State asks alien law challenge be tossed
PHOENIX | Attorneys for Gov. Jan Brewer have asked a judge to throw out the U.S. Justice Department's challenge to Arizona's new immigration law.
The governor's lawyers said Monday the federal government hasn't shown it has incurred actual harm from the law and instead bases its claim on speculation.
The federal government says the state law is trumped by federal law and that it has hurt U.S. relations with Mexico. It is scheduled to take effect Thursday.
Attorneys for Mrs. Brewer say Mexico's disapproval of the law doesn't make it unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton is considering requests by the Justice Department, a Phoenix police officer and civil rights groups to put the law on hold.
Mayor to stop taking high pay
BELL | The mayor of Bell apologized Monday for the excessive salaries paid to city officials and said he will step down after completing his term without pay.
Mayor Oscar Hernandez said in a statement posted on the Bell city clerk's website that the salaries were indefensible.
Four of the five members of the City Council earn about $100,000 a year for running the blue-collar city of about 40,000 people.
Mr. Hernandez, who last week defended the city's salaries, said he will not collect any pay for the remainder of his term, which expires in March.
Earlier in the day, the city said in a statement that the City Council intended to drastically reduce their pay at meeting Monday night.
Bell's city manager, police chief and assistant city manager all resigned last week, days after it was revealed they were making salaries totaling $1.6 million a year.
Also Monday, California Attorney General Jerry Brown said he has subpoenaed hundreds of records from the city. He said he is demanding to see employment contracts from the city within 48 hours to determine whether to file charges.
Fingerprint program for illegals expands
DENVER | The federal government is rapidly expanding a program to identify illegal immigrants using fingerprints from arrests, drawing opposition from local authorities and advocates who argue that the initiative amounts to an excessive dragnet.
The program has received less attention than Arizona's new immigration law, but it may end up having a bigger impact because of its potential to round up and deport so many immigrants nationwide.
The San Francisco sheriff wanted nothing to do with the program, and the D.C. Council blocked use of the fingerprint plan in the nation's capital. Colorado is the latest to debate the program, called Secure Communities, and immigrant advocacy groups have begun to speak up, telling the governor in a letter last week that the initiative will make crime victims reluctant to cooperate with police "due to fear of being drawn into the immigration regime."
Under the program, the fingerprints of everyone booked into jail for any reason are run against FBI criminal history records and Department of Homeland Security immigration records to determine who is in the country illegally and whether they've been arrested previously. Most jurisdictions are not included in the program, but Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been expanding the initiative.
Gay marriage case sent to lower courts
TRENTON | The New Jersey Supreme Court has declined to hear a case from six same-sex couples seeking the right to marry, saying the case needs to wind its way through the lower courts first.
Gay couples unsuccessfully sued New Jersey four years ago for the right to marry. They claim that by creating civil unions, the state has not fulfilled a court order to treat them the same as heterosexual couples seeking to marry.
The Supreme Court said Monday that it cannot consider whether the civil union law provides equal rights to gay couples until there is a trial record.
The justices were split 3-3, one vote shy of the four needed for the motion to be granted.
Bratz to arrive after legal clash
NEW YORK | New Bratz dolls are heading to stores after a federal court overturned a ruling that their maker, MGA Entertainment, had to turn over the brand to Mattel Inc.
Two new lines of the doe-eyed dolls should hit stores such as Toys R Us, Target and Wal-Mart by the end of August.
Bratz dolls, the pouty-lipped, provocatively dressed rivals to Mattel's Barbie, have been scarce as Mattel and MGA battled over their rights.
Last week, an appeals court overturned a lower court's ruling upholding Mattel's claim that Bratz's designer was working for Mattel when he created them and Mattel should get ownership of the trademark. The case may be retried.
• From wire dispatches and staff reports