth Circuit’s decision and hold that S.B. 1070 is not preempted by federal law.”

With its brief filed on behalf of former Arizona State Senator Pearce, Judicial Watch maintains the four provisions put on hold by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, should be reinstated because they would “significantly assist Arizona’s effort to protect its citizens from the adverse effects of illegal immigration.”  Specifically, these provisions:

  • Provide additional guidance to Arizona law enforcement officers as to how to interact with individuals who may not be lawfully present.
  • Invoke ordinary state police powers to create state criminal penalties for the failure to comply with federal law.
  • Utilize Arizona’s broad authority to regulate employment under its police powers to protect its economy and lawfully resident labor force from the harmful effects resulting from the employment of unlawfully present aliens.
  • Re-emphasize Arizona law enforcement officers’ pre-existing warrantless arrest authority by authorizing a warrantless arrest of an individual who has already been determined to have committed a public offense that makes that person removable.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 into law on April 23, 2010. On July 6, 2010, the Obama Justice Department filed a lawsuit challenging the law and requested a preliminary injunction to prevent the law from being enforced (USA v. The State of Arizona, et al., No. 10-1413). On July 28, 2010, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton allowed key 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. On April 11, 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the lower court’s injunction, prompting the State of Arizona to petition the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The Obama administration’s hostility to enforcing federal immigration law is dangerous and unlawful,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The Obama administration’s attacks on states that try to enforce illegal immigration laws undermine our nation’s constitutional order.  We hope the U.S. Supreme Court affirms the right of the state of Arizona, and other states across America, to protect citizens from the scourge of rampant illegal immigration. SB 1070 is lawful and should be upheld in its entirety.”

Judicial Watch Files Amicus Brief on Behalf of Arizona State Legislature in Support of State of Arizona Supreme Court Petition

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Washington, DC — September 15, 2011

 

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of the Arizona State Legislature, supporting Arizona’s petition to the Supreme Court to review the Obama administration’s lawsuit against SB 1070, Arizona’s illegal immigration enforcement law. On April 11, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld an injunction against enforcement of some of the law’s provisions, prompting the State of Arizona’s petition. (State of Arizona and Janice K. Brewer, Governor of the State of Arizona, v. United States (No. 11-182)).
The Arizona State Legislature, which is now a defendant in the Obama administration lawsuit, argues that SB 1070 is completely consistent with federal law:

The [Arizona] Legislature invoked its well established police powers in crafting SB 1070, for the purpose of protecting the people of Arizona. Rather than welcoming the Legislature’s enactment, the United States sued Arizona.Contrary to the view of the United States, not every state action related to aliens is preempted by federal law. …Only the determination of who should or should not be admitted into the country, and the conditions under which that person may remain, is the regulation of immigration.Accordingly, the Legislature enacted SB 1070 in reliance on the principle that it had authority to utilize well-established police powers in areas touching on immigration… 

The Arizona Legislature also maintains the four provisions put on hold by the lower courts should be reinstated, as the provisions would “significantly assist Arizona’s effort to protect its citizens from the adverse effects of illegal immigration.” Specifically, these provisions:

  • Provide additional guidance to Arizona law enforcement officers as to how to interact with individuals who may not be lawfully present. [Section 2(B).]
  • Utilize ordinary state police powers to create state criminal penalties for the failure to comply with federal law. [Section 3.]
  • Invoke Arizona’s broad authority to regulate employment under its police powers to protect its economy and lawfully resident labor force from the harmful effects resulting from the employment of unlawfully present aliens. [Section 5(C)]
  • Re-emphasize Arizona law enforcement officers’ pre-existing warrantless arrest authority by authorizing a warrantless arrest of an individual who has already been determined to have committed a public offense that makes him removable. [Section 6.]

“The Arizona State Legislature had the right to pass laws to protect its citizens from the scourge of illegal immigration,” said Tom Fitton, President of Judicial Watch. “The Arizona legislature crafted SB 1070 in a manner completely consistent with federal law. The Obama Justice Department should do its job and start enforcing illegal immigration laws instead of attacking states that are lawfully attempting to deal with the problems of rampant illegal immigration. The Obama administration’s lawless approach to illegal immigration is a crisis that must be addressed. We hope the U.S. Supreme Court accepts the State of Arizona’s petition, protects the rule of law and upholds the rights of the States to protect its citizens.”“States have an inherent duty under law and the Constitution to protect their citizens from those who break our laws. I pray the Supreme Court honors states’ inherent authority and right under the police powers and supports Arizona in the protection of our state from the Obama administration, who has sided with foreign governments against our state and our citizens. The Obama administration’s attack on our state’s sovereign right to defend itself from the illegal alien invasion is unconscionable,” added Arizona State Senate President Russell Pearce. “Already, the enacted provisions of SB 1070 have helped reduce crime significantly and led to a mass exodus of illegal aliens from our state. I know President Obama needs votes from the open borders crowd and those who benefit from this invasion, and doesn’t want the immigration laws enforced. He has made that abundantly clear by his recent actions to reward those who have broken our laws. He has refused to protect American jobs and the rights of our citizens — Arizona will continue to take common sense steps to protect its own citizens and our border.”Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 into law on April 23, 2010. On July 6, 2010, the Obama Justice Department filed a lawsuit challenging the law and requested a preliminary injunction to prevent the law from being enforced (USA v. The State of Arizona, et al., No. 10-1413). On July 28, 2010, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton allowed key 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. On April 11, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s preliminary injunction.Judicial Watch filed a “Motion to Intervene,” on February 11, 2011, on behalf of the Arizona Legislature 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.” U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton granted the motion on April 5, 2011, over the objections of the Obama Justice Department. Judicial Watch also represented Arizona State Senate President Russell Pearce, the author of SB 1070, in the Obama administration’s legal action against the law.

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Washington, DC — April 6, 2011

Judicial Watch, the government watchdog group, announced today that its client, the Arizona State Legislature, has been granted permission to intervene as a defendant in the Obama Justice Department lawsuit (USA v. The State of Arizona, et al. (No. 10-1413)) challenging SB 1070, Arizona’s get-tough illegal immigration law.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed emergency legislation on February 7, 2011, authorizing the Legislature to participate in court proceedings related to the defense of SB 1070. The Legislature now joins the State of Arizona and Governor Brewer for the purpose of defending its enactment of SB 1070 in the interests of the people of Arizona. U.S. District Court Judge Susan R. Bolton allowed the intervention in an order dated April 5, 2011.Judicial Watch filed its “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.” Judge Bolton today granted the motion over the objections of the Obama Justice Department.Judicial Watch has now filed an “Answer in Intervention” with the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona on behalf of the Arizona State Legislature stating:

  • “[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.”

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 into law on April 23, 2010. 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. On July 28, 2010, U.S. District Court Judge Susan 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.“We are quite pleased that the Arizona State Legislature, which represents the people of Arizona, will be able to defend against the Obama administration’s assault on SB 1070. The Legislature has a paramount interest in seeing its law upheld. Arizona citizens have been living on the frontline in the battle against illegal immigration. The Obama administration has utterly failed in its obligation to protect Arizona citizens and secure the border. The people of Arizona are the winners today along with the Arizona State Legislature, Arizona State Senate President Russell Pearce, and Arizona House Speaker Kirk Adams,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

Judicial Watch, the government watchdog group, announced today that it has filed a “Motion to Intervene” (Case No. 10-cv-01413-SRB) on behalf of the Arizona State Legislature in the Obama Justice Department lawsuit challenging S.B. 1070, Arizona’s new get-tough illegal immigration law. On February 7, 2011, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed emergency legislation authorizing the Arizona Legislature to participate in court proceedings related to the defense of S.B. 1070.

“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,” the Arizona State Legislature argued in its “Motion to Intervene,” filed on February 11, 2011, with the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. “The Legislature…has a paramount interest in seeing that [the law’s] enactment is upheld.”

In addition to its “Motion to Intervene,” Judicial Watch also filed a “Proposed Answer in Intervention” with the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona on behalf of the Arizona legislature. The court filing counters the allegations proffered by the Obama Justice Department in its original July 6, 2010, 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.
  • “S.B. 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.”

On April 23, 2010, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed into law S.B. 1070, legislation that, among other provisions, makes it a crime to be in the State of Arizona without proper documentation. On July 6, 2010, the Obama Justice Department filed a lawsuit challenging the law and requesting a preliminary injunction preventing the law from being enforced. 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.

“The Arizona State Legislature represents the people of Arizona and is right to defend S.B. 1070 against the Obama administration’s legal assault. 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,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

ACLU Rep to DOJ Official: “Yes, a real pleasure to be on the same side.”

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Washington, DC — January 27, 2011Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, today announced that it has received documents from the Department of Justice (DOJ) that show DOJ worked hand-in-hand with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in mounting their respective legal challenges to SB 1070, Arizona’s get-tough illegal immigration law. The documents, obtained by Judicial Watch pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed on June 17, 2010, include email exchanges between DOJ officials and ACLU staff.Included among the documents obtained by Judicial Watch is a July 27, 2010, email exchange between Lucas Guttentag, leader of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project and the DOJ’s Edwin Kneedler, Deputy Solicitor General:

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.
Lucas2:40 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.
Ed6:14 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

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

Josh
…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,
Lucas

Wilkenfeld sent the transcript later that day.On May 17, 2010, a coalition of “civil rights groups,” including the ACLU, filed a class action lawsuit against Arizona over SB 1070. According to the ACLU’s press release announcing the lawsuit, this coalition included: “…the ACLU, MALDEF, National Immigration Law Center (NILC), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), ACLU of Arizona, National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) — a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice.”On July 6, 2010, the Obama DOJ filed a lawsuit of its own, which has been described by Congressman Peter King (R-NY) as a “cut and paste” version of the ACLU lawsuit.“It is one thing to share the ACLU’s disrespect for the rule of law but it is quite another to collude with the organization on a prosecutorial strategy against the State of Arizona. Frankly, these new documents show it is hard to tell where the ACLU ends and the Justice Department begins,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The Obama Justice Department is supposed to be an independent, nonpartisan law enforcement agency. Many Americans will be disturbed, though maybe not surprised, to find that Eric Holder’s Justice Department 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 Russell Pearce, author of SB 1070, in the Obama administration’s lawsuit challenging the Arizona law.)

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