In late December, a Federal judge tossed Crazy Uncle Joe Arpaio’s frivolous lawsuit challenging president Obama’s executive orders on immigration.
U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell warned in an opinion (.pdf) that while Arpaio’s lawsuit brings up important issues, the sheriff couldn’t file the suit because he hasn’t suffered direct harm from Obama’s executive actions.
“The role of the Judiciary is to resolve cases and controversies properly brought by parties with a concrete and particularized injury— not to engage in policymaking better left to the political branches,” Howell said.
“The plaintiff’s case raises important questions regarding the impact of illegal immigration on this Nation, but the questions amount to generalized grievances which are not proper for the Judiciary to address.”
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Howell’s decision went on to note that Arpaio has no authority to enforce national immigration laws — he’s a local sheriff — and that his alleged harm is “largely speculative.”
Naturally, there was an appeal filed. Last Monday, Crazy Uncle Joe Arpaio and his disreputable attorney Larry Klayman from Freedom Watch were in front of the U.S. Court of Appeals for District of Columbia. CNN reported, Second round for Arizona sheriff’s case against Obama immigration orders:
A federal appeals court on Monday heard the latest series of arguments in an Arizona Sheriff’s challenge to President Barack Obama’s executive orders on immigration.
The attorney representing Maricopa County’s controversy-prone Sheriff Joe Arpaio urged the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to reverse a district judge’s December ruling and allow the case to proceed.
Attorney Larry Klayman urged the three-judge panel Monday not to consider the case as a political dispute, but rather one about “whether the law is being enforced or not” — which both conservatives and liberal should support, he said.
But while Klayman argued Monday that the case is anything but political in nature, the attorney laid out the case against Obama’s executive orders in the same terms Republicans have slammed Obama’s immigration actions.
Like Republicans, Klayman repeatedly drew on Obama’s past comments that he is “not the emperor” and did not have the power to stave off deportation through executive action to argue that Obama changed his stance for political expediency.
Klayman also argued that Obama “usurped” the power of Congress and that the two orders — known as DACA and DAPA — amounted to rule-making and not simply a change in policy.
“We have a republic here and if you don’t like the law, you don’t get to just change it,” Klayman argued Monday. “(Obama) has put himself above Congress.”
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In an attempt to veer from the political, Klayman, who has said he believes Obama is “an illegal alien” who should be deported, argued that he was pro-immigration and even pointed out that his ex-wife is Latina.
Klayman added that he has never heard Arpaio — whom he considers a friend — ever say anything negative about Latinos or immigrants. A U.S. District Court rules two years ago that Arpaio and his officers engaged in racial profiling against Latino drivers.
The federal judges on Monday focused most of their questioning on determining whether Arpaio had standing to pursue his case against Obama.
Klayman argued that Arpaio’s jails have been burdened because of Obama’s executive actions, claiming that Obama’s executive orders are preventing undocumented criminals in Maricopa County jails from being deported.
While Obama’s orders prevent undocumented immigrants convicted of “serious crimes” from seeking relief from deportation, Klayman argued that those convicted of lesser crimes would be allowed to stay in the U.S.
The judges on Monday repeatedly pressed Klayman on establishing a direct link between inmates in Arpaio’s jails and Obama’s specific immigration orders and seemed unsatisfied with Klayman’s responses.
Deputy Assistant Attorney General Beth Brinkman, who argued the government’s case, insisted that as a third party, Arpaio did not have standing to pursue his case.
Brinkman also leaned on Supreme Court case precedent to argue that disagreements over immigration policies should be worked out between the legislative and executive branches, and not decided by the courts.
Reuters reported, U.S. appeals court skeptical on Arizona sheriff’s immigration lawsuit:
A federal appeals court on Monday appeared to cast doubt on an Arizona sheriff’s lawsuit that contends President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration are unconstitutional.
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Two of the three judges weighing the case at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit signaled some agreement with a D.C. federal judge who ruled in late December that Arpaio lacked standing to sue, a provision in U.S. law that means he has to prove he has been directly harmed.
“I wasn’t entirely clear … there is no suspension of deportation with respect to those people,” Judge Nina Pillard, an Obama appointee, said to Arpaio’s lawyer Larry Klayman.
They are more likely to be deported, she added.
Judge Sri Srinivasan, also appointed by Obama, took a similar line, saying the executive actions “don’t purport to relax anything to do with criminals.
[Arch-conservative] Judge Janice Brown, appointed by President George W. Bush, said it was “difficult to pin down” Arpaio’s legal argument for grounds to sue but also questioned the government’s motion to dismiss.
“I think the question for me here is one argument might be if you didn’t make it so attractive … maybe less people would come, maybe more people would self deport,” Brown said.
The Court of Appeals should uphold the U.S. District Court Order if they are following the rule of law.
The separate action by 26 states in the U.S. District Court for Texas, for which the injunction entered by the judge is on appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, is still pending. A decision could come any time, and is likely to be appealed to the U.S. Surpreme Court.