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Tag Archives: Arizona

Arizona immigration law challenge could end in a tie

Gov. Jan Brewer and attorney Paul Clement, far right, leaving the Supreme Court Wednesday after oral arguments in Arizona v. U.S. (Photo: Kimberly Atkins, Lawyers USA)

There is bad news and good news for the Obama administration as it seeks to have Arizona’s controversial immigration enforcement law SB 1070 struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The bad news: four out of the eight justices who heard the case today seemed to side squarely on the side of Arizona officials who say the state statute does not conflict with federal immigration law. (Justice Elena Kagan recused herself, likely because she was involved in the challenge while she was Obama’s solicitor general).

If, as it seemed, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito and presumably Clarence Thomas (Thomas does not speak during oral arguments, but he is a vocal opponent of the doctrine of implied preemption) are inclined to rule in favor of the state, the best the federal government can do in its challenge is tie – assuming noted swing voter Justice Anthony M. Kennedy votes in the administration’s favor.

But the good news is that a tie would be a win in this case. If the Court splits, the case goes back to the 9th Circuit, which has already given a strong indication that it would strike down the law when it upheld a preliminary injunction preventing the law from going into effect.

Much more on the arguments later on Lawyers USA online.

Supreme Court saves AZ immigration law challenge for last

The Supreme Court is set to end its oral argument season with a bang this morning, as it hears the challenge to Arizona’s immigration law which authorizes police officers to check the status of any detained individual the officer suspects may be an illegal immigrant.

The law is being challenged by the Obama administration, which argues that federal immigration law preempts state measures such as Arizona’s SB 1070. But state officials say they have the right to enact state immigration laws, particularly where – as they claim here – federal law is ineffective.

Stay tuned to Lawyers USA online and this blog this afternoon for updates on the arguments.

Arizona files SCOTUS cert petition over immigration law

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a 9th Circuit ruling blocking enforcement of parts of the state’s controversial immigration law, S.B. 1070, which allows police to check the immigration status of individuals.

The move officially puts the case before the nation’s highest court, which must now decide whether to take the matter up next term. At issue in the case is whether states have the ability to implement tough immigration laws, or if that area is solely within the jurisdiction of federal lawmakers.

“It’s going to be pretty hard for the federal government to deny these are issues of primary importance,” said Paul Clement, a Washington, D.C., attorney hired by Brewer to prepare Wednesday’s petition, according to the Arizona Republic. “It’s not like immigration is an area of absolutely exclusive federal control, and with Arizona bearing such a disproportionate burden (of the immigration problem), a one-size-fits-all solution doesn’t make sense.”

Legal commentators on an online symposium hosted by SCOTUSblog have been chiming in for weeks with opinions on whether the Court will rule in the Arizona’s favor, or side with the federal government – or whether the Court will decide to take up the matter at all.

Next stop for Az. immigration law case: Supreme Court? (access required)

After a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit upheld a lower court ruling striking key parts of a controversial Arizona immigration measure, Gov. Jan Brewer may take her appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court next.

“I remain steadfast in my belief that Arizona and other states have a sovereign right and obligation to protect their citizens and enforce immigration law in accordance with federal statute,” Brewer said in a in a joint statement with state Attorney General Tom Horne after yesterday’s 9th Circuit ruling.

After the Justice Department challenged the law, an Arizona district court blocked enforcement of several of its provisions – including the requirements that law police check the immigration status of individuals stopped for other matters, and that non-citizens carry immigration papers with them at all times – holding that they were preempted by federal immigration law. The appellate panel affirmed.

Brewer has several options now: appeal to the full panel of the 9th Circuit, allow the case to be remanded back to the district court to consider whether the block on enforcement is constitutional, or appeal directly to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court is already deliberating the constitutionality of another Arizona law which imposes sanctions on employers who hire undocumented workers and mandating the use of the federal E-Verify database. A ruling in that case, Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting, is expected before the Court’s term wraps in June.

Justice Department to file suit over AZ immigration law today

CNN is reporting that Obama administration sources have confirmed that the Justice Department will fill a lawsuit today over Arizona’s controversial immigration law.

The suit will allege that the law is preempted by federal immigration law.

The Washington Post reports that some legal experts believe that the argument of preemption – a doctrine that has been well-established and upheld by the Supreme Court – should very well persuade the federal district court judge that the state law, which allows police to question anyone if they have a “reasonable suspicion” that the person is an illegal immigrant, is a violation of the Constitution’s supremacy clause. The law is scheduled to go into effect later this month.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton first indicated last month that a lawsuit would be forthcoming, prompting Gov. Jan Brewer, who signed the measure into law in April, to chide federal officials for telling the news media about its plans to sue before telling Arizona state officials.

O’Connor discourages Arizona boycott, gently criticizes immigration law

“Don’t boycott us.”

That was the plea from Arizona resident and retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to those who have threatened to stop traveling to and doing business in the state to protest its controversial new immigration law.

The law, which authorizes police to question anyone they reasonably suspect of being an illegal immigrant, and makes it crime for immigrants without residency papers to be in the state, “may have gone a little too far in its authority, in encouraging local law enforcement officers to take action” against suspected illegal immigrants, O’Connor said according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

O’Connor, who was giving a speech about civics education at a school, also said that the law could encourage racial profiling, even if that was not its objective. “It doesn’t read that way, but it might work that way,” she said.