State Capitol News
9:19 am
Thu February 28, 2008

Court refuses to block employer sanctions law

Phoenix, AZ – A federal appeals court refused today to bar prosecutors from
enforcing the state's new employer sanctions law while they hear
arguments on its legality. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer
reports.

Earlier this month a trial judge in Phoenix rejected a series of
challenges to the law which lets state courts suspend or revoke
all licenses and permits of any firm found guilty of knowingly
hiring undocumented workers. Judge Neil Wake rejected the
contention of business groups that the statute, which took effect
Jan. 1, infringes on the exclusive right of the federal
government to regulate immigration. The challengers then asked
the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to block prosecutors from
bringing charges against anyone while they review Wake's ruling.
The appellate judges said no. David Selden, one of the lead
attorneys for the businesses, said he doesn't see this as a major
setback.

(To get an emergency injunction you've got to tip the scales very
heavily at the outset in your favor. Obviously we would have
preferred to win this motion. But we're still optimistic that
when the litigation is over this will all be declared
unconstitutional.)

Selden said the judges agreed to a quick review -- at least by
judicial standards. But even at that, a decision is unlikely
before the end of the summer -- meaning some company could find
itself in court charged with breaking the law before its legality
is finally adjudicated. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard
Fischer.