Judge in Arizona Immigration Law Appeal Once Faced Deportation
Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 4:21 pm
Leading up the the first appeal hearings next week on Arizona’s SB 1070 immigration law, the East Valley Tribune has a piece breaking down some of the possible biases of the three judges who will hear the case brought by the Justice Department. As with most stories speculating on how judges will make decisions — Politico’s Josh Gerstein has a similar post — the article lays out a few facts about each judge that could indicate support for one side or another.
The most interesting detail: One of the judges, Carlos Bea, was nearly deported in the early 1950s after making a mistake in the visa process to re-entry the country after time abroad. Score one for the Department of Justice’s case against SB 1070, which is partially based on complaints that the law is anti-immigrant.
It gets more complicated from there. Bea is viewed as a conservative on the court and was appointed by George W. Bush in 2003. One of the other judges, John Noonan, was also appointed by a Republican, while Richard Paez was selected by Bill Clinton. Despite the judges’ party affiliations, observers have speculated the panel could be tough on Arizona for perceived racial profiling created by SB 1070 because two of the judges have Hispanic backgrounds. Paez’s parents were born in Mexico, while Bea was born in Spain but lived in Cuba before moving to the United States.
Noonan, the Republican non-Latino on the panel, has a ruled in favor of immigrants seeking asylum and tends to side with the federal government over states, Ira Ellman, a law professor at Arizona State University, told the Tribune.
In total, the two stories list roughly three factors that could help Arizona’s case (two Republicans on the court, one who usually votes conservative) and six factors that could help the Justice Department (two Latinos on the court, including one who was nearly deported, one Democrat, plus two judges who often side with the federal government).
It’s still hard to say how the panel will rule, but lawyers seem to think the Department of Justice has a good chance of prevailing with the panel as it did with the federal judge in the first challenge. Gerstein writes that lawyers familiar with the court told him the panel seemed more likely to favor the Obama administration and civil rights groups than Arizona.
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