Senator Russell Pearce makes a case for SB 1070

PHOENIX - A federal judge considering a challenge to Arizona's immigration enforcement law is also considering allowing the legislature to have their own force of attorneys on the immigration battle front.

U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton stopped SB1070 from going into full effect last July and now is questioning why legislators would need their own team of lawyers separate from the state if they share the same interest.

"We're here to try and articulate as best as possible on behalf of the legislature, why this statute should be allowed to go into effect in full," said Attorney Paul Orfanedes, who will be representing the Arizona legislature if Judge Bolton allows it.

SB 1070's sponsor, Senator Russell Pearce sat in the front row of the courtroom shaking his head in what looked like agitation as Bolton questioned Orfanedes as to why he needs to be part of the proceedings.

"The state itself has said it wants the legislature to have its own seat at the table," Orfanedes said.

Bolton held off making a decision on the motion and seemed surprised when all parties, including attorneys for Governor Jan Brewer, agreed to continuing the stay on major parts of SB1070 until the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals delivers a decision.

"I think there was a fair amount of skepticism on the 9th circuit about the aspect of the preliminary injunction, so it would seem to make sense to get some guidance out of the 9th circuit before this case proceeds further," Orfanedes said.

But no one knows when the 9th Circuit judges will reach their decision.

Bolton also ruled to allow lawyers to continue litigating a counter-lawsuit that Brewer filed against the federal government as part of that case.

Brewer sued the federal government for allegedly failing to secure the border.

The bill, authored by Pearce, required law enforcement officers to verify the immigration status of people they stop, require illegal immigrants to carry registration papers at all times and made it illegal for immigrants to apply for accept jobs in Arizona, among other measures.

The legislation garnered national attention, drawing the attention of the Obama Administration which called the measure "unconstitutional."

Carissa Hessick, a law professor from ASU's Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law joined Now@9 to discuss Friday's hearing.

Watch the discussion on this story by viewing the attached Now@9 video
 

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