Two Groups Challenge Legality of Arpaio Pardon

Advocacy groups charge that President Trump’s pardon of former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio was unconstitutional because it undermined the power of the federal judiciary.

Two advocacy groups are challenging President Trump’s pardon of former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, alleging that the president’s move was unconstitutional because it undermined the power of the federal judiciary, reports Politico. The Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center, a public interest law firm, asked to file an amicus brief in an Arizona court, where Arpaio is seeking to vacate a conviction after Trump granted him a pardon last month. A second group, the Protect Democracy Project, filed an amicus brief arguing that the pardon is unconstitutional.

Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County, has repeatedly been accused of using racist law enforcement tactics and mistreating inmates. A Justice Department civil rights investigation concluded that his department racially profiled Latinos. Arpaio lost a re-election bid last year. In July, he was convicted of criminal contempt of court because he had continued to detain immigrants without sufficient reason after a federal court order told him to stop. Trump pardoned Arpaio in August, pointing to his “selfless public service.” The MacArthur Justice Center brief contends that Trump’s pardon of Arpaio violated the Constitution because “it has the purpose and effect of eviscerating the judicial power to enforce constitutional rights.” The MacArthur Justice Center lawyers argue that, while broad, presidential pardon power can not be used to undermine the judiciary’s ability to enforce the Bill of Rights or the Fourteenth Amendment.