Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
says the federal government will sue Arizona, challenging the state's tough new immigration
law, which gives police power to stop and question anyone they suspect is in the country illegally.
Clinton told an Ecuadorean television station earlier this month that the Justice Department, at President Obama's
direction, "will be bringing a lawsuit." But she did not say on what grounds the U.S. would do so, and the Justice Department declined to confirm that such a case was going forward. But on Friday, a senior Obama administration official told CBS News
a federal challenge to the law would be filed when the Justice Department finishes building a case.
Clinton's remarks came as no surprise and another government source told the Washington Post "there is no reason to think" that her statement is incorrect. The Obama administration
has indicated for weeks that a lawsuit is likely and the president himself has been highly critical of the law, which caused a storm of protest from immigrants-rights groups and various threats to boycott the state of Arizona. The American public, however, is divided on the law. A recent Quinnipiac University poll
found 48 percent wanted a similar statute in their state, while 35 percent opposed such action.
A video of Clinton's June 8 interview was distributed by the American Civil Liberties
Union, which has been calling for a federal lawsuit, the Post said. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said she was "stunned and angered" to hear of Clinton's remarks, CNN
reported. If the federal government intends to sue, Brewer said, "the least it can do is inform us before it informs the citizens of another nation."