Friday, July 27, 2007

A Stateline story outlines some of the stakes of yesterday's Hazleton ruling:
Michael M. Hethman, a lawyer who helped write several aggressive anti-immigration laws, said the decision in the Hazleton, Pa. case, if it stands on appeal, would leave little room for states and cities to address immigration.
Hethman, who is general counsel for the Immigration Reform Law Institute, said Thursday the “sweeping” ruling also would discourage local and state governments from adopting new immigration-related laws until the legal questions are settled.
But the quarrel over the city's public policy and this ruling isn't over yet. One law professor--who seems an opponent of policies encouraging singular loyalty to the US above other nations and interested in exploring "beyond citizenship" [UPDATE: and he seems an opponent of the Hazleton ordinances, too]-would not be surprised if this ruling were reversed:
Peter J. Spiro, a professor at Temple University Beasley School of Law in Philadelphia, called the ruling a ''big win'' for the plaintiffs. ''They really couldn't have asked for much more from the district court,'' he said.

Still, Spiro said he would ''not be at all surprised'' if the decision were modified or reversed on appeal.

''This is a very unsettled area,'' he said. ''In the wake of failure of [immigration reform in Congress], I think the courts would be more likely to give jurisdictions a little more leeway to regulate matters related to immigration.''

Hazleton's legal team is optimistic that it will be able to overturn District Judge Munley's ruling on appeal and even felt that the city would lose this first court case:
The ruling did not catch the city by surprise, the mayor and his attorney said.
“It was clear we were not only battling (the plaintiffs in the case), but a hostile court as well,” Kobach said.
Kobach pointed to Munley’s decision to allow 10 plaintiffs in the country illegally to file anonymous depositions rather than testify as an example. He said the decision allowed them to “do things a legal U.S. citizen cannot do.”
“A legal U.S. citizen cannot sue a city and remain anonymous,” Kobach said. “But that is what this judge has allowed in this case.”
Several other decisions in aspects of the case served as notice the city would be an uphill battle, Kobach said.
More on the Hazleton's team's disagreements with the judge's ruling and its hopes for a successful appeal. Kobach, the lawyer for Hazleton, argues that, in certain points, Munley's decision is contradicted by the earlier rulings of other--higher--courts.