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."
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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.
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.