Opinion Brief

Feds vs. AZ: Is a second lawsuit coming?

Attorney General Eric Holder says the federal government might file a second lawsuit to block Arizona's tough immigration law. Would that be overkill?

Despite having already filed one lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Arizona's controversial immigration law, Attorney General Eric Holder isn't ruling out a second one. In an interview with CBS News' Bob Schiffer, Holder said that if the law — which requires state and local law enforcement officers to arrest people who can't prove they are in the country legally — ever goes into effect and it results in racial profiling, "we would have the tools and we would bring suit on that basis." Is it overkill to threaten a second suit before the first one has even been heard? (Watch The Week's Sunday Talk Show Briefing on Arizona vs. Obama)

Expanding the lawsuit might make sense: The first lawsuit didn't address racial profiling because "it's very rare that a law of this type would be discriminatory on it’s face," says Doug Mataconis in Outside the Beltway, but it's "entirely probable" that it will be in practice. So Holder is issuing a warning to Arizona to apply the law fairly, but he's also just stating a "legal reality."
"Feds may challenge Arizona law on racial discrimination grounds"

A second lawsuit won't be needed: It's unlikely that the law will result in racial profiling, says Ann Wollner in The Wilmington News Journal, because the first federal suit "will probably kill the law as unconstitutional." And thank goodness. It has so many junk lawsuit–baiting, police-thwarting, fiscally irresponsible "abominations," its unconstitutionality is the only "good news about this bad law."
"Arizona's law crosses into U.S. turf illegally"

More suits isn't the answer: Speaking of bad law, "U.S. immigration policy has failed," says the Financial Times in an editorial. And suing Arizona is not only a political loser, it also "does not constitute an immigration policy." In fact, "it only draws attention to the lack of one." And rather than "cajoling" lawmakers into fixing it, President Obama "has chosen to attack." That's not leadership.
"U.S. immigration policy paralysis"

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