Category Archives: Governor Jan Brewer

The DOJ’s suit against AZ: A BLT perspective

The DOJ’s 25-page complaint can be read here (PDF). From the BLT (Blog of the Legal Times) comes this explanation of the suit:

The lawsuit makes sweeping claims about the federal government’s power to develop immigration policy. It cites the federal government’s power under the Constitution to establish a “uniform Rule of Naturalization” — translating, it says, to the regulation of aliens within U.S. boundaries and to the terms and conditions for entry and continued presence.

With the State Department joining as a plaintiff, the lawsuit also cites the president’s authority over foreign affairs. “Immigration law, policy, and enforcement priorities are affected by and have impacts on U.S. foreign policy, and are themselves the subject of diplomatic arrangements,” it says.

Together with the complaint, the department is filing a 58-page motion (PDF) for a preliminary injunction. The law is scheduled to go into effect July 29.


The DOJ lawsuit does not seek to invalidate the entire Arizona immigration law, known as S.B. 1070. It targets sections 1 through 6 of the law (PDF), leaving alone sections about employment and the impounding of vehicles. By contrast, the complaint (PDF) filed by in May by the ACLU and others asks to have the law struck down in its entirety.

The BLT is a great resource for breaking down legal mumbo-jumbo for non-legal minded folks. I get their daily breaking newsletter.

So, Holder and Company, unlike the coalition of rights groups (ACLU,the NAACP, and the National Immigration Law Center) are not seeking to kill the entire bill….interesting. As for who is representing whom…here is the list, also from the BLT article:

To defend the state, Brewer has hired John Bouma, chairman of Snell & Wilmer in Phoeniz, because Arizona’s attorney general, Terry Goddard III (D), has removed himself.

Five DOJ lawyers have their names on the complaint: Assistant Attorney General Tony West, who heads the Civil Division; U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke; Arthur Goldberg, an assistant director in the Federal Programs Branch; and trial attorneys Varu Chilakamarri and Joshua Wilkenfeld.

Bouma is a big gun, according to his bio at Snell & Wilmer. He is also a conservationist I noticed. AZ’s Attorney General Goddard, didn’t have a whole lot of nice things to say about Governor Brewer in the AZ Central article linked above. Gov Brewer threatened to shit-can AG Goddard over this entire fiasco. Quite telling I think, don’t you?