The Nebraska Supreme Court will leave questions of whether the city of Fremont has the legal authority to enact a local immigration ordinance to the federal courts.
The Fremont ordinance is currently being challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund (MALDEF). The plaintiffs have alleged that the local ordinance is discriminatory. The ordinance establishes penalties for landlords and employers who hire or rent property to illegal immigrants within the city limits. In deciding not to take up the question, the Nebraska Supreme Court indicated that there was no particular state law or state constitutional provision specified that Fremont’s ordinance could violate. The attorney representing the City of Fremont, Kris Kobach says, “This lack of specificity, on the plaintiff’s part, is a fundamental weakness in their case.”
U.S. District Judge Laurie Smith Camp must now decide whether the case goes forward in federal district court.
Fremont voters approved the ordinance last June 2010. In an effort to preserve financial resources and follow the advice of legal counsel, the City Council has suspended enforcement of the law until the courts make a decision on the legal challenges.