April 27, 2012
U.S. Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments on Arizona Immigration Law SB 1070
On April 25, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the much-anticipated case of Arizona v. United States, for which the Court granted certiorari in December of 2011. The state of Arizona sought the high court’s review of the ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit blocking certain provisions of the controversial Arizona immigration law, known as SB 1070, from taking effect on constitutional grounds. The Court is expected to issue a decision in the matter in late June of 2012.
The Court will decide the constitutionality of four key provisions that were previously blocked by federal courts that: 1) would require police officers to notify federal authorities if they suspect an individual they have in custody might be undocumented; 2) allow for arrests without warrants when police officers suspect individuals to be undocumented; 3) make it a state crime for undocumented individuals to seek or obtain employment; and 4) make it a state crime for immigrants to fail to carry documentary proof that they are legal immigrants.
The Obama Administration has argued that the law should be viewed by the Court in its entirety as one that is preempted by the federal government’s power to regulate immigration and that a more nuanced legal scheme is required that would better balance national security enforcement interests with civil and human rights. Arizona, on the other hand, has argued that such a law serves the federal interest. Several states have enacted similar laws to Arizona’s, but their laws are on hold pending the Court’s decision in this case. It is anticipated that the Court’s decision will be monumental in determining the latitude of the states’ involvement in legislating immigration matters.
A full transcript of the oral arguments can be read on the Supreme Court’s website.