On Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey
(D.C. No. 94-cv-03471) Argued May 24, 1996
Before: SLOVITER, Chief Judge, Sarokin and Oakes *fn*, Circuit Judges
(Opinion Filed July 29, 1996)
The State of New Jersey, its governor, Christine Todd Whitman, Corrections Commissioner William H. Fauver and Education Commissioner Leo Klagholz (collectively New Jersey or the state) have sued the United States, Attorney General Janet Reno, Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service Doris Meissner, and Director of the Office of Management and Budget Alice Rivlin (collectively the United States) seeking compensation for costs incurred by New Jersey in incarcerating and educating illegal aliens.
New Jersey alleges that "[a]s a direct result of the federal government's failure to control its international borders and implement and abide by its laws, the State of New Jersey is improperly forced to bear the financial and administrative costs of imprisonment of illegal aliens who are convicted of crimes in New Jersey . . .[as well as the] costs of education of illegal aliens." App. at 25. These costs for state fiscal year 1994 (ending June 30, 1994) are alleged to have been approximately $50.5 million for incarceration, App. at 26, and approximately $162 million for education, App. at 27. New Jersey seeks a declaratory judgment that it has a right to reimbursement of these costs from the federal government, and an injunction and/or writ of mandamus requiring defendants to disburse funds from the United States Treasury to the state for these costs.
New Jersey grounds its eight count complaint on the following statutory and constitutional provisions: sections of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 providing for the collection of penalties and expenses by the Attorney General and the reimbursement of states by the Attorney General for costs incurred for the imprisonment of illegal aliens convicted of state felonies, 8 U.S.C. Section(s) 1330, 1365(a); the Invasion and Guarantee Clauses of Article IV, Section(s) 4 of the U.S. Constitution; the Tenth Amendment; the Naturalization Clause of Article I, Section(s) 8; the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment; and generalized principles of state sovereignty.
The district court granted the United States' motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), ruling that New Jersey's constitutional claims presented non-justiciable political questions and that its statutory claims were not subject to judicial review under the Administrative Procedures Act. This appeal followed. We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. Section(s) 1291 and our review is plenary.
We note at the outset that five other states have also filed similar actions. Each case has been dismissed by the district court under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) and in each of the two cases so far to have reached the appellate courts, the respective court of appeals has affirmed the dismissal. See Texas v. United States, No. B-94-228 (S.D. Tex. Aug. 7, 1995), appeal pending, No. 95-40721 (5th Cir.); Arizona v. United States, No. 94-0866 (D.Ariz. Apr. 18, 1995), appeal pending, No. 95-15980 (9th Cir.); Padavan v. United States, No. 94-CV-1341 (N.D.N.Y., Apr. 18, 1995), affirmed, 82 F.3d 23 (2d Cir. 1996); California v. United States, No. 94-0674-K (S.D.Cal. Mar. 3, 1995), appeal pending, No. 95-55490 (9th Cir.); Chiles v. United States, 874 F.Supp. 1334 (S.D.Fla. 1994), affirmed, 69 F.3d 1094 (11th Cir. 1995), cert. denied, 116 S.Ct. 1674 (1996).
Plaintiffs present a number of novel constitutional claims. We have considerable doubt as to whether these claims are even colorable, but, in any event, we agree with the district court's conclusion that they are non-justiciable. Nonetheless, we examine each claim ...