Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's lawsuit against the state's voter-approved medical marijuana law should be dismissed by the court, says the U.S. Justice Department.
In a motion filed in U.S. District Court today, lawyers for the United States government argue that the legal action filed by Brewer in May against her own state's law attempts to invent controversy and improperly seeks advice from the court system.
The motion begins with a preamble citing a U.S. Supreme Court opinion that demands caution and the threat of imminent harm to someone when considering the possibility of using federal powers to strike down legislation. A summary of the government position follows:
"Their complaint presents no actual controversy, instead asking this Court for an advisory opinion as to a hypothetical dispute in which Plaintiffs themselves pick no side but rather resort to a purported disagreement among various fictional Defendants.
Moreover, Plaintiffs lack standing to raise even that claim, because they have not alleged any actual injury to the interests of the State. The claim they present is not ripe for review, as they point to no genuine threat that any state employee will face imminent prosecution under federal law. And they ask this Court to consider whether a state law is unconstitutional - a question that the Supreme Court cautions should be answered only when necessary.
For these reasons, the Court lacks jurisdiction and this case should be dismissed."
Assuming a judge approves the motion, the only question then will be how much effort anti-pot crusaders Brewer and state Attorney General Tom Horne will put into an appeal. With public funds at their disposal and strong personal feelings against the law, Brewer and Horne may well keep trying to thwart the will of voters.
Or, they may throw in the towel and go the route of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican who recently decided that -- despite his feelings -- he'd go ahead and implement a state law that allows medical marijuana dispensaries.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Read the entire motion below: