DENVER - The U.S. Supreme Court must reverse a ruling by a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals that an Arizona law adopted to address the impacts of illegal immigration is unconstitutional, a nonprofit, public-interest legal foundation argued Feb. 9 (United States v. State of Arizona, No. 16645, 9thCir.).
Mountain States Legal Foundation (MSLF), in a friend of the court brief, urged the court to reverse the April 2011 ruling, which, by 2-1, upheld an earlier Arizona federal court's decision that portions of S.B. 1070 are unconstitutional. Earlier, MSLF had urged the Supreme Court to review the ruling, which came in a lawsuit by the Obama Administration that followed similar lawsuits by the ACLU, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the NAACP, and others. In July 2010, the Arizona court agreed with federal lawyers that the Arizona law conflicts with federal law and was preempted. MSLF also supported Arizona at the Ninth Circuit.
"Because Arizona's law is rooted in a State's traditional police powers, it is entitled to a presumption that Congress did not intend to preempt it," said William Perry Pendley, MSLF president. "In addition, the Ninth's Circuit's misuse of 'obstacle preemption' shows that concept should be abandoned."
On April 23, 2010, Arizona Gov. Janice K. Brewer signed Arizona S.B. 1070 into law. Arizona House Bill 2162 made additional changes to S.B. 1070 and was signed by Gov. Brewer on April 30, 2010. The intent of S.B. 1070 is, through "cooperative enforcement of federal immigration laws" "to make attrition through enforcement the public policy of all state and local government agencies in Arizona" and "to discourage and deter the unlawful entry and presence of aliens and economic activity by persons unlawfully present in the United States."
After passage of S.B. 1070, seven lawsuits were filed challenging its constitutionality. The lawsuit filed on July 6, 2010, by the United States seeks a declaration that some provisions of S.B. 1070 are unconstitutional because they are preempted by federal law. Concurrently, the United States filed a motion for preliminary injunction seeking to enjoin all those provisions until the district court could issue a final decision on the merits.
On July 28, 2010, the district court granted the United States' motion, in part, and preliminarily enjoined various provisions of S.B. 1070. On July 29, 2010, Arizona and Gov. Brewer appealed to the Ninth Circuit. Oral arguments were conducted on Nov. 1, 2010, and, on April 11, 2011, the three-judge panel ruled against Arizona. On Aug. 10, 2011, Arizona and Gov. Brewer sought Supreme Court review.
MSLF, founded in 1977, is a nonprofit, public-interest legal foundation dedicated to individual liberty, the right to own and use property, limited and ethical government and the free enterprise system. Its offices are in suburban Denver.
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