Hazleton Decision Expected Today

Both sides confident of victory
So, what happens after the decision comes down?

With U.S. District Judge James Munley expected to issue a decision in the suit against Hazleton’s Illegal Immigration Relief Act today, the city is making plans – for both the long and short terms.

While the plaintiffs will discuss the decision at the federal courthouse in Scranton, Mayor Lou Barletta will hold a press conference at City Hall about 4 p.m. He said he wanted to react to the decision here rather than in Scranton so the national media could “see Hazleton again.”
“This is where it happened, and this is where I want to address the people of Hazleton and the country,” Barletta said.

Wednesday night, Barletta sounded upbeat.

“I think we should win – the decision should be in our favor,” he said. “I believe the law is on our side, that we have the right to do what we’re doing.
“We presented a great case,” Barletta added. “I have no regrets. We have one of the finest legal teams in country to defend us. And I’m still confident (that) in the end, we’ll win.”

Rudy Espinal, president of the Hazleton Hispanic Business Association and one of the plaintiffs in the case, was equally upbeat.“I think we are all confident the decision will be in our favor,” Espinal said. “We don’t see it any other way.”
Expectations are there may be supporters and opponents of the law at City Hall today.

“I will make sure we have the appropriate police coverage, but I don’t expect any problems,” Barletta said. “Most of the meetings we’ve had have been orderly. People certainly expressed their opinions. But there hasn’t been any trouble, and I don’t expect any. But I’ll make sure there’s police protection for announcement.”

The expected decision has already attracted media attention.

Barletta said CNN host Lou Dobbs – who has championed IIRA and donated to the city’s legal defense fund – is sending a satellite truck here today. Barletta is also slated to be on Dobbs’ show tonight.

“Many cities are waiting for this decision as well,” Barletta said. “We’re speaking for a lot of people.”
In fact, a number of towns and cities – including several local municipalities – have been waiting for a decision in this case before deciding whether to adopt copycat versions of the law.

But while many are assuming Munley will either uphold the ordinance or strike it down, he might not. He has options.
He could strike it down or uphold it en toto. Or, he could uphold parts and strike down other parts.
Or he could or send it back to City Council for a partial rewrite and/or clarification.

But city Solicitor Chris Slusser said he expects an up-or-down decision.