Gov. Jan Brewer asked Attorney General Terry Goddard to “step aside” in his attempt to defend the state in lawsuits filed over S1070, and threatened legal action to remove him from the case if he did not go voluntarily.
Both Brewer and Goddard filed motions in U.S. District Court on June 8 asking the judge to dismiss one of the five lawsuits filed against Arizona over the passage of S1070. But in a June 4 letter to the attorney general, Brewer said Goddard’s early opposition to S1070 should disqualify him from the case, and said he usurped her authority as governor when he filed the motion without her approval.
Click here to read the letter Gov. Brewer sent Attorney General Goddard
Brewer also noted that an amendment to S1070 grants the governor the authority to hire outside counsel to defend the bill in court, and said she would pursue “all legal remedies available” to remove him from the case.
In a press release, Brewer included a litany of comments Goddard made to media over S1070, including a statement that his opposition to the bill woud likely preclude him from defending it.
“As you have stated in the past, conflicts of interest matter,” Brewer wrote. “Therefore, I respectfully request that you step aside so my legal team can set forth the best defense possible in the immigration lawsuits currently before the federal district court.”
The letter was the latest chapter in an ongoing dispute between Brewer and Goddard – who may face each other in the general election in November – over the legal defense of the bill. Despite early opposition, Goddard met with U.S. Department of Justice attorneys in May and urged them not to sue Arizona over S1070. He also said he would mount a “vigorous defense” of the state in the suits filed against Arizona.