For Immediate Release
Update on DOJ Efforts to Invalidate the Arcate and Eureka Youth Protection Acts
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA vs. CITIES OF EUREKA AND ARCATA, CA
OAKLAND, CA - On
Tuesday, June 9 at 1pm, in Courtroom 3 at the Oakland Federal
Courthouse, Federal Court Judge Saundra Armstrong is scheduled to hear
oral arguments regarding the Arcata and Eureka Youth Protection Acts.
These ordinances prohibit military recruiters from initiating contact
with minors for the purpose of recruiting them into any branch of the
military. They were approved as ballot initiative Measures F and J, on
November 4, 2008 by margins of 73% in Arcata and 57% in Eureka.
Judge Armstrong is scheduled to hear oral arguments on two motions by the United States Department of Justice.
motion is the plaintiff's (United States') motion for Judgment on the
Pleadings, in which the US is arguing that, as a matter of law,
Measures F and J are both invalid under the Supremacy Clause of the US
Constitution. Such a motion can only be granted if the Court believes
that all of the Cities’ arguments in defense of the measures lack any
substance worthy of a hearing. A ruling in favor of the Federal
Government on this motion would effectively invalidate the ordinances
without further opportunity to defend them, subject to possible appeal
by the Cities.
second motion is the plaintiff's motion for Dismissal of the Cities'
Counterclaims. The Cities' Counterclaims assert that the United States
recruiting practices are themselves invalid because they are in
conflict with International Treaty obligations that prohibit the
military recruiting of minors. The Optional Protocol to the Convention
on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed
Conflicts, as ratified by the United States Senate, has the standing of
the Supreme Law of the Land, on equal footing with the US Constitution
and any federal laws regulating military recruiting. The U.S. argues
that the Cities do not have standing to bring the counterclaims, based
on a lack of harm to the Cities themselves.
the U.S. argues this in the face of the recent ruling by Judge
Armstrong that the proponents of the initiatives passed by the voters
do not have the right to intervene in the case. She based her ruling on
the assertion that the Cities are able to present a full defense of the
measures without the participation of the proponents in the case. If
neither the Cities nor the proponents have standing to defend the
measures, then how will the people who voted for them be represented in
defending their right to protect youth from the excesses of recruiters?
Cities have argued that, under the Ninth Amendment to the Constitution,
people have a right to privacy and to protect their children from
uninvited or inappropriate advances by anyone, including military
recruiters. Further, under the Tenth Amendment, they have the right to
enact and enforce ballot initiative ordinances.
City of Arcata is represented by Brad Yamauchi of the San Francisco
firm of Minami and Tamaki, LLP, and by the Law Offices of Michael
Sorgen, and City Attorney, Nancy Diamond. The City of Eureka is
represented by their City Attorney, Sheryl Schaffner, and by San
Francisco attorney, Dennis Cunningham. All non-city attorneys are
offering their services pro-bono.
the outcome of Tuesday’s hearing, the people of Arcata and Eureka
continue to demand that the United States of America “Stop Recruiting
Kids!” in their communities.