Late Friday night as the Memorial Day weekend began, Arizona’s Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, in effect, suspended the state’s Democratic attorney general from defending the new law in upcoming legal challenges.
State Attorney General (Democrat) Terry Goddard vocally opposed the bill. The Arizona legislature voted to allow Gov. Brewer to hire outside lawyers to defend the law in court.
On Friday, Goddard met with the Obama administration’s Atty. Gen. Eric Holder in Washington, then held a news conference just hours before Brewer’s handpicked attorneys were to meet with Holder, an outspoken critic of the law.
Brewer said, “I believe the federal government should use its legal resources to fight illegal immigration, not the State of Arizona.”
Seeing apparent collusion between the two Democrat lawyers, Brewer pulled the plug Friday night.
Full text of Statement by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer
Today the legal team I have appointed to defend the State of Arizona in the legal challenges to Arizona’s new immigration laws met with senior officials from the United States Department of Justice. The meeting was held at the request of the U.S. Department of Justice.
The Department attorneys were advised that I believe the federal government should use its legal resources to fight illegal immigration, not the State of Arizona.
They were further advised that on behalf of the State of Arizona, I will ensure the immigration laws we passed are vigorously defended all the way to the United States Supreme Court if necessary.Arizona state Flag
For some inexplicable reason, the Department of Justice officials met with the Arizona Attorney General hours before meeting with the State of Arizona’s legal team, and then allowed the Attorney General to hold a press conference to discuss the meeting.
This level of coordination between the Attorney General and the Obama Administration is disturbingly similar to the coordination with Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords earlier this week on President Obama’s still unclear plan to deploy up to 1,200 National Guard troops to the border.
Due to the Attorney General’s opposition to Arizona’s immigration laws as set forth in S.B. 1070, the Legislature required Attorney General Goddard to act at the direction of the Governor in any challenge to S.B. 1070 as amended by H.B. 2162. The Legislature also gave the Governor authority to hire outside counsel if necessary to defend the law on behalf of the State instead of using the Attorney General.
The Legislature gave me this authority because of its lack of confidence in the Attorney General’s willingness to vigorously defend this legislation that is so critical to protecting the safety and welfare of Arizona’s citizens. Last year, I instructed the Attorney General to change his position on behalf of the State of Arizona in the Horne v. Flores case involving a challenge to the Arizona’s English language learner laws. He refused and the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately rejected his position.
Due to Attorney General Goddard’s curious coordination with the U.S. Department of Justice today and his consistent opposition to Arizona’s new immigration laws, I will direct my legal team to defend me and the State of Arizona rather than the Attorney General in the lawsuits challenging Arizona’s immigration laws.
“Lack of confidence in the Attorney General’s willingness to vigorously defend this legislation…”
With the law enjoying overwhelming support in Arizona, I think Goddard’s chances in November are pretty slim.