Appeals court won't hear case until November


The federal court judge who ruled last week that parts of Arizona's new immigration law are unconstitutional has been "inundated" with death threats, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

US Marshal David Gonzales told the newspaper the threats began within hours of District Judge Susan Bolton's decision to block the most controversial parts of the law, including the clause that orders police to verify people's immigrant status while investigating other crimes.

"About 99.9 percent of the inappropriate comments are people venting," Gonzales said. "They are exercising their First Amendment rights, and a lot of it is perverted. But it's that 0.1 percent that goes over the line that we are taking extra seriously."

A federal appeals court on Saturday declared it would take up Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's appeal of the court decision in November, effectively denying the governor's request for a quick resolution to the legal challenge.

The Ninth Circuit court said that first brief hearings were set for mid-September and the case would begin on November 1 in San Francisco.

Arizona in its appeal said an expedited process was of "significant importance" because it was needed to address the state's "right to implement a law its legislature enacted to address the irreparable harm Arizona is suffering as a result of unchecked unlawful immigration."

The court in a reply said that the "United States agrees with the State of Arizona that its appeal... should be briefed and resolved quickly."

The Ninth Circuit's schedule "fully accommodates the interest in achieving expedited review, without needlessly foreshortening the time for preparing the parties' appellate briefs in this important case," said the court.

Brewer is now reportedly considering making changes to the law that would satisfy Judge Bolton's concerns about its constitutionality.

The AP reports:

"Basically we believe (the law) is constitutional but she obviously pointed out faults that can possibly be fixed, and that's what we would do," Brewer told The Associated Press. She said she's talking to legislative leaders about the possibility of a special session, but said no specific changes had been identified.

Brewer has said she'll challenge the decision all the way to the Supreme Court.

Brewer appealed the judge's injunction Wednesday as angry protesters were met by scores of police in riot gear in Phoenix this week, resulting in the arrests of 45 people.

Bolton on Wednesday ruled that the powers given to police in the new law would place a burden on legal resident aliens living in Arizona, where one in three of the 6.6 million people is foreign-born and an estimated 460,000 are illegal immigrants.

-- With a report from AFP