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Federal judge hears arguments for class action in Arizona immigration suit

A judge for the US District Court for the District of Arizona [official website] heard oral arguments [hearing materials] on Monday to determine whether Arizona citizens may join in a class action lawsuit challenging the state's controversial immigration law [SB 1070, PDF; JURIST news archive]. Allowing class action status would permit thousands of Arizona residents to join in a recent lawsuit challenging the immigration law's effects on individuals. A judge last week ruled [JURIST report] that several Arizona residents have legal standing to challenge the law after the plaintiffs argued that enforcement of the law would increase the possibility that they would be the target of discrimination by police officers due to their appearance or lack of English proficiency. Judge Susan Bolton agreed that the plaintiffs face a realistic risk of harm that is sufficient to support a lawsuit. The hearing on Monday focused on whether all citizens similarly at risk may join the lawsuit. Bolton, who heard the arguments, did not indicate when a decision would be made.

The Arizona immigration law currently faces another challenge that is being heard by the US Supreme Court [official website]. In Arizona v. United States [SCOTUSblog backgrounder] the federal government has argued that the immigration law is preempted by federal law. The court heard final oral arguments [JURIST report] for the case in late April. The key issue in this case is whether certain provisions of the Arizona law are in areas reserved by the Constitution for federal regulation. The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case in December after Arizona asked the high court to weigh in [JURIST reports] on the issue. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld an injunction last April before the law ever took effect, and the US Department of Justice [official website] urged the Supreme Court not to hear the appeal [JURIST report].

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