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Supreme Court May Not End SB 1070 Legal Fight

June 12, 2012

PHOENIX - The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule any day now on the federal lawsuit challenging Arizona's controversial SB 1070 immigration law. Legal observers believe the court is more likely than not to uphold the law. But plaintiffs in another lawsuit say the legal battle will still be far from over.

The executive director of the ACLU of Arizona, Alessandra Soler, says the high court is only concerned with one issue.

"The Supreme Court is looking at the very narrow question of whether or not the states have the authority under the Constitution to implement their own immigration laws. It's very narrow. It only addresses this constitutional question about pre-emption."

In their separate lawsuit, a coalition involving the ACLU, the National Immigration Law Center and the Mexican-American Legal Defense Fund is challenging several specific provisions of Arizona's SB 1070.

Soler says the coalition lawsuit is much broader than the federal lawsuit and represents 24 individual plaintiffs.

"Our lawsuit includes racial-profiling claims. It includes claims that the law violates people's Fourth Amendment rights by giving police the ability to detain people unlawfully, and then it also includes First Amendment claims relating to day laborers."

Soler says the coalition lawsuit is in a sort of "legal limbo," awaiting the Supreme Court's decision.

"There was a hearing last week before Judge Bolton, the same judge in the federal case, where we asked for class-action certification in our lawsuit; it includes U.S. citizens who have been asked for their papers over the last couple of years."

Soler says the coalition lawsuit could be dropped if the Supreme Court strikes down the Arizona law, but only if it does so in a permanent fashion.



Doug Ramsey, Public News Service - AZ