Arizona Immigration Law

In May 2011, Senate President Russell Pearce explained why he thinks the hardships Arizona faces from illegal immigration should allow the state to start enforcing SB 1070, the state's immigration law approved in 2010, but placed on hold by a federal judge. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Arizona can require police to check the immigration status of those they stop, one of the more controversial provisions of SB 1070. Pictured with Pearce are Attorney General Tom Horne and Gov. Jan Brewer. (Capitol Media Services file photo)

Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services

The U.S. Supreme Court could end of taking up the legality of Arizona’s SB 1070 immigration law on Wednesday without its author in the audience.

Mesa’s Russell Pearce told Capitol Media Services he had asked Joe Sciarrotta, chief legal counsel to Gov. Jan Brewer, if she would give him one of the seats she has been allocated by virtue of her status as the petitioner in the case. The request has precedent: Pearce got to sit with the governor in 2010 when the high court reviewed Arizona’s employer sanctions law.

But this time his request was rebuffed.

“A handful of seats have been allotted for the governor’s attendees, including her legal team and senior staff members,” said Brewer press aide Matthew Benson.

Benson won’t say how many seats. Nor would he disclose a full list of who Brewer wants near her during the hour-long argument besides aide Kim Sabow, Sciarrotta — and Benson himself.

Anyway, Benson scoffed at the idea that Pearce, a former state senate president, needs to be there.

“And the case falls apart without him, right?” he asked.

That has left Pearce in the position of having to stand in line with the general public or find someone else to hold a spot for him.

“That’s iffy,” he acknowledged. And he was clearly disappointed, saying after his requests to Sciarrotta were ignored, he even tried calling Brewer on her cell phone.

She did not pick up.

“I’m the author,” Pearce said. “It’s my bill. It took years to get it passed.”

Someone who is getting a seat is Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever. He said the legal team who filed a friend-of-the-court brief on his behalf in defense of SB 1070 got some tickets allocated by the court.

“I’ve been fighting this fight too long just to sit on the sidelines and wait and see what happens,” he said.

“We’ve invested and lot of time and energy,” Dever continued. “I think it’s appropriate to be there to watch the proceedings.”

Anyway, Dever said the best way to get a true picture of what the court thinks is in person.

“I don’t want to read in your paper what you think about it,” he said. “I want to see first hand.”

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