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Case Name Thomas v. Henry IM-OK-0002
Docket / Court CJ 2008 00046 ( State Court )
State/Territory Oklahoma
Case Type(s) Immigration
Case Summary
On January 3, 2008, an Oklahoma taxpayer filed suit in the Tulsa County District Court for the State of Oklahoma, challenging the newly enacted Oklahoma state immigration law - HB 1804 ("Oklahoma Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act of 2007"). The Act made it a felony crime for a person who, ... read more >
On January 3, 2008, an Oklahoma taxpayer filed suit in the Tulsa County District Court for the State of Oklahoma, challenging the newly enacted Oklahoma state immigration law - HB 1804 ("Oklahoma Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act of 2007"). The Act made it a felony crime for a person who, knowingly or in reckless disregard of an alien's status, transported, harbored or concealed any undocumented immigrant. It also required state and local agencies and public employers to verify applicants' resident status and to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. Plaintiff's suit alleged that the Act violated the Oklahoma Constitution in that it effectively created "a Bureau of Immigration and allow[ed] for the appropriation and expenditure of public funds."

This state court suit followed a challenge to the Act in federal court. The federal court case, National Coalition of Latino Clergy, Inc. v. Henry (N.D.Ok.) [IM-OK-1 of this collection], alleged that the Act violated the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The federal suit was dismissed for lack of standing, refiled, and dismissed again.

The defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss on January 23, 2008, claiming that the plaintiff lacked standing, but the court denied that motion on April 3, 2008. Plaintiff then filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, which the court granted in part, finding that certain sections of the Act were unconstitutional and could be severed from the remaining portions of the Act.

The second named defendant, the Board of County Commissioners of Tulsa County, was dismissed through stipulation of the parties on April 9, 2008. The plaintiff appealed the trial court's decision to sever certain portions of the Act, and the remaining defendant, the Governor of the State of Oklahoma, filed a cross-appeal, arguing that the plaintiff lacked standing.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court issued a per curiam opinion on June 14, 2011, affirming in part and reversing in part. The court found that the trial court correctly denied the motion to dismiss based on standing because there was sufficient involvement of public funds to warrant taxpayer standing to challenge the Act. The court reversed the trial court only insofar as eliminating one section of the Act, Section 5(C), which altered the presumption for bail in criminal cases where the defendant was a foreign national. With regard to the constitutional challenges, the state supreme court referenced another challenge to the Act in federal court, Chamber of Commerce of the United States v. Edmondson (IM-OK-0003 of this collection). In that case, the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed the issuance of a preliminary injunction enjoining enforcement of two sections of the Act because the plaintiffs were likely to prevail on their challenges based on the Supremacy Clause.

Following the mandate from the Oklahoma Supreme Court, the trial court closed the case on October 5, 2011. For more information on challenges to the Act, see IM-OK-0001 and IM-OK-0003 of this collection.

Elizabeth Daligga - 07/11/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Government Services (specify)
Racial profiling
Immigration
Criminal prosecution
Undocumented immigrants - state and local regulation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action State law
Defendant(s) Board of County Commissioners Tulsa County
State of Oklahoma
Plaintiff Description Oklahoma taxpayer challenging Oklahoma state immigration law
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Unknown
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Declaratory Judgment
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing IM-OK-0001 : National Coalition of Latino Clergy, Inc. v. Henry (N.D. Okla.)
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)
CJ-2008-46 (State Trial Court) 10/05/2011
IM-OK-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
State Court Website
SD-107201 (State Supreme Court) 03/29/2012
IM-OK-0002-9001.pdf | Detail
State Court Website
General Documents
Oklahoma Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act of 2007 04/16/2007
IM-OK-0002-0002.pdf | Detail
Petition for Declaratory Judgment and Injunction 01/03/2008
IM-OK-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Opinion 06/14/2011 (260 P.3d 1251)
IM-OK-0002-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Bloomberg Law
Judges Sellers, Jefferson D. (State Trial Court)
IM-OK-0002-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Frasier, James E. (Oklahoma)
IM-OK-0002-0001 | IM-OK-0002-9000
Hickman, Steven R. (Oklahoma)
IM-OK-0002-0001 | IM-OK-0002-9001
Thomas, James C. (Oklahoma)
IM-OK-0002-0001 | IM-OK-0002-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Dunn, James Dashiell (Oklahoma)
IM-OK-0002-9000
McClure, Kevin Lynn (Oklahoma)
IM-OK-0002-9000
Rinehart, Sandra D. (Oklahoma)
IM-OK-0002-9000 | IM-OK-0002-9001
Weitman, M. Daniel (Oklahoma)
IM-OK-0002-9000 | IM-OK-0002-9001
Other Lawyers None on record

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