Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is protesting a federal court’s decision to allow foreign governments to file friend-of-the-court briefs in the Justice Department’s
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is protesting a federal court’s decision to allow foreign governments to file “friend-of-the-court” briefs in the Justice Department’s lawsuit against Arizona’s SB 1070 immigration law. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which will hear the case in November, ruled Monday that Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru and Chile could file briefs in the case — no doubt highly critical of the law.
“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,” Brewer said in a statement after Arizona filed a motion Tuesday to disallow the briefs.
The Justice Department’s lawsuit against Arizona argues the state’s immigration law could have negative affects on U.S. foreign relations:
S.B. 1070 also interferes with U.S. foreign affairs priorities and rejects any concern for humanitarian interests or broader security objectives, and will thus harm a range of U.S. interests. Thus, because S.B. 1070 attempts to set state-specific immigration policy, it legislates in an area constitutionally reserved to the federal government, conflicts with the federal immigration laws and federal immigration policy, conflicts with foreign policy… and is therefore preempted.
Briefs from foreign governments, then, could be helpful to the Justice Department’s case. Latin American governments have been critical of the law, claiming it could harm their relations with the United States. Mexican politicians even argued it could lead to more violence along the border because Mexican police would be less likely to interact with their American counterparts.
Arizona has support from 11 other states that have filed “friend-of-the-court” briefs defending its law: Michigan, Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas and Virginia. Worth noting: The attorneys general who filed the briefs in Michigan, Florida and Pennsylvania were seeking the Republican nomination for governor at the time.
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