Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Feds Ask Court to Dismiss Fitial Lawsuit

Feds ask court to dismiss Fitial lawsuit
Wednesday, 17 December 2008
By Gemma Q. Casas
Marianas Variety News Staff

THE U.S. Department of Justice is asking the federal court in the nation’s capital to dismiss the Fitial administration’s federalization lawsuit, saying the governor’s arguments are “speculative and hypothetical.”

Gov. Benigno R. Fitial filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Sept. 12.

Theodore W. Atkinson, a trial attorney of the District Court Section of the Office of Immigration Litigation under the U.S. Department of Justice, argued in his four-page motion that there is no basis for the federal court to address the speculated disastrous impact of the federalization law.

“The action should be dismissed for four reasons: 1) the CNMI lacks standing to bring this action because the injuries alleged by the CNMI are not ‘concrete and particularized’ but are instead speculative and hypothetical; 2) even if the alleged harms are not speculative, the injuries alleged are too remote for the court to adequately address them at this time and thus the action is not ripe,” Atkinson stated.

He added: “The governor of the CNMI lacks standing to bring this action on behalf of the CNMI because he cannot show that he has protected ‘procedural interest’ that confers standing on him to bring this action; and 4) even if the CNMI has met its constitutional standing requirements, the action should be dismissed because the Covenant generally permits Congress to apply federal law to the CNMI and expressly and unambiguously permits Congress to apply the immigration and naturalization laws of the United States to the CNMI.”

Atkinson also submitted to the federal court 65 pages of memorandum of points and authorities to substantiate the DOJ’s position on the lawsuit which named as defendants Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Labor Secretary Elaine Chao in their official capacities.

The governor’s lawyers have up to Jan. 16, 2009 to file a reply.

According to his lawsuit, the federalization law will be disastrous to the local economy, which is heavily dependent on cheap foreign workers.

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