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. KLB

    Republican, Democrat, who cares? All I know is I don't get the same benefits as the illegals do. I am a single mom trying to support my family on what I make, busting my butt but I was turned down for assistance. I think all states should pass the law and then maybe all illegals will return to where they came from. I respect the legal immigrants. They should resent the illegals, as well. Would I carry papers to prove I am a legal resident? You bet, if it got rid of the illegals.

    July 28, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Annexian

    The judge is a traitor. And furthermore I'd not be suprised to hear of her 'retiring' on luxury her salary would not afford in a century.

    Illegal immigration is not racism, it's economic warfare. Our own rich elite aren't satisfied with 15 mansions and 26 yachts each and will get more if they have to take the food from our mouths.

    Illegals drive down wages.

    We could end the recession overnight by getting rid of them.
    No fence, profiling, vigilantism, just "Check the books" randomly and frequently on all employers and fully prosecute any who hire them.

    There are more illegals in the USA than "Unemployed". We'd have 1 to 5 million jobs begging for anyone and not having any takers due to all the unemployed even formerly "Unemployable" people snapping them up for the good wages they'd suddenly offer!

    July 28, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  3. kumar

    Morons, god gave you gift in form of Obama and you guys are so blind on hatered that can not see that. I don't say democrats are the answer but how can you guys even think about giving power back to rebups. If you have courage nominate and elect a nobody, some one who is in your community and not rich and powerful.

    July 28, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shooter

      "god gave you a gift in form of Obama" ? Are you f-ing kidding me? The guy is wothless. Unless you are an illegal immigrant or welfare baby I guess... You really do worship him don't you? I will be "Re-Gifting" god's gift this year.

      July 28, 2010 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Iowa1978

      Usually you don't start an argument by calling somebody names. You lose credibility. You also need to check your spelling. God gave us cancer too.

      July 28, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Harvey

      Did God give us blessing in Obama, or a curse?

      July 28, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Iowa1978

    Let me get this straight. The Obama administration thinks the Arizona police are all too racist to implement a federal law that is not currently being enforced. Seems like this would be an efficient use of local law enforcement. Next time i get pulled over i am going to see if i can avoid showing my id.

    July 28, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • muzak

      You still don't have it straight. It is not about whether the Arizona police are racist. ( In fact, one of the law enforcement agencies has filed a similar suit to bloke the enforcement.) It is about forcing a state law enforcement agency to enforce federal regulations. Do you understand the difference?

      July 28, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Iowa1978

      I get it, but what are they afraid will happen?

      July 28, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • muzak

      Who knows. Probably nothing.

      July 28, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • DKJ

      If your white good luck we can't cry racism in our own country. but let us know what happens.

      July 28, 2010 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • DKJ

      So tell us why the Federal Government Offical refuse to do their jobs in protecting our borders. Wow 1200 National Gaurd troops for thousands of miles of border/ You would after 9-1-1 that would have been one of the first things they did instead of invading the middle east first.
      And if they were truley going after the Companies hiring the illegals then why are they still hiring? Five years working with illegals I have not once seen ICE except when the come to check the Candian fishing vessels to make their paper work was in order, talking about discrimination. When a fellow employee asked if they were going to check for illegals he was told that wasn't there job.

      July 28, 2010 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Scott

    Straightforward reporting, without the typical left-leaning bias that Toobin normally injects into his analyses... could it be that the Journolist scandal (and his considerable contribution in bashing the right) is causing Toobin to be more careful in his approach these days? I sure wish "journalists" were required to state their political affiliations at the top of each article so the common folk like us (you know, the little people) could more easily perceive their worldviews.

    July 28, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bazza

    I think that you are all 'misunderestimating' Bush's record on immigration!

    July 28, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • muzak

      That's good!

      July 28, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. CNN=crud not news

    I find it hard to believe that this is all Toobin asked. Can we see the ENTIRE interview please, Corporate Non News?

    July 28, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. dwight huth

    President Obama did not send the National Guard to the border Governor Shwartzenagger sent the National Guard Units to the border.

    July 28, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. barryinNOLA

    I am utterly opposed to the Arizona law, and have seen a lot of different arguments why it's bad, e.g., racial profiling etc. But I think there is another fundamental issue that drives a stake through its heart: it is utterly illegal, unlike in Nazi Germany, to stop and detain a US citizen in the USA because s/he does not have his proof of citizenship on his/her person. I do not carry my passport with me everywhere in the USA! So, what happens the first time that a legal US citizen, who appears to be of Hispanic origin, is stopped by the Arizona police and protests that he is a US citizen but cannot immediately supply proof? (Civis Romanus sum!) Will the cops take him/her to jail until the citizenship papers are provided? But surely it is absolutely illegal to arrest US citizens for this reason? Perhaps that reasoning alone could be enough to invalidate this dreadful law. Besides, if the arrested person doesn't have a passport, should s/he have to produce a birth certificate? Do we *all* need to start carrying our passports/birth certificates at all times? This is indeed a 'slippery slope'. I'm angry at the ever-increasing elimination of citizens' rights in this country.

    July 28, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Iowa1978

      Don't they have to break a law to get asked for identification? I don't see why this is such a big deal and why our federal government has to bend over backwards to protect illegal aliens.

      July 28, 2010 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ian

      See this is the problem, people don't even understand the law......

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

      Barry, go rent a bus, drive to AZ and take some illegal aliens into your home.

      July 28, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marty Rogers

      you are correct. What is worst, Arizona is home to the people who dont even believe the validity of the birth certificate of the president...and we are supposed to trust these morons we determining the validity of a driver's license? what if the US citizen without their passport on them, whose driver's license is questioned has their child with them? will they arrest the person and ship the child to child protective services?
      I'm amazed at the cruelty and ignorance of this generation of americans. Of course we are all concerned with illegal immigration, we simply dont have the resources. But that does NOT mean violate the individual rights of legal citizens which will undoubtedly happened under such terms. I vote for a national ID everybody can carry with them. Anybody who loses it or left it at home, can then be arrested on the spot and their children sent to child services while they sort it out. If all americans are willing to put up with that possibility, then lets go. In the meantime, shut up and dont support a law that will do that to other US CITIZENS

      July 28, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Craig

    What part of ILLEGAL do people not understand. I say everyone needs to show proof or they are gone!

    July 28, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. CNN=crud not news

    ... Forget it, I'll read the Times – A REAL media outlet.

    July 28, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Chris

    Just my 2 cents worth: I think we're going to have amnesty when all is said and done. Probably in the lame duck session. And if not there, then I think the POTUS will go it alone. DHS and the state dept. both have congressional authority to grant asylum and the POTUS has pardon authority. I think you will see a mass economic asylum granted and a pardon issues for breaking the law. When either of these situations occur, this law and any subsequent laws will be rendered useless.

    July 28, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • DKJ

      Where is our president's birth cerificate? Maybe this way the government doesn't want a law where ID is required to prove legal residents or place of birth.

      July 28, 2010 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leilani in AZ

      you mean amnesty AGAIN right? because we now know how well THAT program worked! just saying...

      July 28, 2010 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. dwight huth

    So I guess whenever I am asked my ID and proof of insurance when I am stopped for speeding in a construction zone or for running a stop light or for basica speeding over the the established peed limit I guess that I am being racially profiled because why? It is not racial profiling it called Law Enforcement. The only ones that do not want this law put into place are those that are in fact involved with illegal activities. Racial profiling or profiling in general would be present if a car full of people are driving at the speed limit and are following the law and are then pulled over for no reason wha-so-ever and are then ticketed for any reason that the law enforcement officer deems fit then that is racial profiling. The more that anti-illegal immigration laws are allowed to vetoed down the more that the illegal and corrupt nature ofthe Drug Cartels that run Mexico are allowed to flow into America to spread the filth and disease of such orginizations.

    July 28, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Concerned Citizen

    This is just another stupid example that is tearing America apart because our Governement has become so ineffective in determining what the People want. Let the People vote on this. Its time for a referendum, our elected officials and Courts do not repesent the People !

    July 28, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Kenster

    Lets look at this from a slightly different perspective. The only way a civil society works at all is that everyone agrees to abide by the rules. Sadly, we have a lot of police and lawyers in this country because a lot of Amercians feel that being part of a society and living by the rules doesn't apply to them. This problem grows eveytime some group or subset of this so called society gets favorable treatment because as a society we no longer have the courage to stand up for what we know is right and what we know is wrong. This isn't about race or politics but about right and wrong. If you don't address the right and wrong here then you have sent the message again to eveyone that the law doenst' apply to everyone equally. Set up a card table in every community and get these illegals registered so they begin to pay taxes and begin to feel part of America. And by the way dock their pay 10% for a few years to pay the fine for breaking the law so that everyone else who is here legally and the citizens of America have a sense of fairness in their gut.

    July 28, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
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