The fight over SB 1070 heading to Supreme Court

The fight over SB 1070 heading to Supreme Court

CREATED May 10, 2011

Reporter: Steve Nunez
Web Producer: David Rush

PHOENIX (KGUN9-TV) - The fight over Arizona's tough immigration law is about to take on new heights, as in high court.

Governor Jan Brewer announced today the state will file an immediate petition to the U.S. Supreme Court to lift the injunction of SB 1070.  "I've always known this legal fight would be a long one," Governor Brewer said in a statement Monday.

At a news conference today in Phoenix, the governor along with Attorney General Tom Horne and Mesa Senator Russell Pearce, told reporters they believe the high court is friendlier and more conservative than the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and would be more sympathetic to Arizona's plight.

"I've always known this legal fight would be a long one," Governor Brewer said in a statement Monday.  "But now that this is the path we've chosen, I am confident Arizona will prevail."

The 9th Circuit upheld the injunction ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton almost a year ago.  It blocked many of the controversial provisions of SB 1070 including "Section 2b."  It requires police officers to verify immigration status of anyone they legally stop.

During Monday's news conference, the state said it plans on using the dissent opinion of 9th Circuit Court Judge Carlos T. Bea.  Judge Bea wrote the state has the authority to work with the federal government, including ICE, to enforce immigration law.

"When faced with injustice, Arizonans will not idly sit by.  For decades, the federal government has neglected its constitutional duty to secure the border.  It is because of that negligence that Arizona was forced to take action to protect its citizens via SB 1070."Brewer said.  "Our issue is bigger than simply border security.  It's about the principle that a state must be able to protect the safety and welfare of its citizens, especially in the absence of sufficient federal assistance.  I'm confident that Arizona will emerge victorious from this legal fight."

Senate President Russell Pearce, author of SB 1070, said continuing the legal fight is about the state's right to defend the rule of law.

"We have an obligation to this entire nation to secure our border and enforce our laws to set the example," Sen. Pearce said.

"Is part of your strategy not to delay this any further because it's losing steam politically?" 9 On Your Side reporter Steve Nunez asked Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne.

"It's not a political issue," Horne answered. "It's a legal decision and a policy decision. We need to help Arizonans from illegal immigrants as quickly as possible."

Nunez asked Horne how the state's strategy will differ from the arguments it has already used in court.

"The biggest difference is different decision-makers," Horne said, noting that the majority of Supreme Court justices are considered conservative.

The state has until July 11 to file its official petition for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court.  According to a statement by the Governor's office, it will likely be late September or early October before the court announces whether it will hear the case.