Tuesday, December 23, 2014

BREAKING: Judge Throws Out Sheriff Arpaio Suit Vs Obama Executive Action; Arpaio Files Instant Appeal (READ OPINION)

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio did not have to wait until after Christmas to hear what a federal judge thought of his suit to halt President Barack Obama's executive orders deferring prosecution of some illegal immigrants.  One day after hearing oral arguments, U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell issued a 33-page opinion explaining why Arpaio had no standing to bring the action and why it had to be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

While much of the Judge's opinion was about the executive action and the effects, the crux of the matter was that Judge Howell found that Arpaio and his attorney Larry Klayman had not even come close to establishing that they had legal status to bring the case.

"Ultimately, the plaintiff’s standing argument reduces to a simple generalized grievance:
A Federal policy causes his office to expend resources in a manner that he deems suboptimal. To accept such a broad interpretation of the injury requirement would permit nearly all state officials to challenge a host of Federal laws simply because they disagree with how many—or how few—Federal resources are brought to bear on local interests. Fortunately, the standing doctrine is not so limp. As the Supreme Court has repeatedly emphasized: “‘a plaintiff raising only a generally available grievance about government—claiming only harm to his and every citizen’s interest in [the] proper application of the Constitution and laws, and seeking relief that no more directly [or] tangibly benefits him than it does the public at large—does not state an Article III case or controversy.’” Lance v. Coffman, 549 U.S. 437, 439 (2007) (quoting Lujan, 504 U.S. at 573); see also Pl.’s Supp. Decl. ¶ 3 (“By this lawsuit, I am seeking to have the President and other Defendants obey the U.S. Constitution and the immigration laws . . . .”). Simply put, a state official has not suffered an injury in fact to a legally cognizable interest because a federal government program is anticipated to produce an increase in that state’s population and a concomitant increase in the need for the state’s resources."
The judge acknowledges that it does not need to reach the Obama Administration's actions, but addresses them:

 "Nevertheless, even if the plaintiff were able to establish standing, the plaintiff would face a number of legal obstacles to prevail and, therefore, could not demonstrate a likelihood of success on the merits nor any of the other preliminary injunction factors. While not necessaryto resolve this case, the Court outlines several of these obstacles. First, with respect to the plaintiff’s likelihood of success on the merits, the challenged deferred action programs continue a longstanding practice of enforcement discretion regarding the Nation’s immigration laws. Such discretion is conferred by statute, see 6 U.S.C. § 202(5); 8 U.S.C. § 1103(a)(3), and the manner of its exercise through deferred action on removal has been endorsed by Congress, see, e.g., 8 U.S.C. § 1227(d)(2). Thus, the deferred action programs are consistent with, rather than contrary to, congressional policy."
Sheriff Arpaio and attorney Klayman have already filed a Notice of Appeal.

(Tempe attorney Paul Weich contributed this article.)

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