Jan Brewer’s $1 Million Legal Defense Fund for SB 1070

Arizona's collecting money from all over the country to pay for its $450 an hour private attorney.

By Julianne Hing Jul 21, 2010

Going to court for one lawsuit is expensive. But what about seven? Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer plans to fight all seven legal challenges that have been filed against her state’s SB 1070, and it’s gonna cost. Still, Brewer’s sparing nothing: Howard Fisher from the Arizona Daily Star noted that, although the state already has in-house legal counsel, Brewer has also hired the law firm of Snell & Wilmer, too. Those attorneys charge $450 an hour. 

But Brewer won’t have to rely on state funds alone to pay the tab. She’s got donations coming in from all over the country to the tune of $1,104,935–and that’s as of last Tuesday, reports Lourdes Medrano for the Christian Science Monitor.

SB 1070 is the state policy signed into law by Brewer on April 23 that makes it a state crime to be in Arizona without papers. It authorizes law enforcement officers to detain and question anyone an officer has "reasonable suspicion" to believe might be undocumented.

Brewer authorized the legal defense fund on May 26 with her Executive Order 2010-11. Checks come in through a "Border Security and Immigration Legal Defense Fund" and are then directed to the State of Arizona. The fund saw its biggest spike in donations in the 48 hours after the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the state over SB 1070’s constitutionality. More than half of the donations have come in small denominations, with the big donor states being California, Arizona and Texas.

The next court hearing over SB 1070 is scheduled for Thursday, July 22. Judge Susan Bolton will hear arguments over the injunction request filed by immigrant and civil rights groups to block SB 1070 from going into effect on its slated date, July 29.