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Department of Justice jumps into Green Light lawsuit

Dec 06, 2019 1:30 pm
Rebecca Carballo is reporting for the Times Union the U.S. Department of Justice is backing the federal lawsuit brought by the Rensselaer County clerk challenging the constitutionality of New York's new law making drivers licenses available to undocumented immigrants. If the so-called Green Light law goes into effect as planned on Dec. 14, local Department of Motor Vehicles and county clerk offices would be prohibited from sharing with immigration enforcement agencies the private information disclosed by applicants. Rensselaer County Clerk Frank J. Merola initially filed the case over the summer, naming Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, Attorney General Letitia James and the DMV commissioner as defendants. The DoJ filed a memo of support with the federal court December 5, arguing the bar on data sharing violates federal law, and noting that Article VI of the Constitution blocks states from taking action that frustrates federal laws and regulatory schemes. Merola said in an interview he thinks the memo breathes new life into his legal challenge. “It’s a game-changer that they're joining us,” he said. Merola believes the DoJ action could make it more likely the court will keep the law from going into effect. In a statement, Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin said the filing of the memo was "a major victory for Rensselaer County and our efforts to protect the Constitution and the rule of law." Read the full story in the Times Union.
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