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Erie County Clerk loses Green Light Law appeal, suit would have blocked law from taking effect

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Posted at 3:53 PM, Nov 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-30 15:53:15-05

NEW YORK — A federal court has upheld a district court decision to dismiss Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns' lawsuit against the state to block the Green Light Law from taking effect.

The law allows immigrants living in New York State without legal documentation to obtain legal driver's licenses.

Kearns filed the original lawsuit back in July 2019, claiming that enforcing the Green Light Law would put him at risk of federal prosecution. He sought injunctions against implementing the law, and "preventing Cuomo and James from removing him from office for refusing to 6 comply with the Law." The lawsuit also asked that the court declare that the Green Light Law is preempted by federal immigration law. The United States District Court for the Western District of New York dismissed that lawsuit, finding that Kearns hadn't adequately proven that he faced a legitimate threat of federal prosecution.

The Court of Appeals issued the following decision:

We have considered Kearns’ remaining arguments and find them to be without merit. For the foregoing reasons, the judgment of the District Court is AFFIRMED.

A similar lawsuit filed by the Rensselaer County Clerk was also dismissed last December.