Immigrants' Rights

Filed - September 11, 2017

United States v. Joseph Arpaio (Amicus Brief)


Joseph Arpaio—a former Arizona Sheriff, radical authoritarian, and booster of Donald Trump—was convicted of contempt of court for ignoring orders to stop immigrant round ups that violated the Constitution. Trump pardoned him for that federal crime.

The MacArthur Justice Center filed a brief challenging the pardon, supporting the guilty verdict against Arpaio, and arguing for the appointment of an independent attorney in the Arizona federal court. The Ninth Circuit granted the request by a coalition including the MacArthur Justice Center to appoint private counsel to the case because the Trump administration failed to defend the verdict against Arpaio.

The message sent by the pardon is clear: The judiciary should leave law enforcement alone, and allow government officials to achieve ‘law and order’ by violating constitutional rights. The President cannot issue pardons that eviscerate the role of the federal judiciary in our constitutional structure.