-Nevada Challenge Update

The proposed Nevada ballot initiative that would bring portions of the contentious Arizona S.B. 1070 immigration law to Nevada may be on its last legs.

Jones Vargas, a Las Vegas law firm has filed a complaint with the Nevada secretary of state on Tuesday alleging that the initiative’s ballot advocacy group (BAG) has not provided a valid address for its resident agent, a violation of Nevada law.

The complaint alleges that Nevada Assemblyman Chad Christensen, who is the BAG’s resident agent, has not provided a valid address at which he can be reached. As a result, the ACLU of Nevada and other challengers to the ballot initiative cannot serve Christensen or the BAG with the legal documents necessary to proceed with their respective lawsuits.

Under Nevada law, a BAG that fails to provide a valid address for its resident agent is subject to fines ranging from $100 to $500 for each day in violation.

The ACLU of Nevada and other groups have filed suit against the initiative because it fails to meet other legal requirements for a ballot initiative, such as conforming with the “single subject” requirement, which requires that an initiative provide fair notice to voters of its contents and effects. But those cases will not be able to effectively proceed unless the BAG can be served with the legal papers.


-Federal Government Sues to Challenge Arizona Law

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking an injunction to stop Arizona’s proposed new immigration law (S.B. 1070). The suit alleges S.B. 1070 gives unconstitutional power to Arizona officials because the law violates the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The Supremacy Clause makes treaties, federal laws, and the Constitution “the Supreme Law of the Land.” So when a state law conflicts with a valid federal law, as the Department of Justice alleges here, the federal law will prevail.

The lawsuit’s complaint states that S.B. 1070 creates an “Arizona-specific immigration policy” that “exceeds a state’s role with respect to aliens, interferes with the federal government’s balanced administration of the immigration laws, and critically undermines U.S. foreign policy objectives.”

The suit harks back to the challenge of California’s Proposition 187, which also sought to create a state-law regime of immigration enforcement. Much like the present Department of Justice lawsuit alleges of S.B. 1070, a federal district court determined Proposition 187 violated the Supremacy Clause and was therefore unconstitutional.