Obama And Holder Sue Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Of course, since the real Sheriff Joe is tough as nails on crime and illegal aliens, he is called “controversial.” Except, there is one problem with why he was sued: it wasn’t for supposed discrimination

The U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday sued a controversial and popular Arizona sheriff, alleging that his department was refusing to cooperate with an investigation into whether it discriminated against Latinos while trying to catch illegal immigrants.

The Justice Department said that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was the first local law enforcement official in 30 years to refuse to provide documents in a federal civil rights inquiry. The federal government could withhold $113 million in funding from Maricopa County if Arpaio can’t produce records demonstrating that he avoids racial discrimination.

Lost in all the insinuation about racial discrimination is that he was sued for not cooperating fully with the probe A probe that has been going on for a year and a half, yet has found no actual evidence of racial discrimination, which leads to the second problem, as Byron York points out

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Despite the splash of attention from the newest lawsuit, the Justice Department’s investigation of Arpaio could end badly for Holder. When the Department first informed Arpaio that a probe was under way, back in March 2009, it sent a letter saying the investigation would focus on “alleged patterns or practices of discriminatory police practices and unconstitutional searches and seizures.” But now we learn that just six months before that, in September 2008, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, known as ICE, did its own investigation of Arpaio’s office — and gave it a clean bill of health. Arpaio’s lawyers recently got a copy of the ICE report through the Freedom of Information Act.

Byron also points to Arpaio’s great working relationship with the feds, and how the cases Sheriff Joe and his officers brought to court were considered “high quality.” Oh, and that there may be politics involved.

I do have to take issue with one thing about Byron’s column, though. At the end, he writes

Failing to find proof of real discrimination in Maricopa County could ultimately doom the administration’s entire crusade in Arizona. The much-publicized suit against the new immigration law is based on the possibility that it might result in future discrimination, but at the same time the department is struggling to find evidence of civil rights violations in Arpaio’s office, which uses enforcement techniques similar to those outlined in the new law. There’s a real chance that in the end Obama’s war on Arizona will come to nothing.

The problem is, the suit was filed using the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, and not due to potential discrimination. Said potential discrimination may be the reason behind the suit, but, it is not the letter of the suit. That said, Obama and Holder may end up looking bad when the info about Arpaio comes to light, and, if the lawyers for Arizona are doing their job, they would argue that if the Supremacy Clause is so darned important, why are they not suing Sanctuary Cities for failing to follow federal law? Why are they not suing California and 14 other states for failing to follow federal marijuana laws? Why are they not suing California and Rhode Island, which do pretty much exactly what the Arizona law was supposed to do?

And, oh, hey, it looks like Mr. Constitutional professor and his chief DOJ stooge have forgotten that no one may be forced to be a witness against themself.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach. Re-Change 2010!

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