The much disputed Arizona SB 1070 goes back to court today on appeal. Federal Judge Bolton shot down several aspects of the law several months ago. The major component of the law that was blocked deals with police officers being allowed to question anyone they had have reasonable suspicious about being in the country illegally. According to the Washington Post:
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit will hear Arizona’s appeal of a lower-court ruling that blocked the most-contested provisions of the law from taking effect. The law, signed in April by Gov. Jan Brewer (R), empowers police to question people whom they have a “reasonable suspicion” of being in the country illegally.
Amid a fierce debate over the measure, the Justice Department sought to overturn the law by taking the rare step of suing Arizona. Government attorneys won the first round in July when U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton, seated in Phoenix, put on hold provisions that would require police to check immigration status if they stop someone while enforcing other laws, allow for warrantless arrests of suspected illegal immigrants and criminalize the failure of legal immigrants to carry their registration papers.
The case will be heard by a 3 judge panel. 2 judges were appointed bya Republican and 1 by a Democrat. Either Arizona or the U.S. government can appeal the panel’s decision. Should that happen the case will go to the full 9th Circuit Court. The WaPo further adds:
Brewer, whose outspoken criticism of the federal lawsuit has helped her popularity at home, has vowed to take her appeal of the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. The 9th Circuit hearing in San Francisco is the next step, and legal experts say the case likely will wind up before the high court within several years.
The lawsuit ratcheted up the political and legal debate over the nation’s estimated 12 million illegal immigrants, with Republicans condemning the administration and civil rights groups praising it for fighting a law that they contend targets Hispanics.
Talk of immigration has receded somewhat in the runup to the elections, especially compared to the economy, but it has been a key factor in a number of races. Monday’s argument, which Brewer plans to attend, will shine an even brighter light on the issue.
Perhaps all will become quiet once this election is over. Arizona has problems for sure. So does California, New Mexico and Texas. The drug violence along the border towns in Mexico continues to rage on. Our border states must be vigilant that the violence doesn’t creep or stampede into our country. However, SB 1070 isn’t the way to stop the drug violence and that is what Arizona should be worried about.
Probable cause as a police tool is always rife with problems. There are other ways, such as PWC recently found out, that are far better. And like PWC, Arizona probably doesn’t have the money to waste on endless lawsuits.