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When the Supreme Court hears the Department of Justice lawsuit challenging portions of Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070 today, what will be debated has much higher stakes than the limited constitutional questions of federal and state powers that will be before the court.
Perhaps those are the narrow arguments that will pass between lawyers, but SB 1070 isn’t about a battle between federal and state power. It isn’t even about immigration policy, nor is it about Arizona.
SB 1070 is about all of us. How we respond to crisis, how we treat each other and whether we will let the bill’s defenders stand in the doorway of history or whether we will refuse to have the hard-fought advances in our rights be turned back.
When the Justice suit was first heard in 2010, I was arrested outside the courthouse. Together with five others, I participated in a collective act of civil disobedience to announce a pledge that we would not comply with SB 1070 if it were to go into effect.