Lawyers target what's left of SB 1070

PHOENIX, AZ - The state's controversial immigration law returned to a courtroom Tuesday.

Lawyers for several civil rights groups argued Judge Susan Bolton should block the so-called "show your papers" provision of Senate Bill 1070.

It's the part of the law that allows police officers to question someone they've stopped about their legal status if they suspect that person entered the country illegally.

Lawyers for several civil rights groups say that's unconstitutional.

Inside the federal courthouse in downtown Phoenix Tuesday morning, the lawyers argued that the US Supreme Court was only asked to rule on whether SB 1070 was trumped by federal law and not whether it's constitutional.

The plaintiff's attorneys pointed to several reasons as to why it's not constitutional.

One of their main arguments was that race played a role in why state lawmakers and Governor Jan Brewer passed SB 1070 in the first place.

They referred to e-mails from former State Senator Russell Pearce that lawyers argued could be considered racist.

Lawyers for the civil rights groups also argued that section 2(B) of SB 1070 is unconstitutional because it unfairly targets Hispanics more than any other group.

"There's no doubt the legislature understood when they passed this law the people who would be harmed by it and suffer would be Latinos," said Karen Tumlin, an attorney representing the plaintiffs.

"If Hispanics happen to be the people who are the highest percentage who come across the border illegally, believe it or not, they're probably the highest percentage who will be prosecuted under the statutes," countered John Bouma, an attorney representing Governor Jan Brewer.

At the end of the hearing, Judge Bolton told both sides she's taking everything under advisement.

There's no timetable as to when she might issue a ruling.

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