Central Alabama Fair Housing Center et al v. Magee et al
OPINION AND ORDER that: (1) plaintiffs' 13 MOTION for a Temporary Restraining Order is granted; (2) Defendants Julie Magee and Jimmy Stubbs, and all those acting in concert with them, are hereby ENJOINED from requiring any person who attempts to pay the annual registration fee, required by 1975 Ala. Code § 40-12-255, to prove his or her U.S. citizenship or lawful immigration status; (3) Defendants Magee and Stubbs, and all those acting in concert with them, are ENJOINED from refusing to issue the manufactured home decal required by 1975 Ala. Code § 40-12-255 to any person because that person cannot prove his or her U.S. citizenship or lawful immigration status; (4) Defendant Magee is hereby ORDERED to immediately notify all county officials who are responsiblefor enforcing the manufactured home registration requirements of 1975 Ala. Code § 40-12-255 of this temporary restraining order; (5) This injunction shall expire on December 7, 2011, at 4:30 p.m. Signed by Honorable Judge Myron H. Thompson on 11/23/2011 at 4:30 p.m. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Appeals Checklist)(cc, )
IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA, NORTHERN DIVISION
CENTRAL ALABAMA FAIR
HOUSING CENTER, et al.,
JULIE MAGEE, in her
official capacity as
JIMMY STUBBS, in his
official capacity as
Elmore County Probate
CIVIL ACTION NO.
OPINION AND ORDER
This matter is before the court on the plaintiffs’
Alabama Revenue Commissioner) and Jimmy Stubbs (in his
official capacity as Elmore County Probate Judge), filed
November 18, 2011, and now under submission following a
hearing held on November 23, 2011.
For the reasons that
follow, the motion will be granted.
To warrant temporary injunctive relief under Federal
demonstrate: (1) a substantial likelihood of success on
the merits of their underlying case, (2) that they will
suffer irreparable harm in the absence of an injunction,
(3) that the harm suffered by the plaintiffs in the
absence of an injunction would exceed the harm suffered by
the defendants, and (4) that an injunction would not
disserve the public interest.
Grizzle v. Kemp, 634 F.3d
1314, 1320 (11th Cir. 2011).
In balancing these four
factors, while the likelihood of success is generally most
important, the court may employ a “sliding scale” by
“balancing the hardships associated with the issuance or
likelihood of success on the merits,” Florida Medical
Ass’n, Inc. v. U.S. Dep’t of Health, Educ. & Welf., 601
potential harm, the lower the likelihood of success needs
to be. Id.1 Accordingly, where the “balance of equities
weighs heavily in favor of granting the injunction, the
Gonzalez v. Reno, 2000 WL 381901, at *1 (11th
Cir. 2000) (quoting Ruiz v. Estelle, 650 F.2d 555, 565
(5th Cir. June 26, 1981)).
This lawsuit challenges the defendants’ enforcement of
§ 30 of the Beason-Hammon Alabama Taxpayer and Citizen
Protection Act, 2011 Ala. Laws 535 (“HB 56”), as applied
to Alabama’s manufactured homes statute, 1975 Ala. Code
raises a host of issues not considered by the court in
United States v. Alabama, 2011 WL 4469941, at *58-60 (N.D.
Ala. Sept. 28, 2011) (Blackburn, J.), or Hispanic Interest
Coalition of Alabama v. Bentley, 2011 WL 5516953 (N.D.
1. In Bonner v. Prichard, 661 F.2d 1206, 1209 (11th
Cir. 1981) (en banc), the Eleventh Circuit Court of
Appeals adopted as binding precedent all of the decisions
of the former Fifth Circuit handed down prior to the
close of business on September 30, 1981.
Ala. Sept. 28, 2011) (Blackburn, J.).
In those cases,
which were both facial challenges, the court never ruled
on, or even considered, the lawfulness of § 30 of HB 56 as
applied to § 40-12-255.
Section 30 of HB 56 makes it unlawful for “[a]n alien
not lawfully present in the United States” to enter into,
or attempt to enter into, “a business transaction with the
state or a political subdivision of the state.”
§ 30 (Doc. No. 31-1, at 68).
Meanwhile, § 40-12-255
requires that owners of manufactured homes pay an annual
registration fee to get an identification decal that must
be visibly displayed on the exterior of the manufactured
1975 Ala. Code § 40-12-255(a).
home registration papers and fee are due October 1 of each
year and are considered delinquent if not paid by November
30, at which point a non-compliant owner of a manufactured
home can be given a civil fine or face criminal charges
for a class C misdemeanor, punishable up to three months
1975 Ala. Code § 13A-5-7(a)(3).
relief, but the court need consider only one for the
conflicts with federal law and is therefore preempted.
The first consideration the court must make is whether
the plaintiffs have demonstrated a substantial likelihood
of success on the merits of this claim.
The court finds
that, quite convincingly, the plaintiffs have met their
statute, the state law is necessarily preempted.
v. National Foreign Trade Council, 530 U.S. 363, 372
In the immigration context, States “enjoy no
power with respect to the classification of aliens,”
Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202, 225 (1982); that power is
committed exclusively “to the political branches of the
Federal Government.” Id.
As a corollary, the “[p]ower to
DeCanas v. Bica, 424 U.S. 351, 354
Through the Immigration and Nationalization Act,
scheme for regulation of immigration and naturalization’
and set ‘the terms and conditions of admission to the
country and subsequent treatment of aliens lawfully in the
Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting, 131 S. Ct.
1968, 1973 (2011) (quoting DeCanas, 424 U.S. at 353, 359).
In conjunction with this scheme and to assist with
mechanisms, such as the Department of Homeland Security’s
Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements program
(SAVE) and 8 U.S.C. § 1373(c), that permit States and
localities to obtain an immigrant’s lawful status.
ministerial functions and “no independent determinations
are made and no state-created criteria are applied.”
League of United Latin American Citizens v. Wilson, 908 F.
Supp. 755, 770 (C.D. Cal. 1995) (emphasis added).
30 of HB 56 purports to rely upon the two above federal
SAVE and § 1373(c). See HB 56
§ 30(c) (Doc. No. 31-1, at 68-69).
But, as was made
dramatically clear by the testimony of both defendants in
the hearing held on November 23, 2011, the defendants use
neither SAVE nor § 1373(c) when determining whether to
allow the owner of a manufactured home to obtain his or
her annual registration decal.
Instead, the evidence
reflects that the Alabama Revenue Department and the
Elmore County Probate Office initially proposed to use
demonstrated his or her lawful citizenship status, but are
now in the process of developing a new system that will
comply with HB 56.2
Not only is it unclear what this new
process will be but it is also unclear whether that new
process will be in operation any time in the near future.
2. It appears that the defendants propose to use a
list of documents included in § 12(d) and § 29(k) of HB
56 to determine citizenship and lawful status. They are
not verifying lawful status with the federal government.
What is clear is, first, that the defendants do not now
have in place a definite process that will be in sync with
federal immigration law and, second, that they will not
have a process in place any time soon.
that the defendants’ current process (or, perhaps to be
more accurate, lack of a definite process) conflicts with
federal law is inescapable.
The plaintiffs, therefore,
have shown a substantial likelihood on the success of the
merits of their claim.
Combining the second and third factors, the court
finds that the plaintiffs are likely to face irreparable
harm if application of § 30 of HR 56, as applied to § 4012-255, is not enjoined: they face both civil and criminal
liability after November 30, 2011, because they are being
prohibited from paying their registration fees. The court
especially given the short-term nature of this order and
given the uncertainty that the defendants will have in
place any time soon a process for determining citizenship
Fourth and finally, the court finds that the public
restraining order, which will be used to preserve the
potential civil and criminal liability, as the court
Accordingly, it is ORDERED:
restraining order (Doc. No. 13) is granted.
(2) Defendants Julie Magee and Jimmy Stubbs, and all
those acting in concert with them, are hereby
ENJOINED from requiring any person who attempts
to pay the annual registration fee, required by
1975 Ala. Code § 40-12-255, to prove his or her
U.S. citizenship or lawful immigration status.
(3) Defendants Magee and Stubbs, and all those acting
in concert with them, are ENJOINED from refusing
to issue the manufactured home decal required by
1975 Ala. Code § 40-12-255 to any person because
citizenship or lawful immigration status.
(4) Defendant Magee is hereby ORDERED to immediately
notify all county officials who are responsible
for enforcing the manufactured home registration
requirements of 1975 Ala. Code § 40-12-255 of
this temporary restraining order.
(5) This injunction shall expire on December 7, 2011,
at 4:30 p.m.
DONE, this the 23rd day of November, 2011, at 4:30
/s/ Myron H. Thompson
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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