On October 15, 2007, several religious groups teamed with other individuals and filed a civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma, asserting a constitutional challenge to Oklahoma state law - HB 1804 ("Oklahoma Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act of 2007"). The law 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.
Plaintiffs maintained that the state's attempt to enforce federal immigration law through HB 1804 was unconstitutional as such action was pre-empted by the Supremacy Clause. This challenge was similar to the one made in Lozano v. City of Hazleton, Pennsylvania [IM-PA-1] and other cases filed throughout the country. In addition to federal pre-emption, plaintiffs asserted violations of due process, equal protection and other provisions of the U.S. and Oklahoma Constitutions.
Shortly after filing suit, plaintiffs moved for a preliminary injunction and expedited hearing on the matter.
On its own, without any motion by the parties, the District Court (Judge James Payne) considered whether it had jurisdiction to hear plaintiffs' challenge to HB 1804. Judge Payne determined that none of the named plaintiffs had standing to bring the action and therefore, the Court had no jurisdiction over the case. Judge Payne recognized that HB 1804 could still be subject to a constitutional challenge at some point but reasoned that could "only be achieved through a suit brought by Plaintiffs with well-defined injuries causally connected to HB 1804." The case was dismissed on October 22, 2007. Nat'l Coalition of Latino Clergy, Inc. v. Henry, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 78658 (N.D. Okla. Oct. 22, 2007).
Instead of appealing the ruling, plaintiffs refiled the lawsuit on October 25, 2007. The refiled case was assigned to District Judge James Payne and given case no. 4:07-cv-00613-JHP-FHM.
On October 31, 2007, the District Court (Judge Payne) denied plaintiffs' request for a preliminary injunction. National Coalition of Latino Clergy, Inc. v. Henry, 07-CV-613-JHP, 2007 WL 3232442 (N.D. Okla. Oct. 31, 2007). That day, plaintiffs filed a First Amended Complaint, which challenged the constitutionality of the Act, as well as the constitutionality of five other Oklahoma state statutes relating to the issuance and renewal of driver's licenses. Defendants moved to dismiss the case.
On December 12, 2007, Judge Payne granted defendants' motion and again dismissed the case for lack of standing. In his order, Judge Payne found that "some Plaintiffs ignore the need to describe the injuries actually caused by the challenged statutes, while the illegal alien Plaintiffs complain of grievances that could best be remedied by simply compliance with federal law." National Coalition of Latino Clergy, Inc. v. Henry, No. 07-CV-613-JHP, 2007 WL 4390650, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 91487 (N.D. Okla. Dec. 12, 2007). Plaintiffs' request to reconsider was denied. Nat'l Coalition of Latino Clergy v. Henry, No. 07-CV-613-JHP, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 94871 (N.D. Okla. Dec. 28, 2007).
Plaintiffs did not appeal the ruling.Dan Dalton - 01/18/2008
Dan Whitman - 04/04/2015