Gov. Brewer removes AG Goddard from immigration law defense.

Let me put it a different way: Gov. Jan Brewer (R, AZ-GOV) removes AG Terry Goddard (D-CAND, AZ-GOV) from the defense of the illegal immigration law that the former supports and the latter opposes.

Late Friday night as the Memorial Day weekend began, Arizona’s Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, in effect, suspended the state’s Democratic attorney general from defending the new law in upcoming legal challenges. The measure, known as S.B. 1070, is due to take effect this summer and, among other things, allows local police under federal guidelines to check the immigration status of people they stop.


The governor’s abrupt action against Terry Goddard, her likely Democratic opponent in this fall’s gubernatorial election, came after months of disputes between the two and at the end of a long day of legal maneuvering in both Arizona and the nation’s capital.

Points to consider here:

  • The Governor specifically has the right to do this, thanks to the legislature’s explicitly giving her permission to bring in a legal team to supplant Goddard.
  • Goddard did in fact publicly indicate that he would defend the new law in court, even though he opposes it.
  • It’s not entirely clear whether Goddard is going to be privately upset for being removed from this case. While support for the law is extremely solid in Arizona, Goddard is a Democrat; win this case or lose it, he’ll lose support. Particularly out-of-state support: even though the law is also popular nationally, it is not popular with liberals. Being removed from this case will probably help his fundraising.
  • Jan Brewer fully intends to back the Arizona law all the way to being elected Governor in her own right. Terry Goddard probably wants the problem to go away by September.
  • Ah, politics. Sometimes exasperating, but rarely dull.

Moe Lane

Crossposted to RedState.