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Judge: Indiana senators can't defend immigration law

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A federal judge on Friday rebuffed three Indiana lawmakers who asked to defend parts of the state's immigration law in court after the attorney general declined to do so.

U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker, who has barred the 2011 law from taking effect until she can rule on its constitutionality, said allowing the senators to intervene would violate the state Constitution's declaration that the attorney general's office is state government's sole legal representative.

"Allowing the three individual legislators to intervene here in their official capacities as State Senators not only would conflict with this well-settled state law, but would provide the legislators a trump card with respect to the Attorney General's statutorily derived discretion in this context," Barker wrote.

Republican Senators Mike Delph, Brent Steele and Phil Boots — who authored the immigration law — had asked Barker to let them defend parts of the law Attorney General Greg Zoeller would not.

Zoeller's office has said it would recommend Barker strike down most of the portions of Indiana's law that would allow police to make warrantless arrests based on certain common immigration documents. The office said last year's U .S. Supreme Court decision striking down similar sections of an Arizona law rendered those parts of Indiana's law invalid. However, the office said it would defend a provision allowing for local police to arrest immigrants for whom federal authorities have issued a 48-hour detention order.

The senators, who are represented by lawyers from the Immigration Reform Law Institute in Washington, had argued the warrantless arrest provisions in Indiana's and Arizona's laws are "vastly different," and that Indiana's law is consistent with the Supreme Court's decision. They also argued they have a right to intervene as defendants because the law won't be allowed to take effect if it isn't defended, which they say effectively robs them of the votes they made in the Legislature.

"I take my responsibility to defend the statutes the Legislature passes from legal challenge as an important role of the office I hold. The court recognized that the Office of the Attorney General has faithfully defended all provisions of this statute until the U.S. Supreme Court last June said that state-level warrantless arrest laws are preempted as unconstitutional," Zoeller said in a statement Friday. "We are pleased that Judge Barker's ruling has underscored and reiterated the responsibility of my office to defend state statutes as is our solemn obligation."

The three senators did not immediately return phone calls from The Associated Press seeking comment. A Reform Law Institute spokeswoman said the attorney who represented the senators was unavailable to comment.

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  • Only in Indiana
    Only in Indiana could three Republican State Senators (with a combined IQ <100) sue a Republican Attorney General for failing to enforce provisons in a law that has already been ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court. Other than living well off our tax dollars in their cushy government jobs, do these three idiots have anything of benefit to contribute to our society?

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  1. In reality, Lilly is maintaining profit by cutting costs such as Indiana/US citizen IT workers by a significant amount with their Tata Indian consulting connection, increasing Indian H1B's at Lillys Indiana locations significantly and offshoring to India high paying Indiana jobs to cut costs and increase profit at the expense of U.S. workers.

  2. I think perhaps there is legal precedence here in that the laws were intended for family farms, not pig processing plants on a huge scale. There has to be a way to squash this judges judgment and overrule her dumb judgement. Perhaps she should be required to live in one of those neighbors houses for a month next to the farm to see how she likes it. She is there to protect the people, not the corporations.

  3. http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/engineer/facts/03-111.htm Corporate farms are not farms, they are indeed factories on a huge scale. The amount of waste and unhealthy smells are environmentally unsafe. If they want to do this, they should be forced to buy a boundary around their farm at a premium price to the homeowners and landowners that have to eat, sleep, and live in a cesspool of pig smells. Imagine living in a house that smells like a restroom all the time. Does the state really believe they should take the side of these corporate farms and not protect Indiana citizens. Perhaps justifiable they should force all the management of the farms to live on the farm itself and not live probably far away from there. Would be interesting to investigate the housing locations of those working at and managing the corporate farms.

  4. downtown in the same area as O'malia's. 350 E New York. Not sure that another one could survive. I agree a Target is needed d'town. Downtown Philly even had a 3 story Kmart for its downtown residents.

  5. Indy-area residents... most of you have no idea how AMAZING Aurelio's is. South of Chicago was a cool pizza place... but it pales in comparison to the heavenly thin crust Aurelio's pizza. Their deep dish is pretty good too. My waistline is expanding just thinking about this!

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