Gov. Jan Brewer is asking a federal judge to allow her countersuit against the federal government in the SB1070 lawsuit to move forward over the objections of the U.S. Department of Justice.
Brewer’s attorneys yesterday filed response to the feds’ motion to dismiss in their countersuit against the federal government. In the filing, attorneys for the state argued against the feds’ claims that the countersuit should be dismissed because the court had already heard the issues and that Brewer and Attorney General Tom Horne sought judicial action on a political question.
In DOJ’s motion to dismiss in April, the federal government said the countersuit should be dismissed because the courts are barred from ruling on political questions. But the state’s attorneys argued that the feds effectively ceded that legal ground when the sued Arizona to block SB1070, Arizona’s landmark illegal immigration law.
“By… filing suit to enjoin S.B. 1070, the Government has waived any claim that the issue is nonjusticiable,” wrote attorney Michael Tryon, of the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.
The federal government precluded solution to the illegal immigration problems plaguing Arizona through 14 years of inaction, Tryon wrote. A favorable ruling, he wrote, would force the government to increase enforcement along Arizona’s border with Mexico.
“Although the border fence and increased enforcement may not completely eliminate illegal immigration, the reduction would provide a significant step toward reducing the damage to Arizona trust land, relieve residents from danger and fear, and replenish at least some of the resources diverted to compensate for the Government’s inaction,” Tryon wrote.
The state also disputed the feds’ claims that the case must be dismissed under a legal doctrine that prevents the courts from rehearing issues that it has already ruled on. In its motion to dismiss, the DOJ said the court already ruled on similar issues in a 1994 lawsuit that Arizona filed against the federal government. The state’s attorneys argued that circumstances have changed enough that the court wouldn’t simply be rehashing old issues.
“The (federal) government successfully resisted that (1994) suit on the basis that the issue was not one for the courts to decide but one that had to be resolved in the political arena,” the filing read. “Since Arizona filed its complaint in 1994, however, Congress has enacted various laws designed to address these problems, but the government has failed to enforce them, which has only increased the severity of the illegal immigration problems.”