Who Speaks for Arizona: The Respective Roles of the Governor and Attorney General When the State Is Named in a Lawsuit

On April 23, 2010, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed Senate Bill 1070 (SB 1070) into law and ignited a national debate on the issues of immigration policy, federal preemption, and states’ rights. Within weeks, eight federal lawsuits were filed challenging the constitutionality of the new law. Not only did SB 1070 raise serious questions of federal constitutional law, it also raised serious questions regarding the powers and duties of the governor and the attorney general under the Arizona Constitution. Primarily, who speaks for the State of Arizona when the State is sued in federal and state court?