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Arizona Immigration Law SB 1070 Still in Legal Limbo

Today’s video from David Michael Cantor, a Phoenix DUI Defense Lawyer, is about the infamous Immigration Bill known as SB 1070. This bill was set to go into effect this month, April of 2011, but has been held up in Federal Court on Appeal after U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton halted key provisions of the bill in Nov 2010. At this time it is not clear when the Appeal will be heard and decided on leaving the controversial bill in limbo.

In April of 2010 Governor Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 into law and became an immediate lightning rod for the debate concerning Illegal Immigration. Many people felt that this law was unconstitutional as it required the police to ask for identification from anyone they suspected to be an illegal immigrant. The people who felt this way include the President of the United States, Brack Obama, and his administration filed a suit against the bill.

A new wrinkle in the debate is Arizona Senator Russel Pearce’s request to be added to the lawsuit so that he can make his voice heard. Pearce is the author of SB 1070 and feels he can best describe the bill’s intent. He cites a new Arizona law that was passed this year which would allow him to be added to this type of lawsuit. Others point out that this action would be unprecidented in legal history.

What do you think about SB 1070? Is it a good law? Should Russel Pearce be added to the lawsuit simply because the Arizona legislature passed a law saying its okay?

Here is more from the Arizona Republic:

The future of Arizona’s controversial Senate Bill 1070 will remain in limbo until the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issues a ruling, a federal judge decided Friday.

And there’s no telling when that will be.

The court heard arguments on Nov. 1 regarding U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton’s decision to halt most of the key provisions of SB 1070 from going into effect. The immigration bill was signed into law last April.

Bolton said Friday that she had been waiting to move forward with a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice, which challenges the law’s constitutionality, until there was a ruling on her injunction. It now has been five months, she said.

“I had anticipated that we would have had a decision. I was betting for February, and now, March has come and gone,” Bolton said, adding that she gets no advance notice on when a ruling might come.

Bolton said that she was reluctant to continue to wait but that she and attorneys representing the federal government on one side and the state and Gov. Jan Brewer on the other agreed that they couldn’t move forward with the underlying case until they had an appeals-court decision.

Bolton said once a ruling does come down, the two sides will have 30 days to let her know whether they will appeal again, which could take the case as high as the U.S. Supreme Court.

But there are some things that will happen while they continue to wait.

Bolton said they will move forward with a countersuit that Brewer filed in February alleging that the federal government has failed to secure the border.

Varu Chilakamarri of the Justice Department said it will file a motion to dismiss the countersuit within the next couple of weeks.

Bolton also will make a decision on a request by Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce, author of SB 1070, to join the lawsuit as a defendant. She had initially denied Pearce’s request, but the Legislature passed a measure earlier this year authorizing Pearce and Speaker of the House Kirk Adams to intervene on behalf of the Legislature.

Brewer supports Pearce’s request; the Justice Department opposes it. On Friday, Bolton heard arguments from all the involved parties.

Pearce said he needs a seat at the table because he can best explain the intent of the Legislature in writing and passing SB 1070.

“I think we would enhance the debate,” he said. “This impacts the entire nation, and we need to be at the table.”

Attorney Paul Orfanedes of Judicial Watch, a conservative non-profit, is representing Pearce at no cost to the state.

Orfanedes admitted to Bolton that it is unprecedented for a legislature to ask to join a lawsuit in which state or gubernatorial attorneys are already defending a state law. But, he said, passing a law saying that the state wants the legislature to be represented in such a case also has never happened.

“This is the Legislature’s baby,” he said. “It knows this very controversial legislation better than anybody else.”

Chilakamarri said it would be unwarranted and unprecedented for Bolton to allow Pearce to intervene just because the state passed a law saying he could.

Bolton said she will rule on the matter later. She said she is concerned that adding another party to the case would mean more lawyers, more documents filed and more time.

“You are really not offering me anything that says the interests of the state Legislature are not being adequately represented,” she told Orfanedes.

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