Even as Alabama’s stringent new immigration law takes effect today, the Obama administration is ramping up efforts to challenge it and other laws like it around the country. The administration has already sued Arizona and Alabama, its lawyers are talking with Utah officials about another suit there, and Georgia, Indiana, and South Carolina are all in its crosshairs as well, government officials tell the Washington Post.
It’s unusual for the government to file such suits, rather than simply file briefs in lawsuits filed by others. “I don’t recall any time in history that the Justice Department has so aggressively challenged state laws,” says one constitutional law scholar. Conservatives accuse the administration of having a political motive, but the Justice Department says it’s exercising its legal prerogative. “We can’t have 50 different immigration laws,” President Obama said recently.