Judicial Watch • Arizona State Legislature Seeks to Intervene in Federal Lawsuit to Defend AZ Immigration Law

Arizona State Legislature Seeks to Intervene in Federal Lawsuit to Defend AZ Immigration Law

Arizona State Legislature Seeks to Intervene in Federal Lawsuit to Defend AZ Immigration Law

FEBRUARY 15, 2011

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.

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