Arizona court decision: blah, blah, blah

bolton.jpg

Judge Bolton: Master of the Blah Blah

On such thin threads hang the decision by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton declared key parts of the Arizona immigration law unconstitutional. This is from her written opinion. If you can make sense of this, let me know.

The Court cannot interpret this provision as Arizona suggests. Before the passage of

H.B. 2162, the first sentence of Section 2(B) of the original S.B. 1070 began, "For any lawful

contact" rather than "For any lawful stop, detention or arrest." (Compare original S.B. 1070

§ 2(B) with H.B. 2162 § 3(B).) The second sentence was identical in the original version and

as modified by H.B. 2162. It is not a logical interpretation of the Arizona Legislature's intent

to state that it originally intended the first two sentences of Section 2(B) to be read as

dependent on one another. As initially written, the first sentence of Section 2(B) did not

contain the word "arrest," such that the second sentence could be read as modifying or

explicating the first sentence. In S.B. 1070 as originally enacted, the first two sentences of

Section 2(B) are clearly independent of one another. Therefore, it does not follow logically

that by changing "any lawful contact" to "any lawful stop, detention or arrest" in the first

sentence, the Arizona Legislature intended to alter the meaning of the second sentence in any way. If that had been the Legislature's intent, it could easily have modified the second

sentence accordingly.

As a result of this conclusion, the Court reads the second sentence of Section 2(B)

independently from the first sentence. The Court also concludes that the list of forms of

identification that could provide a presumption that a person is not an unlawfully present alien

applies only to the first sentence of Section 2(B) because the second sentence makes no

mention of unlawful presence: the second sentence states plainly that "[a]ny person who is

arrested" must have his or her immigration status determined before release. A presumption

against unlawful presence would not dispose of the requirement that immigration status be

checked because a legal permanent resident might have a valid Arizona driver's license, but

an inquiry would still need to be made to satisfy the requirement that the person's

"immigration status" be determined prior to release.

Comments

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  • well if you can't dazzle them with brilliance you baffle them with bullshit

  • I read the whole thing. While I might have misinterpreted "warrantless searches" for "warrantless stops," I was able to make sense of it. I also don't find much ground for appeal, given usual jurisprudence on preemption, which she lays out. Obviously, you admit you don't have legal training, and waterbill can't distinguish good legal writing from the bullshit in which bullshitters like Sam Adam Sr. and Jr. engage when they know they don't have a case, but can fool the public.

    For a brief translation:

    1. This is only for a preliminary injunction, which requires a showing of a likelihood of success on the merits. Where she granted the injunction, it sure looks like she explained how she came to her conclusion. This still requires a trial on the merits to resolve any factual issues, declare the statute unconstitutional, and enjoin the enforcement of the particular sections.

    2. The portion you quote does indicate that there is a factual issue about the interpretation of that section. That would be left for trial. However, it appears that the feds made a convincing enough demonstration, for the purpose of this motion, that the law means that everyone arrested must have their immigration status checked, regardless of whether they are suspected of being an illegal immigrant, and that puts an undue burden on federal resources. Whether it does is also a fact question to be addressed at trial.

    3. Construction of statutes and the constitution is the main thing courts do. I don't hear you complaining about Scalia's construction of the Second Amendment, even though everyone else thought that the Militia preamble was a condition of it.

    Again, by throwing this out and basically saying that you don't understand it, it basically again goes to what I say about legal reporting and people who comment on legal blogs in the Tribune, in which I have frequently said, here and there, that the Tribune does not seem to have someone with any legal training to understand these things, and is content to distribute misinformation. The Tribune has a big Weather Department headed by Tom Skilling to try to demonstrate that his soothsaying is scientifically based with all the RPM models and the like, but give someone a link to a legal opinion, and the reaction is "if you can make sense of it, let me know." I gave you the link, and I made sense of it.

    At least Fox Chicago News has Larry Yellen.

  • "FOR ANY LAWFUL CONTACT MADE BY A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL OR AGENCY
    21 OF THIS STATE OR A COUNTY, CITY, TOWN OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THIS
    22 STATE WHERE REASONABLE SUSPICION EXISTS THAT THE PERSON IS AN ALIEN WHO IS
    23 UNLAWFULLY PRESENT IN THE UNITED STATES, A REASONABLE ATTEMPT SHALL BE MADE,
    24 WHEN PRACTICABLE, TO DETERMINE THE IMMIGRATION STATUS OF THE PERSON. THE
    25 PERSON'S IMMIGRATION STATUS SHALL BE VERIFIED WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
    26 PURSUANT TO 8 UNITED STATES CODE SECTION 1373(c)."

    I don't see how that "that person" in the second sentence DOESN'T refer to the first sentence?

    Anyone else curious why this wasn't taken directly to the Supreme Court - as the constitution calls for?

  • In reply to chicagocubcake:

    That does seem to b3e a good question, in that the complaint is only against the State and the governor in her official capacity. However, the jurisdictional allegations only involve the usual sources of district court jurisdiction.

    Hence, it would seem to be one "in which a State shall be Party" for the purpose of Art. III sec. 2. One would have to then think what was going on in Holder's head. Maybe he thought that either leave to file a complaint would be denied (as in Michigan v. Illinois), or that the case would be assigned to a master and sit there a while. On the other hand, the district court doesn't have the power to decline to rule on the request for the preliminary injunction.

    As far as construction of the statute, it looks like it means what it says, but that meaning might be superfluous in that the section saying that locals must cooperate with the immigration authorities to the extent permitted by the INA was not challenged. Thus, the judge went into legislative history, which Scalia would not have done. As I mentioned above, I think that this is an issue that would have to be revisited at trial.

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