Thursday, July 29, 2010

Arizona SB1070 Blocked By Judge Bolton

The much anticipated decision by Judge Susan Bolton yesterday on the Arizona legislation dealing with illegal immigration brought forward an important question: Why hasn't President Obama visited the Arizona border? He has an open invitation to go there with Governor Brewer to see up close the problems that brought about this legislation.

U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton issued a temporary injunction against SB1070, the Arizona legislation set to be new law today dealing with the thorny issue of illegal immigration. The interesting chatter of activist judges entered the public discourse by those for and against her ruling.

From the website Judgepedia: On the recommendation of U.S. Senator Jon Kyl, Bolton was nominated to the United States District Court for the District of Arizona by President Bill Clinton on July 21, 2000 to a seat vacated by Robert Broomfield. Bolton was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on October 3, 2000 on the unanimous consent of the Senate and received commission on October 13, 2000

Those who agree with her decision call her a conservative judge. The fact that Arizona Senator Jon Kyl recommended that former President Clinton name Bolton to the bench is the reasoning that she is a conservative. The fallacy of that train of thought is that the members of the other party are often consulted when a President makes a decision on a judge opening to fill and that member chooses someone believed to be the best of the choices given. It would be safe to assume Clinton did not present any names that a Republican would have had on the list. In this case, Kyl would have thought Bolton was the best of the choices available. So, is she a conservative judge? Probably not.

Those who supported SB1070 no doubt believe this is another case of judicial activism.

So, what was the ruling? Judge Bolton stopped the major pieces of the legislation. She blocks the requirement that law enforcement determine immigration status when a person is stopped under suspicion of breaking the law. This was the heart of the law. This doesn't mean an officer cannot ask for proof of legal status, it only means if the person isn't carrying the proof then that person cannot be arrested for illegally being in Arizona. Bolton states this is a federal issue.

The ruling struck down the provision that it is a crime for an illegal immigrant to seek work. It does allow prosecution of employers hiring illegal immigrants - specifically those who scout commonly used areas where illegal immigrants congregate and wait for those needing workers to come by.

Judge Bolton agrees something must be done. She is concerned, however, that law enforcement will have too great a burden by directing them to check immigration status if they suspect a person is here illegally. She is concerned abuses will occur and lawsuits will be plentiful. Arizona can maintain it is illegal for a city to be a sanctuary city. Arizona can maintain it is illegal to pick up workers at locations they frequent as illegal immigrants waiting for work opportunities. It keeps in place that it is unlawful to transport human beings into the country illegally. Those are statements we can all agree on in this debate.

This goes on to the 9th Circuit now as the appeals are filed. The 9th Circuit, in San Francisco, is known as the most liberal in the country. It is also the most overturned by the Supreme Court. And, rest assured, this will go all the way at the Supreme Court.

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