Gavel Grab

Archive for the 'Immigration' Category

ABA: Resources Needed for Immigration Courts

The nation’s immigration system is in “crisis” with courts struggling to cope with mounting caseloads, an American Bar Association representative told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“Our immigration system is in crisis, overburdened and under-resourced, leading to the frustration of those responsible for its administration and endangering due process for those who appear before it,” Karen Grisez, chair of the ABA Commission on Immigration, told the panel written testimony, according to an ABA Journal article.

Between 1996 and 2009 the number of non-citizens removed from the country increased more than 450 percent, she testified, without any commensurate additional resources for immigration courts.

The ABA has urged U.S. lawmakers to eliminate the existing immigration courts system and replace it with a new, independent court. You can learn more about those ABA recommendations from Gavel Grab. The ABA is a Justice at Stake partner.

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AZ Plans Immigration Appeal to High Court

Arizona will ask the Supreme Court to lift an injunction that enjoined the most controversial sections of the state’s new immigration law from taking effect, Gov. Jan Brewer (photo) announced Monday.

“The decision of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold the suspension of key provisions of Senate Bill 1070 does harm to the safety and well-being of all Arizonans, who suffer the negative effects of illegal immigration,” Brewer said, according to an Arizona Republic article.

“So instead of appealing to the larger, en banc panel of the 9th Circuit Court, my legal team will soon file an immediate petition with the (United States) Supreme Court to lift the injunction of Senate Bill 1070.” An earlier ruling, upholding the injunction, came from a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit.

To learn about U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton’s ruling and injunction last year, check out Gavel Grab. She received hate mail and death threats after issuing her decision.

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Monday Gavel Grab Briefs

In these other dispatches about fair and impartial courts:

  • A panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton’s ruling last year that enjoined the most controversial sections of Arizona’s new immigration law from taking effect, according to a Los Angeles Times article. To learn about her ruling, see Gavel Grab.
  • Iowa Supreme Court Justice Tom Waterman, newly appointed to the court, used a panel discussion to defend Iowa’s merit system of selecting judges. He was critical of judicial selection in neighboring Illinois, where state Supreme Court justices are elected, according to a Quad-City Times article. Justice Waterman said, “Across the river, millions of dollars are poured into races and lawyers and judges are making promises.”
  • A judicial selection reform plan floated by retired Michigan Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Weaver should be put “on the front burner” for discussion by lawmakers, said an editorial in the Livingston (Mich.) Daily.
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Thursday Gavel Grab Briefs

In these other dispatches about fair and impartial courts:

  • As another installment in a series, the Associated Press published an article entitled, “How to fix ‘massive crisis’ in immigration courts.”
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the controversial judicial nomination of law professor Goodwin Liu for the third time in a year, although his Republican critics were unforgiving about Liu’s criticisms of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, the Blog of Legal Times reported. The panel also approved the nomination of Paul Oetken for a district court judgeship in New York (see Gavel Grab for articles about Liu or Oetken).
  • “‘Advice and consent’ means voting, not obstructing,” declared the headline for a Fort Worth Star-Telegram editorial about the judicial nomination of John J. McConnell of Rhode Island, and the posture of Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, regarding it.
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Wednesday Gavel Grab Briefs

In these other dispatches about fair and impartial courts:

  • “Immigration court: Troubled system, long waits” is the headline for an Associated Press report that launches a multiple-part series.
  • If the federal government shuts down due to a budget impasse in Washington, there would be no visible disruption of the federal courts for two weeks, the Blog of Legal Times quoted a federal judiciary spokesman as saying.
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote Thursday on approving President Obama’s nomination of J. Paul Oetken to a district court judgeship in New York, the Washington Blade reported. If confirmed, Oetken could become the first openly gay male on the federal bench.
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Tuesday Gavel Grab Briefs

In these other dispatches about fair and impartial courts:

  • A doomsday legal manual published in New York is intended to serve “as a guide for judges and lawyers who could face grim questions in another terrorist attack, a major radiological or chemical contamination or a widespread epidemic,” the New York Times reported.
  • The House of Representatives tried a second time (see Gavel Grab) and this time succeeded in passing a bill to extend key provisions of the USA Patriot Act, the nation’s central counterterrorism law, to Dec. 8. The Senate is expected to pass the House measure, according to a New York Times article.
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Wednesday Gavel Grab Briefs

In these other dispatches about fair and impartial courts:

  • Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan wrote her first opinion, siding with a credit card company in a bankruptcy case, and as is typically the case for a freshman justice, it was not a dramatic or remarkably important case, the Los Angeles Times reported.
  • Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy said the Senate would act quickly to confirm judicial nominees who were blocked at the end of 2010, according to a Washington Times article.
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Justices Weigh AZ Employer Sanctions Law

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday over challenges to an Arizona statute that threatens to punish businesses if they knowingly hire illegal immigrant workers.

While the federal government generally has authority over immigration, lawyers for Arizona argued that the federal government’s failure to do its job required the state to act, according to an Associated Press article.

The Arizona law was challenged by business interests and civil liberties groups, who were supported by the Obama administration. Critics say the Arizona law amounts to a “business death penalty” and infringes on the national government, according to a McClatchy report about the case, which is entitled U.S. Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting.

Some reporters interpreted the justices’ questioning and remarks Wednesday as indicating the high court will uphold Arizona’s statute.

“The Supreme Court offered tenuous support” for the law, reported CNN. The AP said the court appeared “likely…to sustain” the law, and Lyle Denniston wrote in SCOTUSblog of “indications that Arizona’s anti-immigration law will survive its challenge in the Court.” Read more

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Appeals Court: Regulating Immigrants is Federal Domain

Regulating immigrants is “clearly within the exclusive domain of the federal government,” a federal appeals court said in ruling that Hazleton, Pa. may not enforce its crackdown on illegal immigrants.

“It is … not our job to sit in judgment of whether state and local frustration about federal immigration policy is warranted. We are, however, required to intervene when states and localities directly undermine the federal objectives embodied in statutes enacted by Congress,” wrote Chief Judge Theodore McKee of the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, according to an Associated Press article.

Not all appeals courts have agreed whether states and municipalities may enforce laws involving immigration. The U.S. Supreme Court plans to hear debate over an Arizona law barring businesses from knowingly employing illegal immigrants.

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Hate Mail, Death Threats for AZ Judge

A federal judge has received hate mail and death threats after she put the most controversial parts of Arizona’s immigration law on hold. Her decision thrust her into a national spotlight.

Federal District Judge Susan R. Bolton halted the most controversial parts of the law from taking effect (see Gavel Grab). On Thursday, Arizona asked the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to lift her order.

The U.S. Marshals Service in Phoenix said the judge got death threats as emotions ran high over the divisive ruling, and demonstrators took to the streets, according to a New York Times article.

Some messages sent to Judge Bolton by phone calls and e-mails were positive but others were “from people venting and who have expressed their displeasure in a perverted way,” the Associated Press quoted David Gonzales, the U.S. Marshal for Arizona, as saying.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Republican, said on the Fox News program Fox & Friends that the judge was “in many ways is responsible” if “anyone in Arizona gets hurt during this intervening period,” according to Media Matters for America, a media watchdog group. Here are Gingrich’s words, as reported by Media Matters: Read more

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