Judge gives access to emails surrounding Arizona law

Immigration reform could get real in 2014A federal judge has given those opposed to Arizona’s controversial immigration law, SB 1070, the right to access emails, letters and memos sent between legislators and supporters of the bill in order to see if the messages contain racially biased undertones, with District Judge Susan Bolton rejecting arguments that the communications were confidential.

The Los Angeles Times says that opponents of the law view the ruling as a victory as their lawsuit is based in part on the allegation that lawmakers were deliberately engaging in discriminatory practices against Latinos as well as other minorities.  They believe that if the communications show that allegation to be true, then the law would be in violation of the Constitution’s equal protection clause.

Bolton’s ruling covers everything from letters, memos and emails related to earlier immigration measures as well as SB 1070, which is viewed as the harshest law against undocumented immigrants in the whole of the United States and has incited fury from civil rights groups and minorities.  In late December, lawyers for two groups against illegal immigrants, the Federation for American Immigration Reform and the Immigration Reform Law Institute, tried to have the Judge’s decision reconsidered, arguing that it was against the First Amendment and an invasion of privacy.

Judge Bolton was unimpressed by the argument, however, and said that there was actually nothing in the “law that protects from public view communications with public officials in their official capacity about a matter of public concern.  Indeed, Arizona law makes all such communications available to the public under its freedom of information law.”