Secretary of State Hillary Clinton let the gato out of the bolsa when she spoke to a reporter in Ecuador last week, telling the world the Obama administration would challenge Arizona’s new immigration law.
“The Justice Department, under [Obama’s] direction, will be bringing a lawsuit against the act,” Clinton said in a June 8 interview with NTN24 that went unnoticed until some conservative blogs posted the video today.
A spokesman for the Justice Department said that Clinton’s statement is premature, but Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer apparently got the message. Brewer (R) has begun to raise money for a legal defense fund.
Brewer said in a statement to Politico there has been an outpouring of “hundreds of unsolicited donations since the end of April” when she signed the controversial measure. Brewer said, “Arizona is showing that it is not afraid to stand up and uphold the law in absence of the federal government fulfilling its obligation.”
It’s not the first time Brewer has tried to use a potential legal challenge from the administration for political gain. Check out a video of her using a puppet to blast the administration for not reading the law.
When it was first passed, Obama decried the law and Clinton said that it will invite racial profiling. There have been plenty of signals that Attorney General Eric Holder is leaning toward a legal challenge, but nothing is official — yet. “The Department continues to review the law,” Justice spokesman Matt Miller told TPMDC today.
But, was Clinton speaking out of school or just revealing her boss’ cards before he was ready? Given their long primary fight and the political tension over immigration policy, it’s difficult to avoid reading between the lines. But maybe she was just getting ahead of DOJ, since a lawsuit wouldn’t surprise anyone.
See TPM’s coverage of the law here.
Additional reporting by Eric Lach