Both the Anti-Defamation League and the nation of Mexico have filed separate amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs in the big anti-SB 1070 lawsuit that the ACLU, MALDEF, the NAACP and other groups filed in federal district court on May 17 against Arizona's counties.
The complaint, known as Friendly House, et al. vs. Whiting, et al. challenges the constitutionality of Arizona's new "papers, please" immigration legislation and seeks a preliminary injunction to prevent the law from going into effect July 29.
Amicus briefs are filed by those not a party to the case, but who have reason to believe the outcome will impact them in some way. They offer testimony from an interested source, and often argue for one result or another. Unofficially, it's a way of "lobbying" the court.
The ADL, one of the leading nongovernmental organizations that advocates on behalf of victims of hate crimes, argues that SB 1070 will cause "irreparable harm to the enforcement of hate crimes legislation in Arizona."
Indeed, the ADL believes that SB 1070 will "drive a wedge between law enforcement" and the communities that hate crime legislation is intend to protect.
"Unless its enforcement is enjoined," states the ADL's amicus brief, "SB 1070 will create an underclass of people who have no meaningful access to police services out of fear that their perceived immigration status -- whether relevant or not -- will subject them to heightened law enforcement scrutiny whenever they come in contact with police."
You can read the ADL's amicus brief in its entirety, here.
Mexico's amicus curiae is longer and a bit more involved, by comparison to the ADL's. Mexico's brief contends that SB 1070 will hurt trade and tourism between the U.S. and Mexico, derail the drive for comprehensive immigration reform, and disrupt a U.S.-Mexico partnership to combat the drug cartels.
In general, Mexico argues that SB 1070 stymies good relations between the two countries.
The legal filing also asserts that Mexico has "a substantial and compelling interest in protecting its citizens and ensuring that their ethnicity is not used as basis for state-sanctioned acts of discrimination..."
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You can eyeball Mexico's amicus curiae, here.
Governor Jan Brewer reacted quickly and shrilly to Mexico's amicus curiae. Her office released a statement that reads, in part,
"Despite false assertions and factual inaccuracies expressed by the country of Mexico in their recent brief filed in U.S. federal court, Arizona's immigration enforcement laws are both reasonable and constitutional. They mirror what has been federal law in the United States for many decades, and they have built-in and clear protections for civil rights."
Fortunately, Brewer -- with her severely limited education and intellect, her accidental governorship, and her cheap political opportunism -- is not the final arbiter of such matters. The court is, and the big question remains: Will the court step in and enjoin the law before July 29? That is, before the damage begins in earnest.