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. dawg

    Now we can wait for the do-nothing Federal Government to do-nothing about the illegal aliens. Not true! They will do something! They'll TALK about it.

    July 28, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. bill

    i hear alot of people happy the judge shot down alot of the provisions and jumping for joy. they seem to think it is racial profiling and racist. but the issues arent really about race its about coming to this country illegally.sponging off hte federal and state dollars.america has lost focus.we cater to special interest groups representing the minority of society all the time instead of doing whats best for the majority,how can we possibly think that allowing illegals to stay in this country will have a benificial effect on our communities or our economy. True americans have gotten lazy and yes alot of illegals grab jobs that americans think are beneath them.but there inlies the problem wake up america times are hard and if you think your too good to work in a field then dont complain because these people come in and take them. but i do think they need to do it legally so they can help by paying taxes like everyone else

    July 28, 2010 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  3. TAZ

    The bottom line is that the USA needs a law just like this. Myself as a tax payer is sick and tired of paying for these people living here. They get free health care, housing, food, and most of them make money under the table so they don't pay any taxes. Most of us pay taxes, but don't receive the benifits that the illegals do. See to problem here? There is a right way to come to this country and a wrong way and what these people are doing is wrong and most people in the people in the US agree with me.

    How are we ever going to be able to resolve this problem if we are not allowed to determine who is here legally or not? Think about it.

    July 28, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jonsie

    My God, is the Bush bashing ever going to stop, guess what Bush wanted amnesty for illegals – Obama's done nothing for them, he's too busy doing TV shows. If the Federal Government would adhere to the immigration laws the state's wouldn't have too!! The Dems want them here for their illegal votes!!

    July 28, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Janette

    Why do we waste our time to elect Senators, spend billions of dollars to support the voting procedure. We have laws
    on the books and create new laws on the books becuase the first 10 laws do not work. Why did my ancestors have to
    abey the law and do things by the book when we say, well there are so many illegals here and some are really good hard working people, so they can all stay, by the way we do not have the means to enforce our present laws (ie Federal Government) so we will not allow any other laws...I am sorry a law applies to everyone or it applies to none.

    July 28, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Nate

    Whats the difference between what this judge just did and a line-item-veto.... which is currently against the law....

    July 28, 2010 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. nomorelawsandorder

    no more federal taxes!! no more proof of anything!! hurra!!

    July 28, 2010 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bob

    A few years ago the discussion was about the number of American jobs being sent overseas. A few months ago, CNN was reporting on our "broken government". Recently, the topic was the Gulf oil spill (and some senators were defending BP). Today the topic is immigration (and many Latinos are being unfairly demonized).
    I think that some of the people in the Tea Party may have it right – our elected representatives represent us less than they do the business community. Most businesses feel an intense pressure to continually raise profits and their largest single expense item is usually wages. They continually lobby Congress to get bills favoring improvements to their bottom line. If they can't get wage reductions, then they want tax reductions. They seek financial incentives to re-locate in cities and states.
    It is only natural that some of these businesses lobby Congress to block any type of Immigration Reform, regardless of the party in 'power'.
    Isn't it comforting to know that at least some of our elected representatives can be trusted? Once bought, they stay bought, no matter what the voters think.

    July 28, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. John N Florida

    The Congress has agreement on 4/5ths of an Immigration Package. The 1/5th you can not get agreement on is the Amnesty issue. The Democrats won't put the package up without it, The Republicans will NOT vote for the package with it.

    Congress needs ti get off their fat vacations long enough to pass the 4/5ths – NOW.

    July 28, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Amjad

    Toobin's legal analysis is very shaky. He said that Arizona is the 10th Circuit instead of the 9th Circuit!

    July 28, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. BOB

    The injuction keeps the State from "forcing" officers to inquire of legal status. It does not keep officers from doing so on their own........what a loop hole !!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 28, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  12. enjoyweekends

    a drivers license is based on a birth certificate

    July 28, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ron

    Does the State Government pay for the Hospitals? If so then they should start denying care for patients without valid papers. Why should states go bankrupt if the federal government does not take care of the borders? Or states should sue the federal government for reimbursement for all the expenses they incurred with the cost of having illegals in their states.

    July 28, 2010 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. fanta

    Bad decision judge ! now watch the tremendous influx of emboldened illegals and drug couriers,etc,etc,etc, maybe a some car and suicide bomber terrorists too ! Bottom line the will of teh Arizona people together with a majority of Americans is being ignored and sidestepped ! I believe it will greatly cost the democrats votes ! )_Peopel have a right to take whatever steps are necessary to stop their neighbours encrouching on and commiting illegal actson their properties and in their environment ! The Arizona law was designed to achieve what the federal government has long been derelict in doing ! There will be a looooooot of unhappy voters over this !

    July 28, 2010 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Bob in PA

    Here's how to solve the illegal immigration problem: let AZ pass a law that any AZ citizen who hires an illegal to work on his property or in his business will go to jail for five years. Why is the problem the illegals rather than the people who hire them to work here?

    July 28, 2010 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
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