Judge Ruling on SB 1070 Ruled in Previous Cases That Federal Law Trumps State Law
As the Justice Department prepares to argue Thursday against Arizona’s immigration law, The Associated Press takes a look into the background of the judge who will hear the case. Susan Bolton, who heard the first arguments against SB 1070 last week, is described as a “down-the-middle” judge who has been ruling on immigration cases in Arizona for a decade.
Her ruling on the DOJ suit will determine whether Arizona’s law violates the Constitution by preempting federal immigration law. The AP reports she has experience in federal-state disagreements:
Bolton has ruled in two cases unrelated to immigration that federal law trumps state law.
In 2008, Bolton threw out a claim by a woman who alleged her employer broke a federal law on overtime pay. The woman made the claim under federal law but sought more generous damages under a state law dictating when an employee is to be paid. The judge threw out her claim under state law.
Three years earlier, in a lawsuit from a woman who claimed she was harmed by taking a cold medicine, Bolton ruled that a state law immunizing drug makers from most punitive damages in product liability cases was superseded by federal law.
The Obama administration hopes Bolton will prevent the law from going into effect July 29, but the judge said last week she could not promise a ruling before then.