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. all of america

    Doesn't matter what a judge says, we are going to enforce this new law anyway.The majority of citizens of Arizona want this law and we will enforce it no matter what .

    July 28, 2010 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Juzzme

    I wonder what the sentiment would be if Iran were on our border instead of Mexico. I'm guessing the border would be locked down tight and nobody would get through illegally. All illegal Iranians would be deported very quickly, that's if they weren't suspected of being spies. I doubt Americans would have any sympathy for them or disagree with the new Az law.

    As posted above, murders are a regular occurrence on the borders. The drug cartels use the borders to smuggle drugs in every day. They have illegals inside our borders to sell those same drugs. Because you have been here a year or ten years should not give you a voice in our laws, you are here illegally. You broke the law coming here and you continue to break the law every minute you remain here. If you want to reside in our country and have a voice, vote and all of the other rights and privileges we as citizens have go back where you came from and enter our country legally.

    July 28, 2010 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. American Girl

    Wondering–I asked a policeman cousin of mine the same question and he said that individual cops sometimes judge themselves whether to be picky or not. So, if a crime doesn't bother them, they don't enforce it, but instead look for bigger more dangerous crimes being committed. I asked him about the tinted windows which are supposed to be illegal in the county, and he said it wasn't worth their time. If I had dark tint on my windows, I'd probably get a ticket. Go figure, I don't get it either. I say stop them and if a bigger crime comes into play, then just take off and deal with the bigger crime.

    July 28, 2010 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Bas

    I don't know why there is a big argument about how Arizona police can identify illegal immigrants during routine traffic violations. The issue is simple because in order to get Arizona driver's license, you have to show proof of legal status in the country. This law has been in effect for few years in most of the states. That means any illegal immigrant can't obtain a driver's license or renew it when the license expires and therefore the illegal immigrants won't drive cars. So how the police will detain or arrest the illegal immigrants?!! Unless they will stop any person walks on the sidewalks or using public transportation. Please Anderson raise this issue on your show.

    July 28, 2010 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. asian man

    Hey ME in AZ, i have a comment for you. the reason you leave AZ for FL because you could not afford the tax. you only receive othter tax payer on your welfare checks. Fl probably gives a little more welfare checks so your family move there just to get fatter.

    July 29, 2010 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
  6. OhWakeUp

    Funny (like a fart in a diving bell) how some of you dear Republicans think one of your ilk will fix this mess. Did Dubbya or his daddy? Oh, hell no. Ever think why? I mean besides the fact they need all the votes they can get? Part of the family is Mexican. I'm too tired to go Googling right now, but I think it's brother Jeb who married a Mexican. If not Jeb, it's one of them. Maybe some of you are too young to know this, but I remember Bushy the Elder referring to his "little brown ones" (translation: grandchildren). That tribe is still trying to build a dynasty, don't kid yourself. They'd just love to have a third generation Bush in the White House. They're just biding their time. Since most Republicans can't hack separation of church and state and are rah rah pro-life no matter what and the majority of Mexicans are Catholic or some sort of evangelical Christian...you figure it out. Republicans aren't about to alienate and lose that large a group. A group which is growing larger. And larger. And larger. And larger. Never mind we've already trashed the planet. "Children are a blessing from God," dontcha know.

    July 29, 2010 at 2:43 am | Report abuse |
  7. NoWay

    Arizona mostly brought this mess upon themselves. Looks like few employers in Arizona use e-verify to determine INS status. That would eliminate all the below minimum wage illegals from their staff. In fact, many construction firms outside Arizona cannot compete within the state because they cannot beat the ultra low wages paid by many Arizona contractors.

    July 29, 2010 at 7:36 am | Report abuse |
  8. Rick McDaniel

    The other fix, is simply to secede from the US, and become a sovereign nation, and make your OWN laws, that the US government has NO say-so about, whatsoever!

    July 29, 2010 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  9. Funny

    I think it's funny to see all the democrats claiming republicans don't do anything about immigration either... when Jan Brewer IS a republican. Bush was nothing but a RINO (republican in name only). We conservatives hate those, and view them as worse than liberals. Yes, most politicians won't touch immigration; but are you democrats happy with the way Obama has touched it this time?

    July 29, 2010 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  10. Michael Bouchey

    This issue is going to the Supreme Court. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out but my guess is the Federal Government will be forced to start enforcing the current laws on the books.

    July 29, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  11. Kari

    All these folks who tell is us that the cheap labor is good for our economy forget one thing; providing medical care for them and their children is not cheap; educating their children is not cheap, more law enforcement personnel (equipment, vehicles, etc.) to arrest their criminals, and to house their criminals is not cheap; accidents involving illegals leaves our insurance companies and us to pay the cost, is not cheap; border patrol is not cheap. Who is paying for these things and other benefits for this so-called "cheap" labor. Let me pay more for my vegetables and whatever these services provide instead. I'd rather pay that than to pay more taxes, have larger hospital bills or hospitals going into the red, or pay for new jails and prisons to house their criminals, and to educate their children. And before anyone can say that I don't "know" if they're illegal – actually I know a good many of them and they are quite frank about being illegal even to the point of telling me the story of how they came to the US across the desert (4 days). They have absolutely no fear of being illegal around here. They purchase cheap vehicles and obviously pay someone to tag their vehicles for them; and none of them that I personally know, has a driver's license. I don't know how they do it. And, I know three of their women have recently had babies in a local hospital and receive WIC and other benefits. Who do "they" think paid for that? Not them. We all pay for the price of illegals in more taxes and higher hospital bills. It's not free to us, only free to them. They want their rights at the expense of our rights. It's not a Bush issue or an Obama issue, it's a citizens issue. Do we have the right to benefit from our own tax dollars instead of donating to the economy of our South of the Border neighbors? The answer right now is mostly a no. Will our government protect our property, our lives and our rights, the answer is no. They scream for their rights in our country; what rights did they earn. My mother was an immigrant and she waited many years, learned English, had to be able to prove she had means of support, and take a test and be sworn in as a citizen. These illegals are being given the rights of American citizens (with a few exceptions) while many of our own citizens don't receive benefits. I'd say that all the folks who want to keep these illegals should be righteous enough to start picking up the tab for these folks. Put your money where your mouth is and donate to pay their hospital bills and for their baby deliveries, for the law enforcement needed, donate to the schools to provide books and teachers, and free lunches. As long as it's not their pocketbook, and they have maid service and gardeners and cheap labor for their businesses; they don't care that the middle class ends up paying for this. And our government does nothing worthwhile to stop the "invasion" and they have nothing to fear about being illegal. Outside of the border are they can pretty much stand on a rooftop and show that they're illegal without any fear of being deported.

    July 29, 2010 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  12. SilverHair

    Looks like most employers in Arizona don't use the INS e-verify prior to hiring anyone. I suggest that Arizona residents and employers are active participants in creating the illegal problem. Seems like you want labor at slave rates and just ignore the consequences. It has been discussed in the construction industry that most firms outside Arizona cannot compete because of much below craft wages compared to regular journeyman rates.

    July 29, 2010 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Legal immigrant for 10 years

    When you come to this country through the legal way, you pay for everything and have to 'prove' yourself to Americans ... seems like when you come here illegally, you have millions of American friends fighting for you ... GO FIGURE !

    July 29, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. R. L. Hails Sr. P. E.

    This is a five yard penalty on the opening play, not the final of the Super Bowl. The only certainty is that huge egos are going to be crushed. Most of these comments go way beyond the facts. This is a simple injunction, nothing more. It simply is a statement from the court that the July 29 deadline can not be met on certain parts of the contested law. The duty of a lower court is to define the facts and the applicable law. Contrary to most litigation, the facts here are almost trivial to define: A law exists on a certain date, and the Federal government contested it. Higher courts will rule on only the law. This judge did her job, assembly the record, and stop the implementation clock. Chaos would follow if she had acted otherwise. This will be settled by the Supreme Court, not her. It has national, and international ramifications.
    Politically, not judicially, the Arizona challenge that the federal government has failed its most basic responsibilities, and thus caused Arizona grievous harm is written into her judgment. That rotting albatross now hangs around the President's neck.
    The next big plays will be the appeal, the November elections, perhaps a redraft of the Arizona law pursuant to court rulings, and whether many other states will enact the same law. This case will shape American history, and the can may not be kicked down the calendar much further. Egos will be destroyed.

    July 29, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. LimRickNews

    A federal judge’s injunctioning,
    Block’s Arizona’s new law from functioning,
    The state should not meddle,
    With immigration, that’s fed’ral,
    Is the court right, or more out to luncheoning?
    For more, google "LimRickNews".

    July 29, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
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