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Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Lawsuit Against Executive Action Thrown Out of Court

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It’s a victory for the immigration reform movement — and one more loss for Larry Klayman‘s terrible record.  From Politico:

President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration survived their first major court test Tuesday, when a federal judge tossed out a lawsuit claiming the president exceeded his constitutional power.

U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell dismissed a challenge brought by Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio and backed by conservative legal activist Larry Klayman. Howell ruled that Arpaio had not shown the direct harm from Obama’s actions needed to institute a lawsuit in the federal courts.

“The role of the Judiciary is to resolve cases and controversies properly brought by parties with a concrete and particularized injury— not to engage in policymaking better left to the political branches,” Howell wrote in an opinion filed Tuesday night. “The plaintiff’s case raises important questions regarding the impact of illegal immigration on this Nation, but the questions amount to generalized grievances which are not proper for the Judiciary to address.”

The ruling came just one day after Klayman, Arpaio’s lawyer, presented a colorful argument laced with political barbs at a hearing that extended to more than an hour. During the sessions, Howell — an Obama appointee — shot several quizzical looks at the well-known lawyer and made a serious of pointed remarks suggesting she was highly skeptical of his arguments…

Arpaio and Klayman immediately appealed the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit…

In her 33-page ruling Tuesday, Howell concluded that Arpaio’s suit failed on several different grounds, including showing a “particularized” harm and demonstrating that the judge had the power to redress whatever problems Obama’s policy changes were creating for the sheriff.

Howell said Arpaio’s central argument — that his county was incurring greater costs due to the Obama immigration actions — might well be flawed.

“Contrary to the plaintiff’s assertion that a consequence of the challenged programs will be an increase in illegal conduct by undocumented immigrants and an increase in costs to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s office, these programs may have the opposite effect,” the judge wrote.

In her ruling, Howell flips one of Arpaio/Klayman’s arguments against them.  One of the reasons executive action is policy in the first place is because it is impossible to deport all 11 million of the undocumented immigrants living in the US.  Deportation priorities must be identified, and executive action frees up enforcement officials to go after immigrants who have committed serious crimes.  Since Arpaio and Klayman are claiming that their standing is derived from criminal immigrants posing trouble for their jurisdiction, Howell points out that doing away with executive action (and once again muddling deportation priorities) could well cause more harm for Arpaio.  The money quote:

“The deferred action programs are designed to incorporate DHS’s enforcement priorities and better focus federal enforcement on removing undocumented immigrants committing felonies and serious misdemeanor crimes. Since the undocumented immigrants engaging in criminal activity are the cause of the injuries complained about by the plaintiff, the more focused federal effort to remove these individuals may end up helping, rather than exacerbating the harm to, the plaintiff.”

Howell also said it was difficult to predict the actions of immigrants and to establish the connection between those actions and Obama’s immigration policy changes.

“The motivation for any individual to come to the United States (or, once present here, to commit a crime in Maricopa County), does not rest solely upon the challenged deferred action programs. Such decisions are complicated and multi-faceted, involving both national and international factors,” the judge wrote.

Read the full opinion here or below:

Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Lawsuit Against Executive Action Thrown Out of Court