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Bill enabling legislators to fight for immigration law in court gets hearing

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State senators who are fighting to go to court to defend parts of Indiana’s immigration law – a law that Attorney General Greg Zoeller concluded could not withstand constitutional scrutiny – will hear a bill Wednesday that would give them the power to defend their measures in such cases.

Senate Bill 280 would allow a bill’s author to intervene in a court case in which the constitutionality or enforcement of legislation is challenged. The bill sponsored by Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, will be heard at 9 a.m. Wednesday by the Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford, in Room 130 of the Statehouse.

Delph and Steele, along with Sen. Phil Boots, R-Crawfordsville, last year filed a motion to intervene in Buquer et al. v. City of Indianapolis et al, 1:11-cv-00708, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, after Zoeller said he could no longer defend portions of the law.

Delph sponsored Indiana’s immigration bill, SB 590, which was enacted in 2011. Last June, the U.S. Supreme Court in Arizona v. U.S. struck down much of Arizona’s immigration law, which was the model for Indiana’s legislation. As a result, Zoeller said he no longer would defend warrantless arrest provisions in Indiana’s law challenged in Buquer.

The senators argued in court briefs in Buquer that after Zoeller declined to defend the law, Delph, Steele and Boots “remain the only interested parties who are ready and willing to defend their core legislative interests in the full implementation of the duly enacted law.”

The AG’s office says in court motions that state law is clear: The office represents the interests of state government.

“These three individual senators seek to inject themselves into this litigation in their official capacities, in order to espouse their legal views on the issues at hand. The senators have hired private counsel to represent these views to the Court. This is not permitted by Indiana law,” the AG’s office argued in a filing in October.

Judge Sarah Evans Barker has set no further hearing dates in the Buquer case.

“We are supportive of current law that allows the attorney general to determine the legal position the state takes to court and, under certain circumstances, allows for legislative leadership representing the Legislature as a whole to hire outside counsel, but not individual members,” said Bryan Corbin, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office. “We believe this system has served the state well.”

 

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  1. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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