In the 1950s and 1960s, the federal government had to frequently step in and protect the civil rights of Americans -- specifically, people of color -- in what might be best called "rogue states" down South. I thought that era belonged to history.
The U.S. Department of Justice on Thursday announced it had sued Joe Arpaio, the controversial sheriff of Maricopa County in Arizona, for failing to turn over documents in a probe of whether his aggressive operations against illegal immigrants had violated civil rights.
The litigation came two months after a Justice Department lawsuit halted a tough new Arizona immigration law, which Arpaio strongly supported. The new lawsuit is unrelated to the immigration law and stems from an investigation into the sheriff's immigration enforcement operations. The department said it was the first time in 30 years a police agency had not cooperated in a civil-rights probe.