Ruling Striking Down AZ Immigration Law Seen Vulnerable


The Supreme Court, where the legal controversy over Arizona’s immigration law is likely to be resolved, has taken a dim view of judges’ striking down state laws based on broad challenges to laws that have not taken effect, says the Tribune Washington Bureau. U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton agreed Wednesday with the Obama administration that much of the Arizona law was unconstitutional “on its face,” without waiting for evidence that individuals were hurt or had their rights violated by state officials.

Bolton read the Arizona law broadly to apply to “all arrestees” in the state, not just those for whom there is a “reasonable suspicion” they are in the country illegally, as the state’s lawyers interpreted the law. Relying on her understanding of the law’s scope, Bolton said it was unconstitutional because legal immigrants and U.S. citizens “will necessarily be swept up” by it. Some legal experts say the judge’s approach leaves her ruling vulnerable to being reversed on appeal. “She rejected the state’s own interpretation of its statute, which is fundamental error in my view,” said law Prof. John Eastman of Chapman University School of Law in California. “And she struck it down on a facial challenge, which is another significant error.”

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