The list of lawsuits challenging Arizona’s Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act (Senate Bill 1070) continues to grow. On May 17, 2010, 14 civil and immigrant-rights groups, along with 10 individuals, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court challenging the constitutionality of Senate Bill 1070. At least five separate lawsuits have been filed seeking to prevent the Bill from becoming effective on July 29, 2010. Unlike the others, the most recent lawsuit names Arizona’s county officials as defendants rather than Governor Jan Brewer.
The lawsuit alleges Senate Bill 1070 is unconstitutional on a number of grounds, including:
• The Bill violates the federal Supremacy Clause by attempting to bypass federal immigration law.
• The Bill deprives racial and national origin minorities of their 14th Amendment right to equal protection under the law by subjecting them to stops, detentions, questioning and arrests based on their race or national origin.
• The Bill infringes on the constitutional right to travel without being stopped, interrogated and detained.
• The Bill violates the First Amendment right to freedom of speech because it exposes speakers to scrutiny based on, among other things, an individual’s language or accent.
Several unions, including the UFCW and the SEIU, have signed up as plaintiffs for the most recent lawsuit. Labor unions have been extremely vocal in opposition to Senate Bill 1070 and have been active in calling for boycotts of Arizona businesses. These unions appear to be using opposition to the Bill as a tool to increase their organizing efforts in Arizona.
Jackson Lewis will continue to monitor the various legal challenges to the Senate Bill 1070 and will provide timely updates.