Arizona Governor Jan Brewer announced May 9, 2011, the state will ask the Supreme Court to overturn the lower court ruling placing a hold on the more controversial parts of the immigration bill their state passed in April, 2010.
The controversial SB 1070 that Governor Brewer signed was supported by 70% of Arizona residents including 41% of Hispanics. The increasing border violence and the shooting of an Arizona rancher, Bob Krentz on March 27, on his ranch in southeastern Arizona had intensified the debate and anger and provided a new focus to solve the issue. It is believed an illegal immigrant was responsible for his death.
President Obama called the strict immigration bill passed in Arizona as ‘misguided,’ and a potential violation of civil rights. He asked the Justice Department to review this legislation to see if it is legal since immigration enforcement is a federal responsibility.
The prevailing feeling in Arizona was the federal government had abdicated that responsibility. SB1070 was very carefully crafted to mirror federal law, not violate or supersede the law.
The lawsuit was filed, charging the state with interfering with the federal responsibility of border protection and enforcement of immigration laws. With the use of inflammatory rhetoric, charging the potential of racial profiling, discrimination and violation of civil rights, the language of the suit brought against Arizona mentions none of these three.
Analysts suggest there is no language in the bill that would allow the government to bring suit over these three issues. Therefore the only course possible was to fall back on states rights vs. federal law as the basis for the filing.
U. S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton issued a preliminary injunction on SB 1070, but did not strike down all parts of the law. Judge Bolton blocked the requirement that law enforcement officers verify immigration status as a part of lawful stops; the creation of a requirement that aliens carry papers identifying their status; the creation of a crime if aliens seek or perform work; and the authorization of a warrantless arrest in the case of probable cause.
However, she chose not to enjoin the Obama administration argument that ‘the power to regulate immigration is vested exclusively in the federal government, and that the provisions of S. B. 1070 are therefore preempted by law.’
On Monday, April 11th, a 3-judge panel of the 9thCircuit Court of Appeals upheld Judge Susan Bolton’s preliminary injunction in the case of the Justice Department suit against Arizona SB 1070. As she has always vowed she would, Governor Brewer will now take the appeal to the Supreme Court.