The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Monday affirmed a federal trial judge's preliminary injunction barring the enforcement of four key portions of Arizona's controversial new anti-immigration law. The appeals court order is another legal defeat for Jan Brewer, the Arizona governor who signed SB 1070 into law last spring, and another victory for federal officials, who contend that the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, among other legal precedent, forbids states from generating their own immigration policies and procedures. Here's the text of the ruling. And here are five quick points to consider:
1. Although they did not always agree with or cite her rationale, the 9th Circuit's panel adopted U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton's legal conclusions that the most contentious portions of the new Arizona law are also, in fact, unlawful. The Court did so by applying the lenient standard of appellate review applicable in injunction cases. "We conclude," the Court's majority declared four times, "that the United States has met its burden to show that there is likely no set of circumstances under which [the selected provision] of SB 1070 would be valid, and it is likely to succeed on the merits of its challenge. The district court did not abuse its discretion by concluding the same."
9th Circuit Judge John T. Noonan, in a concurring opinion, was even more blunt. He wrote:
Federal foreign policy is a pleonasm. What foreign policy can a federal nation have except a national policy? That fifty individual states or one individual state should have a foreign a foreign policy is absurdity too gross to be entertained. In matters affecting the intercourse of the federal nation with other nations, the federal nation must speak with one voice.
The majority's analysis of Section 6 will come as a surprise to all parties involved in this case. It ignores the contentions in the filings before the district court, the district court's rationale, the briefs filed in this court, and what was said by the well-prepared counsel, questioned at our oral argument. Indeed, it is an argument and conclusion volunteered by the majority, but carefully avoided by the United States-- probably because it conflicts with the president policy of the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel.
Drop-down thumbnail credit: Robert Galbraith/Reuters
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