University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name National Council of La Raza v. Department of Justice IM-NY-0036
Docket / Court 1:03-cv-02559-LAK ( S.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Immigration
Case Summary
In 2003 a coalition of immigration rights organizations, represented by the ACLU Immigration Rights Project, brought suit against the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to compel production of internal DOJ policy memorandum relating to state and local police agency authority to enforce the federal ... read more >
In 2003 a coalition of immigration rights organizations, represented by the ACLU Immigration Rights Project, brought suit against the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to compel production of internal DOJ policy memorandum relating to state and local police agency authority to enforce the federal immigration laws. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and brought pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"), 5 U.S.C. § 552.

Until 2002, the DOJ's official position was that state and local police lacked inherent authority to enforce non-criminal immigration laws. That position changed in 2002 and was announced to the public in a press conference in June 2002 by then Attorney General John Ashcroft. During the press conference, the Attorney General referred to an unpublished DOJ Office of Legal Counsel Memorandum issued in April 2002. Plaintiffs sought production of the April 2002 OCL Memorandum and documents associated with it. The DOJ resisted disclosure and the litigation ensued.

The District Court (Judge Lewis A. Kaplan) granted the organizations' motion to compel disclosure of the April 2002 OCL Memorandum, with certain redactions, but denied disclosure of documents leading up to the formulation of that Memorandum. National Council of La Raza v. Department of Justice, 337 F.Supp.2d 524 (S.D.N.Y. 2004) and National Council, 345 F.Supp.2d 412 (S.D.N.Y. 2004).

The DOJ appealed and the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (Circuit Judge Katzmann) affirmed, overruling claims of deliberative process exemption and attorney-client privilege. National Council of La Raza v. Department of Justice, 411 F.3d 350 (2nd Cir. 2005) No further case activity is noted.

A redacted version of the April 2002 OCL Memorandum that was produced appears as part of our document collection for this case.

Elizabeth Daligga - 07/06/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Federalism
General
Records Disclosure
Immigration
Undocumented immigrants - state and local regulation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552
Defendant(s) U.S. Department of Justice
Plaintiff Description Public interest immigration organizations
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2004 - n/a
Case Closing Year 2005
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Threats to the Future of the Immigration Class Action
Washington University Journal of Law and Policy
By: Jill E. Family (Widener University School of Law)
Citation: 27 Wash. U. J.L. & Pol'y 71 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:03-cv-02559-LAK (S.D.N.Y.) 11/15/2005
IM-NY-0036-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
OCL - Memorandum for the Attorney General 04/03/2002
IM-NY-0036-0003.pdf | Detail
Complaint 04/14/2003
IM-NY-0036-0001.pdf | Detail
Memorandum Opinion 09/24/2004 (337 F.Supp.2d 524) (S.D.N.Y.)
IM-NY-0036-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Order 10/12/2004 (2004 WL 2283822) (S.D.N.Y.)
IM-NY-0036-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Memorandum Opinion 11/22/2004 (345 F.Supp.2d 412) (S.D.N.Y.)
IM-NY-0036-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Appellate Opinion 05/31/2005 (411 F.3d 350)
IM-NY-0036-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Feinberg, Wilfred (Second Circuit, S.D.N.Y.)
IM-NY-0036-0005
Kaplan, Lewis A. (S.D.N.Y.)
IM-NY-0036-0002 | IM-NY-0036-0004 | IM-NY-0036-0006 | IM-NY-0036-9000
Katzmann, Robert A. (Second Circuit)
IM-NY-0036-0005
Sack, Robert David (Second Circuit)
IM-NY-0036-0005
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Campos, Sara (California)
IM-NY-0036-0002 | IM-NY-0036-0004
Dunn, Christopher (New York)
IM-NY-0036-0001 | IM-NY-0036-0002 | IM-NY-0036-0004 | IM-NY-0036-0005
Eisenberg, Arthur (New York)
IM-NY-0036-0001 | IM-NY-0036-0002 | IM-NY-0036-0004 | IM-NY-0036-0005
Gelernt, Lee (New York)
IM-NY-0036-0005
Guttentag, Lucas (New York)
IM-NY-0036-0001 | IM-NY-0036-0002 | IM-NY-0036-0004 | IM-NY-0036-0005
Jadwat, Omar C. (New York)
IM-NY-0036-0001 | IM-NY-0036-0002 | IM-NY-0036-0003 | IM-NY-0036-0004 | IM-NY-0036-0005 | IM-NY-0036-9000
Joaquin, Linton (California)
IM-NY-0036-0005
Lieberman, Donna (New York)
IM-NY-0036-0001 | IM-NY-0036-0002 | IM-NY-0036-0004 | IM-NY-0036-0005
Wishnie, Michael J. (New York)
IM-NY-0036-0001 | IM-NY-0036-0002 | IM-NY-0036-0004 | IM-NY-0036-0005
Defendant's Lawyers Comey, James B. (New York)
IM-NY-0036-0002
Corwin, Neil M. (New York)
IM-NY-0036-0003 | IM-NY-0036-0005
Katsas, Gregory G. (District of Columbia)
IM-NY-0036-0005
Keisler, Peter D. (District of Columbia)
IM-NY-0036-0002 | IM-NY-0036-0005
Kelley, David N. (New York)
IM-NY-0036-0003 | IM-NY-0036-0004 | IM-NY-0036-0005
Letter, Douglas (District of Columbia)
IM-NY-0036-0005
Norman, Sarah S. (New York)
IM-NY-0036-9000
Normand, Susan S. (New York)
IM-NY-0036-0002 | IM-NY-0036-0004 | IM-NY-0036-0005
Shapiro, Elizabeth J. (District of Columbia)
IM-NY-0036-0002
Solet, Irene M. (District of Columbia)
IM-NY-0036-0005
Other Lawyers None on record

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