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Arizona Lawsuit May Head To The Supreme Court

Laura Cueva |
July 7, 2010 | 5:55 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

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Creative Commons
The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Arizona’s tough new immigration law in hopes of keeping it from taking effect later this month.

While opponents of the law, which allows police to question detained suspects on their immigration status, say it encourages racial profiling, the Obama administration’s challenge is based on the constitution’s “supremacy clause,” which states that when federal and state laws conflict, the federal law is supreme.

Anything relating to foreign policy or relations with other countries is handled by the federal government and, according to the Justice Department, Arizona’s law will interfere with a federal function.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said the law was designed “to complement, not supplant, enforcement of federal immigration laws” and added Tuesday that “the filing is nothing more than a massive waste of taxpayer funds.”

The Department of Justice released a brief, which clearly indicated its disapproval of the state law.

"In our constitutional system, the power to regulate immigration is exclusively vested in the federal government,” the brief stated. “The immigration framework set forth by Congress and administered by federal agencies reflects a careful and considered balance of national law enforcement, foreign relations, and humanitarian concerns – concerns that belong to the nation as a whole, not a single state."

Reports indicate a federal judge could take the issue up as soon as next week.

Experts say the lawsuit will first head to a district court in Arizona, where it is likely to be sent to the circuit court of appeals. From there, it may head all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.


Reach reporter Laura Cueva here.



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