Feathered Bastard

Jan Brewer Broadens Hateful Driver's License Ban Beyond DREAMers

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Well, on Tuesday, Brewer removed all doubt with a filing in federal court as part of her defense of her 2012 executive order preventing law-abiding DREAMers, brought to this country while tots, from obtaining licenses to drive.

See, before Brewer's order, the Arizona Department of Transportation issued driver's licenses to all persons granted deferred action by the feds.

As proof of their deferred status, applicants were required to present a federally-issued employment authorization card, proving they were "authorized under federal law" to remain in the United States.

But in a fit of political spite aimed at the Obama administration, Brewer issued her executive order carving out an exception in ADOT policy, so as to deny DREAMers driver's licenses.

Brewer made clear her bigoted intent on the day of her executive order, declaring in her semi-illiterate way, that the policy meant, "No driver's license to illegal people [sic]."

As a result, the ACLU and other civil rights groups sued on behalf of the Arizona Dream Act Coalition, seeking a preliminary injunction against the governor's order on the grounds that it violated the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution as well as the 14th Amendment's guarantee of equal protection under the law.

In May, U.S. District Court Judge David G. Campbell ruled against ADAC on the Supremacy Clause claim, dismissing it entirely.

But he rejected Brewer and ADOT's request for dismissal on the equal protection claim, agreeing with the plaintiffs that, "DACA recipients are similarly situated to other noncitizens holding [EACs] who are eligible to obtain driver's licenses in Arizona."

Campbell found that the claim fell short of the high bar for an injunction, while stating that the plaintiffs were likely to prevail in their assertion that Brewer's order was discriminatory.

Faced with an inevitable loss, Brewer and ADOT told the court that they would be reviewing state regulations, signaling a possible change.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons