We’ll be Watching You, Sheriff Arpaio

By Brigitte Amiri, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project

After six years of protracted litigation, women in Maricopa County Jail — you know, the one run by the infamous Sherriff Joe Arpaio — have finally (hopefully) secured their constitutional right to obtain an abortion. The case began in 2004 when a woman, referred to under the pseudonym Jane Doe, was in jail and sought an abortion. Jail officials denied her request, and told her that she had to go to court and have a judge order the jail to transport her for an abortion. She tried this route, but the court denied her request. That’s when the ACLU filed a legal challenge on her behalf, both to ensure that she receive a safe, timely abortion and to strike down Arpaio’s unconstitutional policy. We won. Arpaio appealed. And we won again. Arpaio appealed again, to the Arizona Supreme Court, which refused to review the decision. And Arpaio appealed again, this time to the U.S. Supreme Court, which refused to hear the case.

At that point, we thought the constitutional right to obtain an abortion for women in Maricopa County Jail was secure. But apparently the rule of law doesn’t mean much to Arpaio, “America’s Toughest Sheriff.” Shortly after he exhausted all appeals, he blatantly defied the court’s ruling and refused to voluntarily transport another woman in his custody, referred to as Mary Roe, for an abortion. We intervened and ensured that Ms. Roe was able to obtain her abortion; we also filed a motion to hold Arpaio in contempt of court.

But Arpaio wasn’t done playing games with women’s constitutional rights. In the middle of negotiations on our contempt motion, he decided to impose a new obstacle on women seeking abortion care: in order to be transported, he demanded that women pay $300 a day up front in transportation and security costs. Sarah Poe, another inmate, could not afford to prepay these costs, and would have been forced to have a baby if we did not intervene. We helped secure her abortion, and we challenged the prepayment policy. In October last year, we won, again.

Last week we learned that Arpaio is not going to appeal this latest ruling. We hope that this is the end to a long chapter, and we particularly hope that women in Arpaio’s jail do not have to go through what Ms. Doe, Ms. Roe, and Ms. Poe went through: delay in obtaining care, which may have threatened their health, not to mention the anguish of thinking they may have been forced to remain pregnant and give birth against their will. As a result of their fight, Arpaio must now transport women in his facility who request an abortion, and he must transport them even if they can’t afford to pay the transport costs upfront. We’ve said “hopefully” this is the end because history has shown that Arpaio doesn’t seem to grasp the mandates of the constitution or abide by court orders. If Arpaio tries any new tricks, we stand ready to continue the fight.

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  • crowepps

    Why does this man still have a job? A jailer who thinks he can ignore the court and run a jail as his own personal fiefdom with himself as dictator has mental health issues that make him unfit for his responsibilities.

  • wendy-banks

    He is still employed because Arizona (where I live) is very, very conservitive–Just check out the Sentors Kyl and Mc Cain’s records– Anti-choice as they come, and the current Gov. Whom is trying to get abortion made all but illegal– And a high quota of fanatical right-to-lifer’s and low IQ’ers to boot.

    I live in such a podunk, backward town they think that the Separation of Church and State is a myth and most here get their news from the 700 Club or Fox News. *gags* They think all liberals and Democrats are commie lefty loons. (Gad, I hate this place) You should see the way most stare when I walk by with my black clothes, Goth make-up and spikey pink hair. *whoo hoo– fight the man! Question authority! No! I refuse to act my age– And you can’t make me ;p*

    Now do you have clue why Arpaio is still employed?

    Slan (that’s Irish for bye) From an Arizona desert rat.

  • catseye71352

    Arpaio belongs in one of his own concentration camps.

  • pacer

     Respectfully spending much time explaining to my fellow republicans how today’s society has made early pro choice a prerequisite for pro life.  Fighting to enable poverty and abused lives of misery to double every decade is inhumane, even the few radicals still left on the right should especially demand U. S. federally funded early abortion rights worldwide.  This huge breeding like rabbits illegal alien problem really gives credence to my whole abortion argument.


      Over eighty-five percent of U.S. citizens of different race, religion, color, & politics are united in justifiable anger over the mere thought of another amnesty.  Just in 2009, Sheriff Arpaio received 1.2 million dollars in campaign contributions for the 2012 election mind you.  No pharmaceuticals or Unions nor lobbyists’ have donated to Arpaio.  These campaign contributions are coming from average folks ALL over the United States; many are a 10 or 20-dollar donation.  Those against Sheriff Arpaio are being duly noted.  As the HOPE of the many who elected President Obama… Sheriff Arpaio is giving HOPE to many, many poorer lifelong hardworking taxpaying citizens.  The devil bedamned the corrupt politicians who aided this invasion of illegal border jumper’s into the very lives of lifelong law-abiding citizens whose American dream has turned into a nightmare!  Buy our homes and relocate us tax payers or deport them ALL.


             P S – Sheriff Arpaio as a fellow Veteran in Pennsylvania with a BA in the BS of political science, I would be honored to volunteer for your 2016 campaign for the office you deserve; The Office of the President of the United States.

  • crowepps

    There isn’t anything new about politics based on ‘I got mine, the hell with you’.


    Nativist outbursts occurred in the Northeast from the 1830s to the 1850s, primarily in response to a surge of Irish Catholic immigration. In 1836, Samuel F. B. Morse ran unsuccessfully for Mayor of New York City on a Nativist ticket, receiving 1,496 votes. In New York City, an Order of United Americans was founded as a nativist fraternity, following the Philadelphia Nativist Riots of the preceding spring and summer, in December, 1844.[6]

    In 1849–50 Charles B. Allen founded a secret nativist society called the Order of the Star Spangled Banner in New York City. In order to join the Order, a man had to be twenty-one, a Protestant, a believer in God, and willing to obey without question the dictates of the order. Members of the Order became known as the Know Nothings (a label applied to them because if asked they said they “know nothing about” the secret society).[7]

    The Nativists went public in 1854 when they formed the ‘American Party’, which was especially hostile to Catholics and campaigned for laws to require longer wait time between immigration and naturalization. (The laws never passed.) It was at this time that the term “nativist” first appears, opponents denounced them as “bigoted nativists.” Former President Millard Fillmore ran on the American Party ticket for the Presidency in 1856. The American Party also included many ex-Whigs who ignored nativism, and included (in the South) a few Catholics whose families had long lived in America. Conversely, much of the opposition to Catholics came from Protestant Irish immigrants and German Lutheran immigrants who were not native at all and can hardly be called “nativists.”[8]

    This form of nationalism is often identified with xenophobia and anti-Catholic sentiment (anti-Papism). In the 1840s, small scale riots between Catholics and nativists took place in several American cities. In Philadelphia in 1844, for example, a series of nativist assaults on Catholic churches and community centers resulted in the loss of lives and the professionalization of the police force. Nativist sentiment experienced a revival in the 1890s, led by Protestant Irish immigrants hostile to Catholic immigration.[9]

    From the 1840s to 1920 German Americans were distrusted because of their separatist social structure, their opposition to prohibition, their attachment to their native tongue over English, and their neutrality in World War I.

    The Bennett Law caused a political uproar in Wisconsin in 1890, as the state government passed a law that threatened to close down hundreds of German-language elementary schools. Catholic and Lutheran Germans rallied to defeat the incumbent Republican Governor, William D. Hoard, the leader of the nativists. Hoard attacked German-American culture and religion:

    “We must fight alienism and selfish ecclesiasticism…. The parents, the pastors and the church have entered into a conspiracy to darken the understanding of the children, who are denied by cupidity and bigotry the privilege of even the free schools of the state.” Hoard, a Republican, was defeated by the Democrats. A similar campaign in Illinois regarding the “Edwards Law” led to a Republican defeat there in 1890.[10]

    In the 1870s Irish American immigrants attacked Chinese immigrants in the western states, driving them out of smaller towns. Dennis Kearney led a mass movement in San Francisco in 1877 that threatened to harm railroad owners if they hired any people who were Chinese.[13][14] The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was the first of many nativist acts of Congress to limit the flow of immigrants into the U.S. The Chinese responded with false claims of American birth, enabling thousands to immigrate to California.[15] Ironically, the exclusion of the Chinese caused the western railroads to begin importing Mexican railroad workers in greater numbers (“traqueros“).[16]



  • pacer

    Nativism today in the United States:  Anyone may apply here legally, we have many great new citizens in our towns from the Middle East, Asia, Brazil, etc, etc, and they ALL have one thing in common; they applied to come here legally and waited their turn! Here in Pa. we have 15.4% or 424,000 of our own legal children in poverty.  Our governor Fast Eddy Rendell’s little city of Philadelphia gave free childbirth delivery to a minimum of 1,800 undocumented women in the twelve short months of 2008.  Low est. of illegal’s Statewide is 3.8 million. Over 60 percent of all are high school dropouts.  The amount of children who will be eligible for (SCHIP) States Children Health Insurance Program following another amnesty is staggering. Minus the undocumented in Pa. there are 1,211,000 legal Pa. citizens without health insurance. Over half our Catholic Churches and schools have closed for good, and the only ones thriving are the clans of illegal aliens packed into rental properties all throughout the State (which is also very broke & corrupt).  If you are an American taxpayer, it is not politically correct to use taxpayers’ money to the advantage of the actual taxpayer.  In 2006, the cost of illegal aliens to each Pa. residential household was 150 dollars annually, since 2006 the amount of illegal border jumper’s have tripled along with their high cost our children are also paying.  Our taxes have more than doubled (not our incomes), as our once safe schools have become overcrowded and dangerous.  Disambiguation is Deportation and would provide employment right now in every single job field.  While our taxes are used to support this “poor minority” of high school dropout illegal aliens, our children are growing up in danger, and lazy without proper work ethics unemployed because illegal aliens are doing the jobs we held at 15 years of age.  Even our union construction workers here have been unemployed for a very long time.  It is about time those whose very blood and sweat built our counties, the poorer  homeowners living next door to the illegal swine destroying our property value and neighborhoods are made safe and whole again!  As a lifelong Roman Catholic, here is one Catholic priest who is actually for us poorer hardworking legal citizens of all Color.  It is a 10-minute video filmed next door to Pennsylvania in Harlem, N.Y.  Every word is so true… 


                  Father Bascio on the immorality of illegal immigration


  • jayn

    Anyone may apply here legally


    That’s not really true.  The situations under which a person can apply for a permanent visa are actually pretty limited–Immediate family of a citizen, spouse/finace of a citizen, school, and work (work visas are hard to get–the demand far outstrips the number allotted each year, to the point of having twice as many applicants as visas on the first day of applications for a particular year.


    The process is also costly and, at best, annoying.  I’m in the process of getting my green card renewed right now.  When I firt got it, we spent several hundred dollars in application fees, I had to visit a doctor twice for a medical exam–which we had to pay for–and take two trips out of town to the DHS building in another city–once for biometrics (again, that we were charged for) and again for our interview, at which point we had to bring all our initial evidence that our relationship was legit.  My husband also had to prove he was making enough income to support me.  The process took a total of nine months, and my case was about as straightforward as it gets.


    Now, we’ve had to spend several hundred dollars again (including another round of biometrics) and we’re currently waiting on notice for our return interview.


    It’ll still be another year before I can apply to gain citizenship.


    None of this is to say that I condone illegal immigration, but the process isn’t as easy as people like pacer make it sound, and having been through the process, I understand better why people would want to bypass it.