Amicus Briefs Submitted in United States v. California

Amicus Briefs Submitted in United States v. California

JULY 13, 2018

On March 6, 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice sued California over three state laws: Assembly Bill 450, Assembly Bill 103, and Senate Bill 54, also known as the California Values Act. The resulting lawsuit, U.S. v. California, is representative of the Trump administration’s recent efforts to retaliate against states and localities that have passed protective policies designed to integrate immigrants more fully into their communities.

Assembly Bill 450, or the Immigrant Worker Protection Act, prohibits California employers from allowing immigration agents to enter nonpublic employment areas or view employees’ files without a subpoena or warrant. It also aims to prevent employer retaliation against employees who report unfair working conditions. Assembly Bill 103, or the Dignity Not Detention Act, calls for the inspection of state facilities where the federal government is detaining immigrants and for the improvement of facility conditions. Senate Bill 54 aims to prevent state and local resources from being used to carry out mass deportations and to ensure that our schools, hospitals, and courthouses are safe spaces for all in our communities.

All three laws have been in effect since January 2018, and the federal lawsuit seeks an injunction, which, if granted, would block their application. The U.S. Justice Department argues that these laws (1) conflict with the U.S. Constitution because they obstruct the enforcement of federal immigration law and (2) harm public safety. California argues that the three laws were carefully crafted to stay within the bounds of the state’s authority and promote the safety and dignity of all the state’s residents.

In response to the U.S. v. California litigation, many cities, local governments, organizations, government agencies, members of the law enforcement community, and legal scholars have shown their support for California’s laws by filing amicus (friend-of-the-court) briefs with the court. Amicus (or amicus curiae) briefs are legal documents submitted by individuals or groups that are not directly part of the litigation but have a strong interest in the outcome of the case.

The tables in the PDF (downloadable above) list 17 briefs filed in support of the three California laws that the federal government is challenging, as well as 6 amicus briefs submitted in support of the federal government’s stance. Each entry states which entities filed and support the amicus brief listed, summarizes the brief’s main argument, and, in table 1, provides relevant quotations and/or examples of individuals who are directly impacted by the three California laws.

To download the tables, click on the PDF icon, above.