This case is a consolidated action, consisting of two separately filed cases, that challenge the constitutionality of the recently-enacted Legal Arizona Workers Act (the “Act”). The Act requires Arizona employers to verify the employment eligibility of each employee through a federal verification program and established sanctions against Arizona employers that employed aliens who are not authorized to work.
The first case was filed on July 13, 2007 pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for Arizona by a consortium of Arizona construction and business associations and advocacy groups. It was styled Arizona Contractors Association, Inc. v Napolitano, CV07-1355- PHX-NVW. The second case was filed on September 4, 2007 by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the National Immigration Law Center, the ACLU Foundation Immigrants Rights Project and the Arizona ACLU. That case was styled Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc. v. Napolitano, CV07-1684-PHX-MHB.
The District Court (Judge Neil V. Wake) consolidated the cases on September 14, 2007.
Plaintiffs in the consolidated action alleged that the Act violated the Supremacy Clause of the U. S. Constitution, as it was preempted by federal immigration law and the federal government’s exclusive authority to regulate immigration. Plaintiffs also asserted that the Act violated the due process rights of employers and workers. The Arizona Contractors plaintiffs also asserted violations of the Commerce Clause, the Fourth Amendment and the Arizona state constitution. Prior to consolidation, plaintiffs had requested a preliminary injunction in each case. Defendants moved to dismiss the cases.
On December 7, 2007, the District Court (Judge Neil V. Wake) dismissed the consolidated cases for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, finding that there was no justiciable case or controversy against the named defendants, as they did not have the power to enforce the challenged Act. The Court noted that only county attorneys had that power. Plaintiffs appealed the judgment of dismissal and sought an injunction pending appeal.
In the wake of the dismissal, the consolidated plaintiffs filed two new lawsuits, naming the county attorneys as defendants. Those cases appear at IM-AZ-10 and IM-AZ-11 of this collection.
On December 21, 2007 the Court denied plaintiffs' motion for an injunction pending appeal. On September 17, 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment.
On May 26, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the lower court ruling and upheld the Arizona law. The case was renamed Chamber of Commerce of the United States v. Whiting in the Supreme Court. Elizabeth Daligga - 06/25/2012