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. Rita403

    AS a true independent, right now I believe the Judge Bolton just gave us the next and first female President of the United States.....Gov. Jan Brewer.

    July 28, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bobby

    November Baby!!!!!

    July 28, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      If you are implying you will vote train-wreck 'conservative', you can count on me canceling out your vote.

      July 28, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • muzak

      No, let me be the one to cancel Bobby's vote.

      July 28, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jackdaddy

    "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." – this may be true, but the federal government has not been enforcing their "federal control of immigration matters" which is exactly why the state felt the need to do this to protect the citzens, both the majority & minorities who are legal residents of the united states. Why does our country try to protect crIminals, when their legal residents are struggling??? I am here legally & I have no problem proving that if asked...most people who are in az legally, wouldn't mind it either....

    July 28, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • muzak

      It is not about protecting criminals. Her ruling dealt with the state trying to make state law enforcement enforce laws that are restricted to the federal government.

      July 28, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sean

    The real problem is that the Feds have never been that interested in getting at the root of the problem which is American Business' need for cheap temp labor. American Business contributes hugh amounts of money to both the Dems and Republicans. So the government focuses all its attention at the border.
    All the border patrol agents will tell you that we need to focus on the businesses away from the border that are employing these ilegals so that we start drying up demand. This is actually really easy and cheap to do, all you need is one agent to go over a company employee records and have the business prove the employees have a legal right to work (information a business is required to have on hand). Any employee who does not have the proper record is fired on the spot. Of course, this way is not liked by politicians because these busineeses also contribute money to campaigns and have "some" American jobs. These politicans then pressure the feds to look elsewhere ("go focus on the border.. why are you harressing this fine American business").

    July 28, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Julio

      Agree with you Sean,
      Immigration will stop if Businesses stop hiring illegal immigrants. Drug shipments will stop if Drug users in America would stop using drugs. Alcoholism will stop once alcohol abusers stop drinking too much. Social Security could be fixed if Congress would do their job. Medicare would be fixed if they really want to fix things. This is just all political, nothing else.

      What do I see wrong with this picture.. I think that it is easier for Immigration to stop if Businesses stop hiring illegal immigrants then the other two happening

      July 28, 2010 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Julio

      Agree with you Sean,
      Immigration will stop if Businesses stop hiring illegal immigrants. Drug shipments will stop if Drug users in America would stop using drugs. Alcoholism will stop once alcohol abusers stop drinking too much. Social Security could be fixed if Congress would do their job. Medicare would be fixed if they really want to fix things. This is just all political, nothing else. Let's keep dreaming of Utopian America. Let's keep dreaming that we can be protectionist and don't worry about the rest of the world. 21st Century vs 19th Century. Keep thinking that if something happens in a remote mountain in Southern Mexico has no effect in your daily life. Read below...
      "The butterfly effect is a metaphor that encapsulates the concept of sensitive dependence on initial conditions in chaos theory; namely that small differences in the initial condition of a dynamical system may produce large variations in the long term behavior of the system"

      July 28, 2010 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. vegas01

    Call or write your congressman/woman and demand legislation making it a CRIME to enter, remain or work in the US illegally. As this judge has pointed out, those are only "removable offenses" not crimes. This needs to be changed immediately.

    July 28, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      Why don't you write you congressman to enact a law that makes it punishable by LIFE in prison to HIRE anyone without a US citizenship? That will fix the problem, right? Ahhh, but maybe not. That would mean all your Republican buds would be in prison for employing their housekeepers and gardeners.

      July 28, 2010 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • vegas01

      Let's just make it equal for both parties involved. Why should the illegal alien's action be merely a "removable offense" instead of a "crime" like the employer or host. Imagine going to prison for offering shelter to illegals while they just get deported to return again.......

      July 28, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ZEROIGNORANCE

    AC; are you telling me that your wife is cheating at you with an Illegal? how funny!! hahahaha

    July 28, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Heath

    Everyone is missing the big picture here. People say what is wrong with cheap labor, cheap produce and vegetables and such... Well if you take the billions we as tax payers are spending on free education, health care and government assistance to these illegals then the price of an apple is eighty percent higher than the price listed in the grocery stores... Wake up America send them all packing!!!!

    July 28, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • vegas01

      I think you meant 800% higher...

      July 28, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ARMYVET

    Do what a left idiot would do...TAKE IT TO THE STREETS! All who oppose this ruling gather in your towns tomorrow and protest.

    July 28, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      BWAHAHAAA! Ok, ArmyVet, we'll see how many "show up" tomorrow. My guess - 10. Max.

      July 28, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      and they let the likes of YOU have access to firearms?

      July 28, 2010 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • ARMYVET

      My right as a US citizen

      July 28, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mads

    Absolutely, Shooter! And I will be first in line to LEGALLY sign up for citizenship in the NEW country!

    July 28, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Tony

    I guess there are things that are not illegal even when they are illegal. What recourse do the citizens of Arizona have? The Obama administration will let every thug hike through the desert to bring drugs in to the country but won't let grandma get her prescriptions sent to her from a Canadian pharmacy. I wonder why. Maybe its because every illegal represents a future voter and every grandma represents a vote already in the bag or one that will soon be in the grave. Either way – a very COLD calculation on the Obama administration's part.

    July 28, 2010 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • muzak

      You think this is about votes? Wake up. Quite listening to rush and fox.

      July 28, 2010 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Eric

    THE NEW REPUBLICAN MOTTO (taken from the Statue of Liberty inscription):

    Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
    (Unless you're a dirty immigrant from Mexico)

    July 28, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. dwight huth

    Those that want this law stopped are the same people and special interest's group that want as sheap as labor that they can possibly employ. The employers and others that are against this law sound like the old Confederate States that forced African's to work their fields without paying them bu instead used them by the thousands to create a cheap product that they got rich off of. Also if the illegals do not pay taxes where does the money that would have gone to taxes for American use go to? The tax money either goes to the employer that employees them through other means of extortion or the money is sent back to their families in Mexico where it is either funneled to the Drug Cartels or other groups that fund the continued invasion of America. It also sounds like the judge who ruled against the law is also part of the old Confederate States and is working for them. You have to remember Texas was part of the Confederacy and is the largest state in the Union that allows illegal's into the country.

    It sounds like the Confederates that are still in power in Washington D.C. and are trying to use Article Six to continue to try and rebuild their Confederacy. The parts of the law that the judge struck all apply to American citizens and do not apply to illegal immigrants. Mexico nor it's citizens that cross over into America have the same rights to work in America as an American does which the judge has struck down where he has tried to make it appear that the illegal Mexican's are in fact American citizens when they are not.

    July 28, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Eric

    At last some sanity is introduced into the hateful environment whipped-up by fearful tea baggers.

    July 28, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Another Voice

    Fedral Judge prevented AZ from becoming a de-facto police state!!! It also prevented cheap populism from Gov. Brewer that was only meant to help her in the elections, she can care less about the immigrants!!! Once she wins she will soon forget about them....

    July 28, 2010 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. pam

    I think Arizona should sue the federal government for not doing its job. I am appalled and sickened by the fact that the Obama administration believes it is appropriate to sue Arizona. The fed govt needs to start living in the real world.

    July 28, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      I heard an interview with an ACLU attorney the other day that this whole law is actually a set-up for just that. The state of Arizona wants it confirmed by the high court that the Feds must enforce immigration law and then their going to sue for damages. According to the attorney, this is why the administration took so long to sue Arizona and this is why the POTUS is desperate for immigration reform. He needs the federal laws changed before he is forced to enforce them via court order. I also believe this is why he is meeting with DHS secretary and WH attorneys behind closed doors. If he can't get the law changed he will try to grant asylum and a pardon to all by executive order.

      July 28, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
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