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GOVERNOR BREWER HIRES LAW FIRM TO DEFEND HERSELF AND ESTABLISHES LEGAL DEFENSE FUND
by Debra Mullins
(Jun. 4, 2010) — To date, at least five lawsuits have been filed in Arizona challenging the constitutionality of the new immigration law on the grounds that it will lead to racial profiling, which is a civil rights violation under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. The “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act,” also referred to as SB 1070, is scheduled to go into effect on July 29, 2010. All five suits seek injunctive relief to prevent the law from taking effect on the planned date.
As previously reported at The Post and Email, the Department of Justice is also considering taking legal action against the State of Arizona.
Governor Brewer met with Mr. Obama at the White House on June 3. According to a report published by Fox News, Governor Brewer said the meeting with Obama yielded few results. Obama promised to dispatch an official to Arizona to meet with Brewer within the next month. He declined to discuss the details of the 1,200 National Guard troop deployment to the Arizona border and whether or not the Department of Justice is going to pursue a lawsuit against the state.
In a phone interview from Washington D.C. with the Arizona Republic, Brewer said, “I feel like we accomplished what we set out to do. Now, at least, we have a time frame that we can hold (the administration) accountable for.”
Obama indicated in their meeting that the “majority” of those troops and additional federal dollars will be coming to Arizona, but he did not provide specifics. He has asked Congress to allocate an additional $500,000,000 for border security and law-enforcement activities in border states.
In a written statement issued by the White House regarding the meeting, “Obama urged Gov. Brewer to be his partner in working in a bipartisan manner on comprehensive immigration reform to implement the type of smart, sensible, and effective solutions the American people expect and deserve from their federal government.”
Brewer said she told Obama she “didn’t want to talk about it until the border was secure.”
Brewer has retained the counsel of Snell & Wilmer LLC (S&W) to defend her in the four lawsuits where she is named as a defendant. The legal team comprises S&W Chairman John Bouma, Partner Joseph Adams, and Partner Robert Henry. The defense team will be paid with public monies and a special defense fund containing private donations.
Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, who is also named as a defendant in two of the five cases, commented: “I am counsel for the state, I am counsel for almost all the state boards and commissions but I am not counsel for the governor by law…In order to avoid any possibility that we might have divergent opinions about how best to enter a defense, it was probably best to start with separate counsel.”
On May 26, Governor Brewer signed an Executive Order to establish the special defense fund. Gubernatorial press aide Paul Senseman said the state began getting unsolicited checks from individuals who want Arizona to win the legal dispute playing out in federal court. The Governor’s office has received checks totaling about $10,000 from close to 300 individuals from more than 40 states.
On May 28, Governor Brewer abruptly removed State Attorney General Terry Goddard from defending the State of Arizona in the lawsuits after he met with Department of Justice officials prior to and separate from her own meeting with the DOJ and will instead use the legal team she has assembled from S&W.
In a press release, Governor Brewer in part stated:
Today the legal team I have appointed to defend the State of Arizona in the legal challenges to Arizona’s new immigration laws met with senior officials from the United States Department of Justice. The meeting was held at the request of the U.S. Department of Justice.
For some inexplicable reason, the Department of Justice officials met with the Arizona Attorney General hours before meeting with the State of Arizona’s legal team, and then allowed the Attorney General to hold a press conference to discuss the meeting. This level of coordination between the Attorney General and the Obama Administration is disturbingly similar to the coordination with Democrat Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords earlier this week on President Obama’s still unclear plan to deploy up to 1,200 National Guard troops to the border.
The Legislature gave me this authority because of its lack of confidence in the Attorney General’s willingness to vigorously defend this legislation that is so critical to protecting the safety and welfare of Arizona’s citizens.
Due to Attorney General Goddard’s curious coordination with the U.S. Department of Justice today and his consistent opposition to Arizona’s new immigration laws, I will direct my legal team to defend me and the State of Arizona rather than the Attorney General in the lawsuits challenging Arizona’s immigration laws.
The entire press release can be read here.
The office of Attorney General Terry Goddard also issued a press release on May 28, which in part stated:
Attorney General Terry Goddard today urged lawyers from the U.S. Justice Department not to file a federal lawsuit against Arizona’s new immigration law.
In a meeting at the Attorney General’s Office, Goddard told the federal government’s lawyers that Arizona “needs solutions not lawsuits.” He said that if the federal government decides to bring a lawsuit, “Arizona will fight back.”
Goddard will defend the State and himself in the lawsuits. In addition, Goddard today intervened on behalf of the State in a suit brought by a large group of plaintiffs against county officials challenging SB 1070.
Rather than bringing additional litigation, Goddard again urged the Obama Administration to implement comprehensive border reform.
The people of Arizona are deeply frustrated by the federal government’s inability to enact comprehensive immigration reform,” he said. “It is time for members of Congress to stop dithering, stop playing partisan politics and address the problem.
This is incongruent with previous statements made by Goddard. In a press release issued on April 28, Goddard stated:
As the misguided immigration bill signed by Gov. Brewer continues to generate controversy, a pair of much less publicized events in the past few days promises to have a far bigger impact on securing our border with Mexico.
The first was a press conference I joined with U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords to announce a bill she is co-sponsoring that will impose long overdue regulations on stored value devices, which are commonly used by Mexican drug cartels to transfer money across the border.
The second event was the take-down of a Mexican drug trafficking organization that has moved at least 40,000 pounds of marijuana through southern Arizona, mainly in Cochise County.
Arizona’s new immigration law will do nothing to secure our border or combat the violent criminals who cross into Arizona. Instead, it will impose unfunded mandates on law enforcement agencies; take away resources from stopping more serious crimes, and lead to costly lawsuits.
The entire press release can be read here.
The Executive Order authorizing the Legal Defense Fund can be found here. While the State of Arizona website does not appear to have posted an official address to which donations can be sent at this time, the governor’s contact information is as follows:
Office of the Governor
1700 West Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Spokesman for the Governor: Paul Senseman, 602-542-1342; firstname.lastname@example.org
On April 27, Roberto Javier Frisancho filed a complaint in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona against Governor Jan Brewer and Attorney General Terry Goddard. According to the complaint, Mr. Frisancho is a Hispanic natural born Citizen who resides in Washington D.C. Frisancho plans to visit Arizona in September to conduct research on the 1997 Chandler Round Up in which the Chandler Police Department and the Tucson Border Patrol Sector rounded up several undocumented immigrants over a five-day period. The complaint contends the new law violates the federal government’s exclusive right to enforce immigration laws and that it is a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. Frisancho also asserts that he may suffer undue injury because he may be asked for his papers based on “reasonable suspicion” that he is undocumented due to his ethnicity. A motion was filed to combine the complaint with the lawsuit filed by Phoenix police officer David Salgado (below).
On April 29, Phoenix police officer David Salgado filed a complaint in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona against Governor Brewer and the City of Phoenix. Salgado, a native-born Hispanic, alleges the new immigration law preempts federal immigration law and it violates his Fourteenth Amendment rights of equal protection under the law. He routinely interacts with individuals who “speak little or no English, and do not have any form of state or federal identification.” Officer Salgado explicitly states in his complaint that he has no intention of enforcing the Arizona law and he understands he will be subject to disciplinary action for his failure to do so.
On April 29, Tucson police officer Martin Escobar filed a complaint in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona against Governor Brewer, Attorney General Terry Goddard, and the City of Tucson on the basis that he has daily contact with Hispanics who are visiting or who are here legally and there is no racial-neutral criteria that can be applied to identify those who are unlawfully in Arizona. On May 26, the City of Tucson filed a response and cross claim to join the Escobar lawsuit. The Judge Honorable David C. Bury, a 2001 Bush appointee, will preside over the case.
On April 29, The National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders filed a class action suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona on behalf of several lawful and unlawful alien residents. Governor Brewer is named as the sole Defendant. The complaint asserts the law violates Article VI, Clause 2 of the Supremacy Clause on the premise that the new law preempts federal immigration laws and the law as written will lead to racial profiling and civil rights violations against its Plaintiffs under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and Fair Housing Act. The Honorable Judge Susan R. Bolton, a 2000 Clinton appointee, will also preside over this case.
On May 18, The American Civil Liberties Union (ALCU), The National Immigration Law Center (NILC) and The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) filed a class action complaint in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona on behalf of several Plaintiffs, including but not limited to: The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 5, The Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (AZHCC), the Asian Chamber of Commerce of Arizona, and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCWIU).
The Defendants named in the case are the County Attorney and County Sheriff representing each of Arizona’s 15 counties. The basis of the lawsuit is the contention that SB1070 mandates impermissible encroachment into an area of exclusive federal authority and will interfere or conflict with the federal immigration system. The complaint also contends that the law is unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment.
Other civil rights organizations have since joined the lawsuit: The National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), The National Day Labor Organizing Network (NDLON), and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC).
The Honorable Magistrate Judge Mark E Aspey has been assigned to preside over the case. It has been reported, however, that the attorneys representing the Plaintiffs have requested the case be transferred to Judge Susan Bolton. Judge Bolton is assigned to preside over the aforementioned Frisancho and National Coalition of Latino Clergy and Christian Leaders cases.