July 28th, 2010
02:09 PM ET

Toobin: What does Arizona immigration ruling mean?

A federal judge has granted an injunction blocking enforcement of parts of a controversial immigration law in Arizona that is scheduled to go into effect Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton ruled the federal government "is likely to succeed" in its challenge of the legality of one of the most controversial sections of the Arizona law. That provision required police to "make a reasonable attempt to determine the immigration status of a person stopped, detained or arrested" if the officer has a reasonable suspicion that the person is in the United States illegally.

Jeffrey Toobin, CNN's senior legal analyst, spoke with T.J. Holmes on "CNN Newsroom" and offered his immediate reaction to the ruling and what it could mean for Arizona and other states.

What exactly did the judge rule?

The judge ruled that certain provisions are unconstitutional, but parts of the law she approved. The most controversial of which is the duty forced on law enforcement officers to determine if immigrants are people reasonably suspected of being illegal are in fact illegal. That has been struck down temporarily.

The judge said this the requirement of law enforcement officials to essentially make all possibly illegal immigrants show their papers is a violation of the separation of powers, a violation of federal sovereignty and federal control of immigration matters.

That argument was the one maintained by the Obama administration. Many civil rights groups argued it was simply discriminatory towards Hispanics.

The judge struck down the law on the ground that it was a violation of the federal control of immigration matters. That's why the controversial provision at least for the time being will not go into effect.

So what happens now?

Some of it will have to do with the legal strategy followed by the state of Arizona here. The state of Arizona could ask the judge to revisit the issue after more fact-finding. They could also go directly to the Court of Appeals which is the next up in the federal court structure.

I think this is a case very much destined for United States Supreme Court. It is the kind of big issue relating to the responsibilities of state versus federal government on a very important matter, so it's likely, given how much attention this law received that other states will be passing similar laws. I think the Supreme Court will get involved probably next year. The issue that's up in the air is will the law be in effect while the appeals process goes forward? At the moment the answer is no at least this one provision. But certainly an appeals process will begin. If not immediately, then soon.


Filed under: Arizona • Immigration
soundoff (306 Responses)
  1. AngelofMercy

    I think i'm gonna vote for Bolton. I never vote for judges but I like her.

    July 28, 2010 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. LadyinCO

    It sucks....this pretty much tells all the people who have been patiently waiting in line for years that they're suckers for not just breaking in. It also conveys a message to many disenchanted Americans that sadly they are going to have to take the law into their own hands if the government refuses to intervene. A slippery slope all for the sake of more votes. Very shameful.

    What in ILLEGAL doesn't the Federal Government understand?

    July 28, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mike

    Let's get this straight: Arizona which is flat broke is going to waste millions of its citizens tax money appealing and appealing higher and higher courts? Er, Arizona can't afford it.

    July 28, 2010 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  4. BradinOC

    Wow, some of you seriously need to go back to school to learn grammar. Its almost like English is your 2nd language.

    July 28, 2010 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Consultofactus

    This ruling is a disater for the democrats! With 98 days until the elections Republicans want to keep the heat on the democrat party and Obama. This ruling helps put the immigration onus back where it belongs – Washington.
    One thing the left was no doubt counting on BIG TIME was staging some contrived videos of illegals getting the Rodney King treatment – all under supposedly due to the new Arizona law coming into effect. I’m sure that leftmedia will still have a similar “October surprise” in the planning – but unless the appeals process is unusually fast, there won’t be much time before the November election to hatch their plot. The immigration focus now reverts totally to the near total failure of the Obama administration doing anything about the border. This serves to super-charge the Conservative and Tea Party movement while denying the left countless sob stories about the heartless state of Arizona and the evil Republicans – not that they won’t try to do that anyhow, it will just be much more difficult.

    July 28, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  6. KAREN

    NORTH KOREA – COMMUNIST
    IRAN, AFGHAN & SAUDI ARABIA = TALIBAN
    CHINA – COMMUNIST
    VENEZUEAL – DICTATOR
    MEXICO the only democracy
    CUBA – COMMUNIST by the way AN ISLAND – NO BORDERS
    This is what you want for USA?

    July 28, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ME In AZ

    I am Hispanic and have lived in AZ for 10 years and paid taxes there for the last five years even though I am on an assignment overseas. I have sold my home in AZ and moved to FL (no state taxes). if AZ doesn't want me, then I don't want them. Why should everytime I or some one in my family leaves the house, should we dread being harrassed because we are not blonde and have blue eyes. With our departure AZ has lost 10K in taxes per year.

    July 28, 2010 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leilani in AZ

      ME in AZ – "some one in my family leaves the house, should we dread being harrassed" – not if you aren't breaking the law! if you honestly lived here you'd know that. i am a minority – Hawaiian. brown skinned. mistaken for hispanic and native american all the time here in the southwest – i have my ID so i'm fine being stopped. notice i said stopped. not harrassed. how is being asked to prove your ID/citizenship equal "harassment"? if you aren't doing anything wrong then you have nothing to worry about. quit crying about racism and realize in this country there are laws to be enforced and followed.

      July 28, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Harassed Really

      If you don't like being "harassed" as you put it, you should do two things: 1. Read the Arizona law, especially the part where it says officers are only allowed to stop you if you commit another crime. 2. Stop breaking the law. There, I just saved you from the "harassment".

      July 29, 2010 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  8. Cheney

    Cede Arizona to Mexico and have all the racists imprisoned there. All problems solved for everyone! Give 'em Texas, too, while we're at it.

    July 28, 2010 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Nick2

    This is the part of the American judicial system that I find uniquely laudable. With all of its procedural rules, and controversy – it is openly aired, and a judge, or (judges if it moves higher) are required to make decisions which will make history. Why is this important? Because the stakes are so high both for the plaintiff and defendant, but also for the judge. It makes it as close as human artifice can deliver, likely to be a justifiable, reasonable and fair decision.

    July 28, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Rob

    Well, goodbye House and Senate, democrats. You lost control of both houses in the November 2010 elections today and probably the White House as well in 2012. According to supporters of this bill, we should let the federal government continue the same do nothing job with immigration that they've been doing or simply do away with immigration altogether and open our borders wide to the world for any and all to come and go as they please. That's how this administration's inaction in Arizona border control that led to this law being passed will now be interpreted all across America by those who are absolutely fed up with having to locally support illegals' education and public health care and fund extra police against illegals' local criminal activity.

    July 28, 2010 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Marlind

    The responsible parties are here in Washington and were all voted into office by U.S. citizens. These people voted into office to work for us have forgotten their mission. They now flex their muscles to get what they want and not want we the people need and desire. It is time to remove them from office or maybe even start impeachment proceedings for some. This is a country of laws and I am a law abiding American citizen. This recent decision is a slap in the face. I am required to show my driver's license when stopped by the police and required to have a thorough background check for every job I have held. So I ask– Why are illegal immigrants given more rights than law abiding American Citizens? I ask everyone of you to vote these people out of office.

    July 28, 2010 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ozzi

    Illegal immigration has been around since the 1950s. Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers fought against it during the 1960s. Illegals have been promoted as a cure-all against unionizing farm workers. It's surprising how all these liberal groups promote slavery these days since putting illegals in farm jobs creates a slave class with no rights of citizenship. The illegals have to rely on the liberal groups for providing false ids, false bank accounts, false housing and complete dependance on them for representation.

    If the illegals did become legal, what would the liberals do for money and power? The liberals need victims to drain since other so-called minority groups (minority is a derogatory term) are no longer available for use.

    July 28, 2010 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Marlinda in VA

    The responsible parties are here in Washington and were all voted into office by U.S. citizens. These people voted into office to work for us have forgotten their mission. They now flex their muscles to get what they want and not want we the people need and desire. It is time to remove them from office or maybe even start impeachment proceedings. This is a country of laws and I am a law abiding American citizen. This recent decision is a slap in the face. I am required to show my driver's license when stopped by the police and required to have a thorough background check for every job I have held. So I ask– Why are illegal immigrants given more rights than law abiding American Citizens? I ask everyone of you to vote these people out of office.

    July 28, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Glenn

    Laura – you are right – Dave, you are full of S$#@. You have obviously been drinking cool aid from Obama's jug. This Country is going to Hell in a handbasket and our Muslim Commander In Chief is greasing the skids. There used to be a distinct difference between legal and illegal – maybe Obama has had Websters revised. I guess our prisons are full of inmates who engaged in legal activities since Dave's interpretation makes no distinction. You left wing liberals need to pull your head out of that dark fuzzy place and take a good look at what's happening in America – it sure isn't the one I grew up in. We got change all right, didn't we?

    July 28, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rich

      Glenn... Do you HEAR yourself ??? Pres. Obama is NOT Muslim , he is a Christian ! His BIRTH CERTIFICATE is available to view online for anyone who really CARES to check it out instead of ranting and raving about Mis-representations and un-truths !

      July 29, 2010 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mike

    To address the current problem, we need comprehensive reform as soon as possible, let those get out of shadow and secure our border, no other way around, no single action effective.

    July 28, 2010 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8