Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer speaks with a reporter during the annual meeting of the National Governors Association July 11. (AP Photo)
Arizona squared off against opponents of its immigration law in federal court Thursday, with a lawyer for Gov. Jan Brewer arguing that those challenging the law have not demonstrated anyone would suffer actual harm if it takes effect at the end of the month.
An attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union and other plaintiffs, who are seeking to block the state from implementing the law, countered that the courts and not the police should be the ones determining immigration status and that the law could lead to racial discrimination.
The arguments were part of a day of hearings on the Arizona immigration policy. U.S. District Judge Susan will hold another hearing in the afternoon on the U.S. Justice Department's request for a preliminary injunction blocking implementation.
The law makes illegal immigration a state crime and requires state law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of anyone they suspect of being an illegal immigrant during police investigations for other matters.
The ACLU attorney argued that this policy could end up harming bystanders not committing a crime or violation themselves -- for instance, somebody riding in a car with another person who is speeding.
The judge has said she wasn't making any promises on whether she would make those rulings before the law takes effect on July 29.
Since Brewer signed the measure into law on April 23, it has inspired rallies in Arizona and elsewhere by advocates on both sides of the immigration debate. Some opponents have advocated a tourism boycott of Arizona.
It also prompted challenges by the Justice Department, civil rights groups, two Arizona police officers, a Latino clergy group and a researcher from Washington.
Justice Department lawyers contend that local police shouldn't be allowed to enforce the law because, in part, it's already disrupting the United States' relations with Mexico and other countries.
Attorneys for Brewer argue that the federal government based its challenge on misconceptions of what the law would do and that Washington's inadequate immigration enforcement has left the state with heavy costs for educating, incarcerating and providing health care for illegal immigrants.
In the challenge by civil rights groups, Brewer and other officials said the lawsuit should be thrown out because the groups don't allege a real threat of harm from enforcing the new law and instead base their claims on speculation.
The civil rights groups said their clients will suffer imminent harm, such as a social service organization that will have to divert resources from its programs to instead assist those affected by the new law.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
McLaughlin’s communications with Google officials and others about issues that directly benefit the company appears to be more extensive than indicated by a May White House report, which resulted in an official reprimand of Mr. McLaughlin. Click here for a 12-page pdf of the McLaughlin emails.
Administration rules expressly prohibit former lobbyist company officials like McLaughlin from involving themselves in federal policies that materially impact their former employer. But the new emails, which NLPC obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, show a continued pattern in which Mr. McLaughlin communicates with another apparent Google lobbyist, the leader of a Google-funded organization that lobbies in support of Google’s primary area of federal interest, and the head of a nonprofit that works closely with Google lobbyists.
The topics in the email communication involve many of Google’s highest priority lobbying issues, including FTC rules on online privacy; Administration broadband policy, including Net neutrality; and intellectual property rules.
As Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Internet Policy, McLaughlin is at the policymaking nexus of virtually all of the most important Internet issues being debated in the country today. There is now no doubt – none whatsoever – that a more serious investigation of potential ethics breaches is warranted. These emails raise additional questions about whether Mr. McLaughlin’s efforts circumvented or just plain ignored federal ethics rules.
Today, we are asking Rep. Edolphus Towns, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Rep. Darrell Issa, the committee’s ranking member, to conduct a thorough investigation. Click here to download 3-page pdf of the letter. It reads, in part:
Like Halliburton in the previous Administration, Google has an exceptionally close relationship to the current Administration. No fair-minded person could look at McLaughlin’s record and not conclude that further investigation is warranted. Click here for a pdf of the letter.
Among other things, the emails reveal:
In September 2009, McLaughlin agreed to meet with a representative of Wilmer Hale Cutler Pickering and Dorr who was a registered Google lobbyist as recently as 2008 according to Senate lobby disclosure records. The representative, Becky Burr, proposed a meeting to discuss White House assistance in weighing in with the Federal Trade Commission on privacy regulation in ways that would appear to benefit Google.
Over a two-week period in February 2010, McLaughlin exchanged numerous emails with Free Press director Ben Scott, another prominent advocate for Net neutrality who has coordinated policy strategy with Google and attended joint meetings with Google at the FCC and White House on numerous occasions. They agreed to meet outside the White House at a nearby coffee shop to discuss Internet policy.
From January through March of this year, several email messages relating to intellectual property issues were sent to McLaughlin from the Executive Director of a Google-funded coalition. The emails appear to have been sent to keep McLaughlin “in the loop” regarding copyright and intellectual property issues – key policy issues for the Mountain View company.
HANOI, Vietnam -- North Korea on Friday threatened the United States and South Korea with a "physical response" to planned naval exercises as tensions with the communist nation rose in the aftermath of the sinking of a South Korean warship blamed on the North.
In Vietnam for a Southeast Asian regional security forum, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and a North Korean official traded barbs over the ship incident, the upcoming military drills and the imposition of new U.S. sanctions against the North.
The spokesman for the North Korean delegation to the talks, Ri Tong Il, repeated Pyongyang's denial of responsibility for the March sinking of the ship that killed 46 South Korean sailors and said the upcoming military drills were a violation of its sovereignty that harkened back to the days of 19th-century "gunboat diplomacy."
The exercises will be "another expression of hostile policy against" North Korea. "There will be physical response against the threat imposed by the United States militarily," Ri told reporters in Hanoi.
Shortly before he spoke, Clinton had lashed out against belligerent acts by the North, warning that it must reverse a "campaign of provocative, dangerous behavior" if it wants improved relations with its neighbors and the United States.
Peaceful resolution of the issues on the Korean peninsula will be possible only if North Korea fundamentally changes its behavior, Clinton told the gathering of top officials from the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and countries with major interests in the area like the U.S., China, Japan, North and South Korea and Russia.
There was no sign that members of the U.S. and North Korean delegations would meet or even cross paths at the annual security forum, which has in the past been a venue for rare talks between the two sides.
On Wednesday, Clinton announced in the South Korean capital that the U.S. would slap new sanctions on the North to stifle its nuclear ambitions and punish it for the sinking of the South Korean ship. The penalties will target the country's elite by taking aim at illicit activities, such as counterfeiting cigarettes and cash and money laundering.
Clinton was in Seoul to show support for South Korea along with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
In addition to North Korea's behavior and its nuclear program, Clinton raised concerns about potential atomic collaboration between the North and Myanmar, also known as Burma, which is restricted by U.N. agreements.
Numerous reports in past months have suggested that Myanmar's military rulers are attempting to develop nuclear weapons with North Korean help.
Clinton said "recent events" had called into question Myanmar's pledges to abide by its international commitments, including U.N. sanctions, the requirements of its nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. She did not elaborate but on Thursday mentioned in passing that a North Korean ship carrying military equipment had recently docked in Myanmar.
"It is critical that Burma hear from you, its neighbors, about the need to comply with" those obligation, Clinton told the forum.
She also hit out on Myanmar's human rights record, saying the U.S. is "deeply concerned about the oppression taking place" there against the regime's political opponents and minority groups. Myanmar has said it will hold elections at an as yet unannounced date later this year but U.S. officials say they don't believe the vote will be free or fair.
"We urge Burma to put in place the necessary conditions for credible elections, including releasing all political prisoners, respecting basic human rights and ceasing attacks against ethnic minorities," Clinton said. The U.S. has repeatedly called for Myanmar to release detained Nobel Peace laureate and democracy advocate Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party's landslide victory in 1990 elections was annulled by the military.
Clinton's comments on Myanmar echoed those of previous U.S. administrations but they come as President Barack Obama has made a push for expanded engagement with Southeast Asia. Clinton is to sign the Association of Southeast Asian Nation's Treaty of Amity and Cooperation, something the Bush administration had refused to do.
In an indication of that increased involvement in the region, Clinton said "the United States has a national interest" in resolving conflicting claims over the Spratly and Paracel island chains in the South China Sea, particularly between China and Vietnam.
She said the disputes interfere with maritime commerce, hamper access to international waters in the area and undermine the U.N. law of the sea.
Her comments are likely to anger China, which asserts sovereignty over the whole South China Sea, but Clinton said the U.S. did not support any country's sovereignty over the islands. She said the U.S. is willing to work with the all the parties, including Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines, to help negotiate an end to the disputes.