ACLU Files Class Action Lawsuit Challenging AZ Immigration Law

The ACLU and other civil rights groups have filed a class action lawsuit challenging Arizona's immigration law.

"Arizona's law is quintessentially un-American: we are not a 'show me your papers' country, nor one that believes in subjecting people to harassment, investigation and arrest simply because others may perceive them as foreign," said Omar Jadwat, a staff attorney with the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project. "This law violates the Constitution and interferes with federal law, and we are confident that we will prevent it from ever taking effect."

Grounds for the suit:

The lawsuit will challenge Arizona's law on the grounds that it interferes with federal authority over immigration matters, and that it invites racial profiling against people of colour in violation of equal protection guarantees enshrined in the Constitution.

More from the ACLU here. [More...]

Joining the ACLU in the lawsuit:

The coalition filing the lawsuit includes 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.

The complaint is here.

And whoever came up with this tag line did a great job: What Happens in Arizona Stops in Arizona.

Boycott Arizona!

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  • Display: Sort:
    nice to hear this good news (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by jharp on Mon May 17, 2010 at 09:09:03 PM EST
    Thanks for posting.

    making enemies (2.00 / 1) (#4)
    by diogenes on Mon May 17, 2010 at 10:24:15 PM EST
    The 60 percent who support this bill (and seventy percent who support provisions in it) will only have their support solidified by the fact that the ACLU is filing a suit.  Sort of like Al Sharpton sweeping in to file a lawsuit in an alleged racial discrimination case.  A sure way to alienate the independents.

    The ACLU defends the rights of all people, (5.00 / 5) (#5)
    by Peter G on Mon May 17, 2010 at 11:04:18 PM EST
    as guaranteed in our Constitution.  These rights, which are essential to liberty and democracy, have constitutional protection to ensure that they are not subject to the whims of temporary majorities.  Fortunately, despite the efforts of the some of the privileged and powerful to denigrate and besmirch its critical efforts, the ACLU enjoys the support of enough members (about 500,000) to have continued its work for 90 years. Neither the ACLU nor the rights it defends depend upon being popular.  

    My apologies for a key omission (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Peter G on Tue May 18, 2010 at 11:09:05 AM EST
    When I referred to denigration of the ACLU as coming from "the privileged and powerful," I should have written, "the privileged, the powerful, the ignorant, and the short-sighted."  (Along with a few who are simply cynical, disingenuous, or dishonest.)  By these strong words, I don't mean to suggest that there can't be, or aren't, honest disagreements about the nature and extent of the civil liberties principles imbedded in our Constitution.  Most genuine civil libertarians disagree, at one time or another, with some position or other taken by the ACLU (myself included).  I am talking only about attacks on the ACLU that just completely miss the point of the nature of fundamental rights and in particular the importance of defending those rights precisely at the times, and in the contexts, when they are unpopular.)

    ACLU provocateurs (none / 0) (#15)
    by diogenes on Tue May 18, 2010 at 08:13:58 PM EST
    The ACLU takes many positions designed to provoke the establishment, in the manner of a smart-aleck rebelleous 1960's teenager grown up.  It raises way too many cases of the "I don't have to say 'Under God' in the pledge" or "you can't have a creche in a public park" variety; such cases do not promote freedom but simply let the ACLU leaders poke a finger in people's eyes and laugh.  The ACLU is not well-liked by the majority.  

    As I predicted (none / 0) (#1)
    by Saul on Mon May 17, 2010 at 08:07:10 PM EST
    the day it was initiated.  It will never see the light of day.

    Just a tool (none / 0) (#6)
    by mmc9431 on Tue May 18, 2010 at 05:54:24 AM EST
    I don't think it was ever intended to see the light of day. It was implemented as a campaign strategy by a party that has no credibility left.

    After two disastrous wars and bringing the country to the brink of depression, Republicans only weapon left in their play book is fear and hate.

    Abortion, gay rights and gun control just don't have the same clout for them. They need a new bogey man.  


    Disagree (none / 0) (#10)
    by squeaky on Tue May 18, 2010 at 11:39:55 AM EST
    The movement that keeps Sheriff Joe Arpaio comfortably in power, was/is certain that the law will stand. Hard to believe, I know, but I really do not think that this business is anything close to a head fake, it is the real thing.

    Good argument? (none / 0) (#3)
    by abdiel on Mon May 17, 2010 at 09:15:31 PM EST
    Do you think the Suit is more likely to prevail on federal grounds or on racial profiling grounds? Or at all?

    Personally, I think the ACLU is taking a very contradictory position. You can't say immigration is a federal matter, but that the government can't or shouldn't ask anyone for proof of their visas or green card.

    Given the AZ law includes (none / 0) (#8)
    by oculus on Tue May 18, 2010 at 11:31:26 AM EST
    criminal prosecution of employers who hire "aliens," it surprises me this bill ever got the necessary votes to pass.

    Employers have an easy way out (none / 0) (#16)
    by Jack E Lope on Tue May 18, 2010 at 10:03:04 PM EST
    If you read the law, the portion that is most-plainly worded is the part where it spells out affirmative defenses for employers.  

    I don't think those affirmative defenses are based on Federal laws.


    Surprising La Raza is not a (none / 0) (#9)
    by oculus on Tue May 18, 2010 at 11:32:02 AM EST

    A possible interesting twist (none / 0) (#11)
    by jbindc on Tue May 18, 2010 at 12:18:34 PM EST
    From today's WaPo:

    In the legal battle over Arizona's new immigration law, an ironic subtext has emerged: whether a Bush-era legal opinion complicates a potential Obama administration lawsuit against Arizona.

    The document, written in 2002 by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, concluded that state police officers have "inherent power" to arrest undocumented immigrants for violating federal law. It was issued by Jay S. Bybee, who also helped write controversial memos from the same era that sanctioned harsh interrogation of terrorism suspects.

    The author of the Arizona law -- which has drawn strong opposition from top Obama administration officials -- has cited the authority granted in the 2002 memo as a basis for the legislation. The Obama administration has not withdrawn the memo, and some backers of the Arizona law said Monday that because it remains in place, a Justice Department lawsuit against Arizona would be awkward at best.

    "The Justice Department's official position as of now is that local law enforcement has the inherent authority to enforce federal immigration law," said Robert Driscoll, a former Justice Department Civil Rights Division official in the George W. Bush administration who represents an Arizona sheriff known for aggressive immigration enforcement. "How can you blame someone for exercising authority that the department says they have?"

    Interesting "read" on AZ law: (none / 0) (#12)
    by oculus on Tue May 18, 2010 at 01:01:49 PM EST
    Michigan Law Review

    Writer addresses portion of the law which takes away local law enforcement entity discretion.

    Racial Profiling? (none / 0) (#13)
    by DaveCal on Tue May 18, 2010 at 05:54:45 PM EST
    How does a law that expressly prohibits racial profiling "invite[] racial profiling?"

    Dunno? (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by squeaky on Tue May 18, 2010 at 06:19:51 PM EST
    But Sheriff Joe Arpaio probably can tell you how to racially profile and get away with it in spades..