Countdown to SB 1070: Hearing on New AZ Immigration Law Begins

The lawsuit filed by the United States Department of Justice challenging Arizona's new immigration laws SB 1070 is finally getting it's day in court. The first hearing was held last Thursday, just a week before the new laws are set to go into effect.

The Justice Department's case was the third lawsuit challenging the new SB 1070 heard by Judge Susan Bolton, a democratic appointee. So far, seven lawsuits total have been filed by both individuals and non-profit organizations like MALDEF and the American Civil Liberties Union. SB 1070, which gives police the power to question anyone they have "reasonable suspicion" to believe are illegal immigrants, was immediately condemned by President Obama when Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed them into law in April.

Obama's Justice Department is seeking an injunction to bar the law from going into effect on July 29th. Judge Bolton hinted as to her thought process when she asked Deputy Solicitor General Edwin S. Kneedler, "How is there a preemption issue?" referring to his statement that the Constitution gives the federal government exclusive authority to enforce immigration law. "I understand there may be other issues," Bolton conceded. "Where is the preemption if everybody who is arrested for some crime has their immigration status checked?"

The 90-minute session ended without Bolton coming to a decision.

Read more in our special Call to Action: The Immigration Crisis Section!