Monday, December 22, 2014

$1.5 Million - The Cost (So Far) Of Gov. Brewer's Unsuccessful (So Far) Fight To Deny Driver's Licenses To DREAMers

DACA recipients in Arizona began applying for driver's licenses today, even as Gov. Jan Brewer has the taxpayers' attorneys' meters running for a costly re-appeal of the matter to the U.S. Supreme Court.  The state confirmed to Arizona's Politics this afternoon that the legal bill in the two-year long battle has already passed $1.5 Million.

DACA recipients (aka DREAMers) flooded MVD offices today, after only three U.S. Supreme Court Justices (Scalia, Thomas, Alito) stated that the driver's license should not be issued until the Court has a chance to consider the yet-to-be-filed appeal.

The Arizona Department of Transportation confirmed that legal fees in the case paid by ADOT total $1,522,949.66.  The Phoenix-based law firm of Fennemore Craig has represented the state in the federal case filed by the Arizona Dream Act Coalition in November 2012.

Arizona's Politics' review of state expenditures had come up with a much lower figure, but the review has been complicated by the apparent switching of which state agencies and funds are responsible for paying the legal bills.  ADOT appeared to only take over the responsibility with the beginning of the current fiscal year; the $212,099.91 paid in legal bills since August 2014 have come out of the State Highway Fund.*

While Governor-elect Doug Ducey was publicly noncommittal about continuing the legal battle even after this month's setbacks, Governor Brewer's defiant order to pursue the appeal is committing the government to what could be at least another $100,000 in legal expenses.

* Review of bills paid as detailed by Arizona Open Books. Because the entries do not describe what legal matters they apply to, Arizona's Politics is making the assumption that all ADOT payments to Fennemore Craig are for the ADAC v. Brewer case, because ADOT did not (directly) retain Fennemore Craig in previous years, and the previous years' payments to Fennemore Craig from the Department of Administration promptly ended with the current fiscal year.

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