By SCOTT WONG | 10/6/10 9:57 AM EDT Updated: 10/6/10 7:21 PM EDT
In a new twist in the fight over Arizona’s immigration law, Republican Gov. Jan Brewer on Tuesday asked a federal court to disallow foreign governments from joining the U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit to overturn the law.
The move comes in response to a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling issued Monday, allowing nearly a dozen Latin American countries — Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru and Chile — to submit friend-of-the-court briefs in Justice’s challenge to SB 1070, which Brewer signed into law in April and is considered one of the nation’s toughest immigration-enforcement measures.
“As do many citizens, I find it incredibly offensive that these foreign governments are using our court system to meddle in a domestic legal dispute and to oppose the rule of law,” the Republican governor said in a statement shortly after the state’s motion was filed Tuesday evening.
“What’s even more offensive is that this effort has been supported by the U.S. Department of Justice. American sovereignty begins in the U.S. Constitution and at the border,” she added. “I am confident the 9th Circuit will do the right thing and recognize foreign interference in U.S. legal proceedings and allow the State of Arizona to respond to their brief.”
Brewer and her supporters have said the state law is necessary because the federal government has failed to protect the border and enforce immigration laws. But the Justice Department — with strong backing from President Barack Obama — sued to block the Arizona law on constitutional grounds.
Responding to the suit, a federal judge in July put some of the most contested parts of the law on hold, including a provision that requires police officers to check the immigration status of individuals they stop for other offenses if there is “reasonable suspicion” they are in the country illegally.
Brewer, who has vowed to take the case to the Supreme Court, appealed the decision to the 9th Circuit Court, which will begin hearing arguments in San Francisco on Nov. 1, one day before the midterm elections. The Arizona law is a top political issue nationally. Cities from San Francisco and Seattle to Baltimore have joined a friend of the court brief opposing the Arizona law, while 11 states — including Texas, Florida and Nebraska — filed an amicus brief backing the law.
In July, more than 80 Republican members of Congress signed their names to an amicus brief filed by the conservative Immigration Reform Caucus. They included Sens. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, David Vitter of Louisiana and John Barrasso of Wyoming, and Reps. Lamar Smith of Texas, Steve King of Iowa and Trent Franks of Arizona.
Brewer’s motion should resonate among conservative legal scholars worried about giving foreign legal systems a voice in American jurisprudence. These concerns are a reaction to a school of legal thought arguing that American judges should look to foreign laws and courts for assistance in interpreting the U.S.
Constitution, particularly in regard to basic human rights issues. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy is arguably the leading spokesperson for this approach, as noted in a 2005 New Yorker profile.
The state of Arizona’s motion could also strike a chord with those on the right who are convinced that President Barack Obama (and Bill Clinton before him) want to make U.S. laws subordinate to international courts, particularly the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Under Clinton, the United States signed a treaty to join the court weeks before leaving office in January 2001, though the Senate never ratified his action. Months later, President George W. Bush pulled the United States out of the treaty, saying he worried foreign governments would try to prosecute U.S. troops for alleged war crimes.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1010/43199.html#ixzz11umW8UFr
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