Can The City Of L.A. Really Sue Arizona?

Walter Moore.
Walter Moore.

Lawyer and onetime Los Angeles mayoral candidate Walter Moore sent a letter to City Attorney Carmen Trutanich arguing that the city can't legally seek to block Arizona's immigration law, even as the City Council directed Trutanich's office to draw up an amicus brief that would have L.A. join a suit that will try to invalidate the controversial legislation. Moore has had his sense of fairness and balance questioned in the past. Nonetheless he seems to have a point ...

According to his reading, nowhere in the city charter is the council or City Attorney's office given the power to "pass resolutions -- much less file briefs or initiate other legal proceedings -- regarding legislation in other states, regarding the validity of those states' laws," according to Moore's letter to Trutanich (PDF).

The City Council on Tuesday voted to join several organizations, including the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund, in their suit challenging Arizona's law, which encourages police to check the immigration status of suspects they stop or detain who are believed to possibly be in the United States Illegally. The main thrust of the suit is that the desert state's legislation infringes on the jurisdiction of the federal government when it comes to immigration enforcement.

" ... You should refuse to prepare and file an amicus brief in the Arizona litigation, because doing so would violate the city charter," Moore writes to Trutanich.


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