U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton has denied the state of Arizona's motions to dismiss a legal challenge to SB 1070 by Friendly House, a social-service agency for immigrants.
The Friendly House lawsuit is a separate action from the challenge to SB 1070 by the U.S. Justice Department being considered by the U.S. Supreme Court, and seeks certification as a class-action to prevent discrimination against Hispanics.
Lawyers for the state of Arizona and Governor Jan Brewer had argued that the plaintiffs, including a pastor whose church provides food and shelter to illegal immigrants, don't have standing in the case.
Bolton disagreed, and also wrote in her order that a motion to deny the potential class-action status of the case would be premature. (See below for order.)
A hearing with oral arguments on whether the individual plaintiffs could sue as a class will be held before Bolton on June 4.
Dan Pochoda, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, says Bolton's ruling today was important -- mainly because if the judge had ruled the other way, "we would not have had anything to hear on June 4."
The case has been on a slow track because it challenges provisions that Judge Bolton had put the kibosh on, like the "papers, please" aspect of the law.
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The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue its opinion on SB 1070 by the end of June. If it upholds the law, the opinion "would revive our suit in a dramatic way," says Pochoda.