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Case Name Arizona Contractors Ass'n v. Candelaria IM-AZ-0010
Docket / Court 2:07-cv-02496-NVW ( D. Ariz. )
State/Territory Arizona
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Attorney Organization ACLU Affiliates (any)
ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project
MALDEF
National Immigration Law Center
Case Summary
This case is the reincarnation of a previously filed suit challenging the constitutionality of the Legal Arizona Workers Act (the "Act") styled Arizona Contractors Assoc., Inc. v. Napolitano. [IM-AZ-4]. The District Court (Judge Wake) dismissed that suit on December 7, 2007 for lack of subject ... read more >
This case is the reincarnation of a previously filed suit challenging the constitutionality of the Legal Arizona Workers Act (the "Act") styled Arizona Contractors Assoc., Inc. v. Napolitano. [IM-AZ-4]. The District Court (Judge Wake) dismissed that suit on December 7, 2007 for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, finding 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, 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. 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 which 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 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 refiled 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. That case was styled Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc. v. Goddard, 2:07-cv-02518-SMM. [IM-AZ-0011].

The District Court (Judge Neil V. Wake) consolidated the cases on December 14, 2007.

Plaintiffs in the consolidated action alleged, as they had in the previously filed cases, 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. 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 affirmed the District Court's finding. 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. 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 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.

Elizabeth Daligga - 06/25/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Discrimination-basis
Language discrimination
National origin discrimination
Race discrimination
General
Racial profiling
Immigration/Border
Constitutional rights
Criminal prosecution
Employer sanctions
Employment
Undocumented immigrants - state and local regulation
Plaintiff Type
Private 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
Graham County Attorney
Greenlee County Attorney
LaPaz County Attorney
Maricopa County Attorney
Mohave County Attorney
Navajo County Attorney
Pima County Attorney
Pinal County Attorney
Santa Cruz County Attorney
Yavapai County Attorney
Yuma County Attorney
Plaintiff Description Consortium of Arizona construction and business associations and immigration advocacy groups.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Affiliates (any)
ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project
MALDEF
National Immigration Law Center
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Filed 2007
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing IM-AZ-0004 : Arizona Contractors Assoc., Inc. v. Napolitano (D. Ariz.)
IM-AZ-0011 : Valle Del Sol Inc. v. Goddard (D. Ariz.)
IM-AZ-0013 : Chamber of Commerce of the United States v. Whiting (D. Ariz.)
Court Docket(s)
D. Ariz.
12/18/2007
2:07-cv-02518-NVW
IM-AZ-0010-9001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Ariz.
12/19/2007
2:07-cv-02496-NVW
IM-AZ-0010-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
U.S. Supreme Court
Brief for the Respondents
IM-AZ-0010-0007.pdf | Detail
D. Ariz.
12/09/2007
Complaint
IM-AZ-0010-0001.pdf | Detail
D. Ariz.
12/12/2007
Complaint
IM-AZ-0010-0002.pdf | Detail
D. Ariz.
02/07/2008
Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Order (534 F.Supp.2d 1036)
IM-AZ-0010-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
U.S. Court of Appeals
09/17/2008
Opinion (558 F.3d 856)
IM-AZ-0010-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
U.S. Supreme Court
09/01/2010
Brief for the Petitioners
IM-AZ-0010-0006.pdf | Detail
State Supreme Court
09/01/2010
Brief for the United States as Amicus Curiae Supporting Petitioners
IM-AZ-0010-0008.pdf | Detail
U.S. Supreme Court
09/08/2010
Brief Amici Curiae of Representative Romano L. Mazzoli, Senator Arlen Specter, and Representative Howard L. Berman in Support of Petitioners
IM-AZ-0010-0009.pdf | Detail
U.S. Supreme Court
05/26/2011
Supreme Court Opinion (131 S.Ct. 1968)
IM-AZ-0010-0010.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: Supreme Court website
show all people docs
Judges Breyer, Stephen Gerald (First Circuit, SCOTUS) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0010
Roberts, John Glover Jr. (D.C. Circuit, SCOTUS) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0010
Schroeder, Mary Murphy (Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0004
Smith, Norman Randy (Ninth Circuit) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0004
Sotomayor, Sonia (S.D.N.Y., Second Circuit, SCOTUS) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0010
Wake, Neil Vincent (D. Ariz.) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0003 | IM-AZ-0010-9000 | IM-AZ-0010-9001
Walker, John Mercer Jr. (S.D.N.Y., Second Circuit) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0004
Plaintiff's Lawyers Berzon, Stephen P. (California) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0002 | IM-AZ-0010-0006 | IM-AZ-0010-9000 | IM-AZ-0010-9001
Blanchard, Charles (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-9000
Brennan, Shane (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0001 | IM-AZ-0010-9000
Campbell, Kristina Michelle (California) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0002 | IM-AZ-0010-9000 | IM-AZ-0010-9001
Chang, Joannie C. (California) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0002 | IM-AZ-0010-9000 | IM-AZ-0010-9001
Conrad, Robin S. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0001 | IM-AZ-0010-0006 | IM-AZ-0010-9000
Eckstein, Paul F. (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0006 | IM-AZ-0010-9000
Guizar, Monica T. (California) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0002 | IM-AZ-0010-9000 | IM-AZ-0010-9001
Guttentag, Lucas (California) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0002 | IM-AZ-0010-0006 | IM-AZ-0010-9000 | IM-AZ-0010-9001
Jadwat, Omar C. (New York) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0002 | IM-AZ-0010-0006 | IM-AZ-0010-9000 | IM-AZ-0010-9001
Joaquin, Linton (California) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0002 | IM-AZ-0010-0006 | IM-AZ-0010-9000 | IM-AZ-0010-9001
Kawka, Shane B. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0006
Krueger, Matthew D. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0006
Mikkilineni, Tara (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0006
Moffa, Luis R. Jr. (New Jersey) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0001 | IM-AZ-0010-9000
Newell, Jennifer Chang (California) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0006
Nomkin, Joel W. (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0006 | IM-AZ-0010-9000
Nunn-Gilman, Heidi (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0001 | IM-AZ-0010-9000
Pace, Julie A. (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0001 | IM-AZ-0010-0006 | IM-AZ-0010-9000
Phillips, Carter G (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0006
Pochoda, Daniel Joseph (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0002 | IM-AZ-0010-0006 | IM-AZ-0010-9000 | IM-AZ-0010-9001
Rublin, Burt (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0006
Selden, David A. (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0001 | IM-AZ-0010-0006 | IM-AZ-0010-9000
Shumsky, Eric A. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0006
Smullin, Rebecca (California) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0002 | IM-AZ-0010-9000 | IM-AZ-0010-9001
Sorenson, Quin M (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0006
Tumlin, Karen C. (California) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0002 | IM-AZ-0010-0006 | IM-AZ-0010-9000 | IM-AZ-0010-9001
Valenzuela, Cynthia Ann (California) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0002 | IM-AZ-0010-0006 | IM-AZ-0010-9000 | IM-AZ-0010-9001
Weissglass, Jonathan (California) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0002 | IM-AZ-0010-9000 | IM-AZ-0010-9001
Defendant's Lawyers GilBride, Eileen Dennis (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0007 | IM-AZ-0010-9000
Goddard, Terry (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0007
Hall, Roger W. (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0007
Jurkowitz, Daniel S. (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0007 | IM-AZ-0010-9000
Kerekes, William J. (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0007
Lessler, Michael Jay (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0007
Munns, Christopher Arthur (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0007 | IM-AZ-0010-9000
O'Grady, Mary Ruth (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0007 | IM-AZ-0010-9000
Payette, Lance B. (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-9000
Roll, Chris Myrl (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0007 | IM-AZ-0010-9000
Staton, Georgia (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-9000
Sweeney, Kathleen Patricia (Arizona) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0007
Other Lawyers Bagenstos, Samuel R. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0008
Dmitrieva, Irina Y. (Illinois) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0009
Gross, Mark L. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0008
Harrison, Lindsay C (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0009
Jay, William M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0008
Katyal, Neal Kumar (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0008
Perez, Thomas E. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0008
Pollock, Nathaniel S. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0008
Smith, Paul M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0009
West, Tony (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-AZ-0010-0008

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