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Erie County clerk will appeal Green Light law defeat

Erie County Clerk Michael P. Kearns lost round one in his fight against driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants. On Wednesday, Kearns will begin round two – when he appeals his defeat in Buffalo federal court to a higher court.

U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford dismissed Kearns' suit against the state and found he does not have legal standing to challenge the new law. Wolford said Kearns did not provide evidence that the Green Light Law would force him to violate federal law, one of the central claims in his lawsuit.

At the core of the suit is Kearns' claims that he would face criminal prosecution if he enforced the new law because it violates federal immigration law.

Wolford disagreed and found it "speculative" for Kearns to believe the governor would remove him from office, if he did not enforce the law.

“When I filed this lawsuit, it was based wholly upon the constitutionality of the law,” Kearns said, in a statement. “The arguments by the State of New York and the decision of the Court denied any consideration about whether the law is constitutional when it shields and harbors illegal immigrants.”

Kearns was scheduled to address the Erie County Legislature Wednesday to discuss his annual budget and what he described as the uncertainty the Green Light law would create for the county.

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