E-Verify ordinance in-valid, rules judge

by Jason Walsh

A Marin Superior Court judge has e-viscerated a petition for Novato to adopt the controversial E-Verify ordinance that would require the city to electronically confirm the legal status of all its employees and contractors.

Judge Lynn Duryee ruled Tuesday that such an ordinance would violate the federal Immigration Reform Control Act of 1986, which denies states or municipalities to penalize the employment of illegal aliens.

Novato attorney Jerome Ghigliotti, on behalf of a group called Citizens for Legal Employment and Contracting, has been trying to get Novato to either adopt an E-Verify ordinance, or put one on the ballot for voters to decide upon, for two years. Ghigliotti's group gathered the required 10 percent of signatures from town residents last year to get the proposed ordinance on the ballot, but the Novato City Council refused to act on the basis that such an ordinance was preempted by the Constitution.

Duryee agreed, ruling that "a local public entity can refuse to take action regarding a proposed initiative and require court review of the legal validity of the measure… where the substantive provisions of the proposed measure are legally invalid."

Ghigliotti reportedly plans to appeal.