Federal judge again refuses to enjoin most of Alabama immigration law

[JURIST] A judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of Alabama on Wednesday denied [order, PDF] an emergency motion to issue a temporary injunction on those portions of Alabama's recently passed immigration law [HB 56 text] that the same judge last week ruled did not meet the requirements for a preliminary injunction. The plaintiffs in the case this week sought to temporarily enjoin the immigration law while they appeal last week's memorandum opinion, which refused to enjoin a majority of the law's provisions [JURIST report] during the trial in which the plaintiffs will ultimately seek to overturn the law entirely by challenging its constitutionality. Chief Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn cut through this procedural web by denying the whole of the emergency motion, citing precedent that an order for an injunction pending an appeal of an earlier decision on an injunction "is considered an 'extraordinary remedy'" requiring movants to show they have a substantial case likely to prevail on its merits:

For the reasons set forth in the court's Memorandum Opinion, the court finds that plaintiffs have not shown that they are "likely to prevail" nor that they have a "substantial case" on the merits. The court carefully and thoroughly reviewed all issues raised by the parties and its lengthy Memorandum Opinion represents the product of its time and effort. It does not foresee a "substantial" case for reversal. ... The court has found that plaintiffs are not likely to be able to show that Sections 10, 12, 27, 28, and 30 [of the law] are due to be enjoined. Alabama has an interest in enforcing laws properly enacted by its Legislature and not likely to be found unconstitutional.
Alternatively the plaintiffs requested a temporary injunction while they file the same motion for a temporary injunction with the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Blackburn denied that request as well.

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website], joined by several rights groups, appeared before the court last month [JURIST report] to make arguments against the law's enactment, at which point Blackburn issued the temporary injunction to forestall enactment of the challenged provisions while she evaluated their contention with federal statute. Religious groups and representatives of several rights groups including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) [advocacy websites] have stated that the Alabama law is the most extreme of the recent state anti-immigration laws influenced by controversial Arizona SB 1070 [JURIST news archive]. Alabama lawmakers have defended the legislation, which was signed into law [JURIST reports] in June. Since that time, 16 countries filed briefs [JURIST report] in the Alabama district court against the controversial law, arguing that it provides unfair treatment to citizens of those countries currently residing in Alabama and sanctions discriminatory treatment based on ethnicity.

 

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