A federal court hearing Monday in Charleston will set into motion the U.S. Department of Justice’s legal challenge to South Carolina’s new immigration law. The law is supposed to go into effect January 1, 2012.
According to the state’s top attorney, it should still be allowed to happen until the issue is resolved by the courts.
“Why not allow the presumption to be that our law is valid in the meantime?” suggests Wilson.
Attorney General Alan Wilson and Gov. Nikki Haley have also asked that the federal court halt further hearings in the matter until the United States Supreme Court rules on Arizona’s law, because the two laws are so similar. The Supreme Court will take up the Arizona case this spring.
Attorney General Wilson says whatever happens in the Arizona case could be applied to South Carolina and the other states whose laws are being challenged by the Justice Department.
The state ACLU says it will fight Attorney General Wilson’s request at the federal hearing Monday.
In October,the U.S. Department of Justice filed a motion that argues South Carolina’s immigration provisions are preempted by federal law and violate the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution.
Wilson says that even though the two cases are on different judicial tracks right now, a ruling by the Supreme Court in Arizona is likely to resolve most or all of the issues. The state has filed an amicus brief supporting Arizona in its case.
“We will not be on the field with Arizona, but we’ll be sitting on the sidelines screaming our heads off in support of their law,” says Wilson.
Bill S.20 in South Carolina was signed by the governor in June of this year and is being challenged by the federal government and civil rights groups over concerns of racial profiling and requiring local officers to do the work of the federal government.