This morning the Supreme Court takes up a case that not only involves hot-button issues like immigration reform, employment discrimination and federal preemption – the case has also created an unusual alliance of groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the ACLU and labor unions.
The case Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting involves a challenge brought by the Chamber against the Legal Arizona Workers Act, a state law requiring companies to use the federal E-Verify system to check the immigration status of their workers. Failure to do so can result in penalties that include fines, possible jail time and the loss of the company’s business license – which leads some to call the measure a “business death penalty.”
The Chamber and other groups that have joined the challenge as amici claim that the law should be struck down because the federal government is in charge of imposing immigration laws, and has already chosen to make use of the E-Verify system voluntary, not mandatory.
But state officials say federal immigration laws expressly allow states to impose licensing laws on businesses. The state law is just that, they argue.
The case also presents a preview of sorts of the battle over Arizona’s other immigration law, S.B. 1070, which allows the police to detain anyone they suspect of being an undocumented worker.
UPDATE: Coverage of the oral argument can be found here on Lawyers USA Online (sub. req’d).
More on the case and its potential impact here from Lawyers USA.