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Case Name Chamber of Commerce of the United States v. Whiting IM-AZ-0013
Docket / Court 2:07-cv-02496 ( D. Ariz. )
State/Territory Arizona
Case Type(s) Immigration
Attorney Organization MALDEF
Case Summary
This case is the reincarnation of a previously filed suit challenging the constitutionality of the Legal Arizona Workers Act (the "Act"). The District Court (Judge Wake) dismissed that suit, Arizona Contractors Assoc., Inc. v. Napolitano, on December 7, 2007 for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. ... read more >
This case is the reincarnation of a previously filed suit challenging the constitutionality of the Legal Arizona Workers Act (the "Act"). The District Court (Judge Wake) dismissed that suit, Arizona Contractors Assoc., Inc. v. Napolitano, on December 7, 2007 for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The court found that there was no justiciable case or controversy against the Governor or Attorney General, as they did not have the power to enforce the challenged Act. The court noted that only county attorneys had that power.

Immediately after the dismissal of Arizona Contractors, on December 9, 2007, a coalition of trade organizations and Arizona employers filed a lawsuit under 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201 and 2201 in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona, Phoenix division [Arizona Contractors Ass'n v. Candelaria, 07-2496]. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel at this stage, asked the court for injunctive and declaratory relief and attorney's fees, challenging the constitutionality of the Act. The Act required 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 were not authorized to work. The Act provides the Superior Court of the State of Arizona with the power to suspend or revoke the business licenses of employers who intentionally or knowingly employ illegal aliens. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that the Act was pre-empted by federal immigration law.

A companion case was also re-filed on December 12, 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. [Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc. v. Goddard, 2:07-cv-02518-SMM]. The District Court (Judge Neil V. Wake) consolidated these two remaining cases on December 14, 2007.

Plaintiffs in the consolidated action alleged, as they had in the previously filed case, 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 Contractor 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 February 7, 2008 Judge Wake found that federal immigration law did not preempt the Act, and it did not violate the Due Process Clause or the Commerce Clause. Arizona Contractors Ass'n, Inc. v. Candalaria, 534 F.Supp.2d 1036 (2008). Specifically, Judge Wake found that Section 1324a(h)(2) of the federal Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) expressly authorized the Act at issue in this case. The relevant section of the federal statute reads "the provisions of this section preempt any State or local law imposing civil or criminal sanctions (other than through licensing and similar laws) upon those who employ, or recruit or refer for a fee for employment, unauthorized aliens." Judge Wake found that the Act was a licensing or similar law and thus fell within the federal statute's savings clause. Furthermore, Judge Wake held that the Act's requirement of mandatory use of the federal E-Verify program did not conflict with federal objects or purposes, even though Congress had decided to make the program optional.

On appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, the plaintiffs renewed their argument that federal law expressly preempted the Act. Moreover, the Act's mandatory requirement to use E-Verify, the plaintiffs contended, was impliedly preempted by federal law because it conflicts with the policies envisioned in the voluntary nature of the program under federal law. On September 17, 2008 the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit (Judges Mary M. Schroeder, John M. Walker, Jr., and N. Randy Smith) affirmed the District Court's finding Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc. v. Napolitano, 558 F.3d 856 (2008). In doing so, the Court of Appeals held that federal immigration law did not preempt the Act. The court explained that the Act was not expressly preempted because it fell within ICRA's savings clause allowing for state licensing and similar laws to regulate the employment of unauthorized aliens. Moreover, the court found that federal law does not impliedly preempt the Act's provision mandating the use of E-Verify. The court found it telling that "Congress could have, but did not, expressly forbid state laws from requiring E-Verify participation."

On appeal to the United States Supreme Court, the Chamber of Commerce of the United States and the named petitioners of the consolidated cases that made it to the Supreme Court, argued that the Court of Appeals had misinterpreted ICRA's savings clause and consequently had incorrectly ruled that the Act was not preempted. Furthermore, the petitioners argued that even if the Act was not expressly preempted by ICRA, federal law impliedly preempted it because it conflicted with the structure and function of federal law. The respondents replied in their brief that the Court of Appeals had been correct when it held that federal law did not preempt the Act.

On May 26, 2011 the United States Supreme Court, in an opinion delivered by Chief Justice Roberts, affirmed the Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit's judgment. Chamber of Commerce of the United States v. Whiting, 131 S.Ct. 1968 (2011). In doing so, the Court held that the Act fell within ICRA's savings clause and was thus not expressly preempted by federal law. Specifically the Court found that "The Arizona law, on its face, purports to impose sanctions through licensing laws[,]" which placed it squarely within ICRA's savings clause that allowed for States to regulate the employment of unauthorized individuals through licensing and similar laws. The Court was particularly unmoved by the petitioners' argument that the Act was not a licensing law because it only dealt with the revocation of licenses rather than the granting of them. In fact, the Court flatly rejected that argument. Moreover, the Court found that federal law did not impliedly preempt the Act because "Arizona's procedures simply implement the sanctions that Congress expressly allowed Arizona to pursue through licensing laws." Lastly, the Court found that the Act's requirement that employers use E-Verify was not impliedly preempted because it did not conflict with federal law.

The district court's dismissal of the matter therefore stood, and the case was ended.

Elizabeth Daligga - 06/28/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Federalism
Discrimination-basis
Language discrimination
National origin discrimination
Race discrimination
Immigration
Constitutional rights
Employer sanctions
Employment
Undocumented immigrants - state and local regulation
Work authorization - criteria
Work authorization - procedures
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Apache County Attorney
Attorney General of the State of Arizona
Cochise County Attorney
Coconino County Attorney
Gila County Attorney
Governor of Arizona
Graham County Attorney
Greenlee County Attorney
La Paz County Attorney
Maricopa County Attorney
Mohave County Attorney
Navajo County Attorney
Pima County Attorney
Pinal County Attorney
Santa Cruz County Attorney
State of Arizona
Yavapai County Attorney
Yuma County Attorney
Plaintiff Description Chamber of Commerce of the United States and a consortium of immigrant advocacy groups
Indexed Lawyer Organizations MALDEF
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing IM-AZ-0004 : Arizona Contractors Assoc., Inc. v. Napolitano (D. Ariz.)
IM-AZ-0010 : Arizona Contractors Ass'n v. Candelaria (D. Ariz.)
IM-AZ-0011 : Valle Del Sol Inc. v. Goddard (D. Ariz.)
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)
2:07−cv−02518 (D. Ariz.) 02/07/2008
IM-AZ-0013-9003.pdf | Detail
2:07-cv-02496-NVW (D. Ariz.) 04/03/2009
IM-AZ-0013-9002.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
07-17272 (U.S. Court of Appeals) 09/24/2010
IM-AZ-0013-9001.pdf | Detail
09-115 (U.S. Supreme Court) 12/08/2010
IM-AZ-0013-9000.pdf | Detail
General Documents
Second Amended Complaint 08/29/2007
IM-AZ-0013-0008.pdf | Detail
COMPLAINT 12/09/2007 (2007 WL 5193843)
IM-AZ-0013-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW, AND ORDER (Corrected) 12/10/2007 (526 F.Supp.2d 968) (D. Ariz.)
IM-AZ-0013-0011.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW, AND ORDER 02/07/2008 (534 F.Supp.2d 1036) (D. Ariz.)
IM-AZ-0013-0010.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
OPINION 09/17/2008 (558 F.3d 856)
IM-AZ-0013-0009.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Petition for a Writ of Certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit 07/24/2009 (2009 WL 2331990)
IM-AZ-0013-0001.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
BRIEF FOR THE PETITIONERS 09/01/2010 (2010 WL 3483324)
IM-AZ-0013-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
BRIEF FOR THE UNITED STATES AS AMICUS CURIAE SUPPORTING PETITIONERS 09/08/2010 (2010 WL 3501180)
IM-AZ-0013-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
BRIEF FOR THE RESPONDENTS 10/21/2010 (2010 WL 4216271)
IM-AZ-0013-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
COMPLAINT 05/11/2011
IM-AZ-0013-0006.pdf | Detail
Supreme Court Opinion 05/26/2011 (131 S.Ct. 1968 / 179 L.Ed.2d 1031)
IM-AZ-0013-0007.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Supreme Court website
Judges Alito, Samuel A. Jr. (SCOTUS, Third Circuit)
IM-AZ-0013-9000
Breyer, Stephen Gerald (SCOTUS, First Circuit)
IM-AZ-0013-0007 | IM-AZ-0013-9000
Ginsburg, Ruth Bader (SCOTUS, D.C. Circuit)
IM-AZ-0013-9000
Kennedy, Anthony McLeod (SCOTUS, Ninth Circuit)
IM-AZ-0013-9000
Roberts, John Glover Jr. (SCOTUS, D.C. Circuit)
IM-AZ-0013-0007 | IM-AZ-0013-9000
Scalia, Antonin (SCOTUS, D.C. Circuit)
IM-AZ-0013-9000
Schroeder, Mary Murphy (Ninth Circuit)
IM-AZ-0013-0009
Smith, Norman Randy (Ninth Circuit)
IM-AZ-0013-0009
Sotomayor, Sonia (S.D.N.Y., SCOTUS, Second Circuit)
IM-AZ-0013-0007 | IM-AZ-0013-9000
Thomas, Clarence (SCOTUS, D.C. Circuit)
IM-AZ-0013-9000
Wake, Neil Vincent (D. Ariz.)
IM-AZ-0013-0010 | IM-AZ-0013-0011 | IM-AZ-0013-9002
Walker, John Mercer Jr. (S.D.N.Y., Second Circuit)
IM-AZ-0013-0009
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Berzon, Stephen P. (California)
IM-AZ-0013-0001 | IM-AZ-0013-0002 | IM-AZ-0013-9001 | IM-AZ-0013-9002 | IM-AZ-0013-9003
Blanchard, Charles (Arizona)
IM-AZ-0013-9002
Brennan, Shane (District of Columbia)
IM-AZ-0013-0005 | IM-AZ-0013-9002
Campbell, Kristina Michelle (California)
IM-AZ-0013-0001 | IM-AZ-0013-9002 | IM-AZ-0013-9003
Chang, Joannie C. (California)
IM-AZ-0013-9002
Conrad, Robin S. (District of Columbia)
IM-AZ-0013-0001 | IM-AZ-0013-0002 | IM-AZ-0013-0005 | IM-AZ-0013-9002
Eckstein, Paul F. (Arizona)
IM-AZ-0013-0001 | IM-AZ-0013-9002
Guizar, Monica T. (California)
IM-AZ-0013-9002 | IM-AZ-0013-9003
Guttentag, Lucas (California)
IM-AZ-0013-0001 | IM-AZ-0013-0002 | IM-AZ-0013-0006 | IM-AZ-0013-9002 | IM-AZ-0013-9003
Jadwat, Omar C. (New York)
IM-AZ-0013-0001 | IM-AZ-0013-0002 | IM-AZ-0013-0006 | IM-AZ-0013-9001 | IM-AZ-0013-9002 | IM-AZ-0013-9003
Joaquin, Linton (California)
IM-AZ-0013-0001 | IM-AZ-0013-0002 | IM-AZ-0013-9001 | IM-AZ-0013-9002 | IM-AZ-0013-9003
Kawka, Shane B. (District of Columbia)
IM-AZ-0013-0001 | IM-AZ-0013-0002
Krueger, Matthew D. (District of Columbia)
IM-AZ-0013-0002
Mikkilineni, Tara (District of Columbia)
IM-AZ-0013-0002
Moffa, Luis R. Jr. (New Jersey)
IM-AZ-0013-0005 | IM-AZ-0013-9002
Newell, Jennifer Chang (California)
IM-AZ-0013-0001 | IM-AZ-0013-0002 | IM-AZ-0013-0006 | IM-AZ-0013-9003
Nomkin, Joel W. (Arizona)
IM-AZ-0013-0001 | IM-AZ-0013-9001 | IM-AZ-0013-9002
Nunn-Gilman, Heidi (Arizona)
IM-AZ-0013-0002 | IM-AZ-0013-0005 | IM-AZ-0013-9002
Pace, Julie A. (Arizona)
IM-AZ-0013-0001 | IM-AZ-0013-0002 | IM-AZ-0013-0005 | IM-AZ-0013-9002
Phillips, Carter G (District of Columbia)
IM-AZ-0013-0001 | IM-AZ-0013-0002 | IM-AZ-0013-9000 | IM-AZ-0013-9001
Pochoda, Daniel Joseph (Arizona)
IM-AZ-0013-0001 | IM-AZ-0013-0002 | IM-AZ-0013-9001 | IM-AZ-0013-9002 | IM-AZ-0013-9003
Rublin, Burt (Pennsylvania)
IM-AZ-0013-0001 | IM-AZ-0013-0002 | IM-AZ-0013-9001
Selden, David A. (Arizona)
IM-AZ-0013-0001 | IM-AZ-0013-0002 | IM-AZ-0013-0005 | IM-AZ-0013-0008 | IM-AZ-0013-9001 | IM-AZ-0013-9002
Shapiro, Steven R. (New York)
IM-AZ-0013-0001 | IM-AZ-0013-0002
Shumsky, Eric A. (District of Columbia)
IM-AZ-0013-0001 | IM-AZ-0013-0002
Smullin, Rebecca (California)
IM-AZ-0013-0001 | IM-AZ-0013-9002 | IM-AZ-0013-9003
Sorenson, Quin M (District of Columbia)
IM-AZ-0013-0001 | IM-AZ-0013-0002
Tumlin, Karen C. (California)
IM-AZ-0013-0001 | IM-AZ-0013-0002 | IM-AZ-0013-9001 | IM-AZ-0013-9002 | IM-AZ-0013-9003
Valenzuela, Cynthia Ann (California)
IM-AZ-0013-0001 | IM-AZ-0013-0002 | IM-AZ-0013-9001 | IM-AZ-0013-9002 | IM-AZ-0013-9003
Weissglass, Jonathan (California)
IM-AZ-0013-0001 | IM-AZ-0013-0002 | IM-AZ-0013-9001 | IM-AZ-0013-9002 | IM-AZ-0013-9003
Defendant's Lawyers GilBride, Eileen Dennis (Arizona)
IM-AZ-0013-0003 | IM-AZ-0013-9002
Goddard, Terry (Arizona)
IM-AZ-0013-0003
Hall, Roger W. (Arizona)
IM-AZ-0013-0003
Jurkowitz, Daniel S. (Arizona)
IM-AZ-0013-0003 | IM-AZ-0013-9002
Kerekes, William J. (Arizona)
IM-AZ-0013-0003
Lessler, Michael Jay (Arizona)
IM-AZ-0013-0003
Munns, Christopher Arthur (Arizona)
IM-AZ-0013-0003 | IM-AZ-0013-9000 | IM-AZ-0013-9001 | IM-AZ-0013-9002
O'Grady, Mary Ruth (Arizona)
IM-AZ-0013-0003 | IM-AZ-0013-9000 | IM-AZ-0013-9001 | IM-AZ-0013-9002
Payette, Lance B. (Arizona)
IM-AZ-0013-9002
Roll, Chris Myrl (Arizona)
IM-AZ-0013-0003 | IM-AZ-0013-9002
Staton, Georgia (Arizona)
IM-AZ-0013-9002
Sweeney, Kathleen Patricia (Arizona)
IM-AZ-0013-0003
Other Lawyers Bagenstos, Samuel R. (District of Columbia)
IM-AZ-0013-0004
Coberly, Linda T (Illinois)
IM-AZ-0013-9000
Dayan, Leon (District of Columbia)
IM-AZ-0013-9000
Dellinger, Walter (District of Columbia)
IM-AZ-0013-9000
Fong, Kevin Murray (California)
IM-AZ-0013-9000
Gross, Mark L. (District of Columbia)
IM-AZ-0013-0004
Guzman, Melinda (California)
IM-AZ-0013-9001
Hethmon, Michael M. (District of Columbia)
IM-AZ-0013-9000
Joseph, Lawrence J (District of Columbia)
IM-AZ-0013-9000
Katyal, Neil (District of Columbia)
IM-AZ-0013-0004 | IM-AZ-0013-9000
Lampley, Judith A. (District of Columbia)
IM-AZ-0013-9000
McNeil, J E (District of Columbia)
IM-AZ-0013-9000
Morgan, Jeremiah J. (Missouri)
IM-AZ-0013-9000
Orfanedes, Paul J (District of Columbia)
IM-AZ-0013-9000
Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia)
IM-AZ-0013-0004
Pollock, Nathaniel S. (District of Columbia)
IM-AZ-0013-0004
Rubin, Robert J. (California)
IM-AZ-0013-9001
Sekulow, Jay Alan (District of Columbia)
IM-AZ-0013-9000
Smith, Paul M. (District of Columbia)
IM-AZ-0013-9000
Stellman, Leslie Robert (Maryland)
IM-AZ-0013-9001
West, Tony (District of Columbia)
IM-AZ-0013-0004
Wong, Brian K (California)
IM-AZ-0013-9001
Zall, Barnaby W (Maryland)
IM-AZ-0013-9000 | IM-AZ-0013-9001

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