A federal judge has ordered a coalition of groups suing to block Alabama’s strict new immigration law to specify which officials they’re directing their claims against.
In an order issued Tuesday afternoon, U.S. District Judge Sharon Blackburn sided with the Alabama Attorney General’s Office, saying that the initial suit brought against the law constituted a “shotgun pleading.”
“The court notes that plaintiffs’ Complaint, brought by 36 plaintiffs against 11defendants, contains 380 paragraphs, including 144 paragraphs of facts and history, and 9counts,” Blackburn wrote in the order. “Each count incorporates all ‘the foregoing allegations;’ the Complaint does not specify which plaintiffs are bringing which counts against which defendants.”
The Alabama Attorney General’s office filed a motion for clarification in July, arguing the complaint was so broadly written that it appeared education officials were being charged with search and seizure violations.
“No cause of action identifies any particular defendant at which it is aimed,” the Attorney General’s office wrote. “Apparently then, for example, the plaintiffs seek to hold (Alabama schools superintendent Joe) Morton accountable for a Fourth Amendment violation.”
Linton Joaquin, general counsel for the National Immigration Law Center, one of three groups representing the plaintiffs, said Blackburn’s order “does not go to the merits of the case at all.”
“It’s more of a technical matter that the judge wants us to file a complaint to show which plaintiffs go with which claims,” he said.
Blackburn’s order went directly to the suit brought by groups represented by the NILC, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center. The U.S. Justice Department and religious leaders have filed separate lawsuits against the immigration statute.
Alabama’s immigration law, which was temporarily blocked by Blackburn last week, makes it a state crime to be an undocumented alien here, and gives law enforcement broad powers to detain those they have “reasonable suspicion” of being in the country illegally.
– posted by Brian Lyman