Monday, June 25, 2012

Supreme Court Upholds Key Provision of Arizona's SB 1070

Progressives will highlight that 3 of 4 of the law's provisions were struck down. But the thing to emphasis is that it's really the key provision that was upheld by the court --- the authority for local law enforcement to determine the legal residency status of suspects in a lawful stop. That's what's been called "racial profiling" for these past few years. It's what progressives targeted for defeat at the Court. In that sense, no matter what the left says, this is a huge defeat for the open borders extremists in the Democrat Party and the radical netroots fever swamps.

See the Wall Street Journal, "Supreme Court Upholds Key Part of Arizona Law" (via Memeorandum). And at the Los Angeles Times, "Supreme Court strikes down key parts of Arizona immigration law."

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court said Monday that the federal government has the sole power to enforce the laws against illegal immigration, striking down three key provisions of Arizona's first-in-the nation crackdown on undocumented residents.

"Arizona may have understandable frustrations with the problems caused by illegal immigration,” said Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for the majority, "but the state may not pursue policies that undermine federal law."

But the 5-3 decision was not a total loss for Arizona. The justices cleared the way for state officials to begin enforcing a provision that calls on police, when making lawful stops, to check the immigration status of people who may be in the country illegally. These status checks should not "result in prolonged detention," Kennedy said.

The decision may be a partial, symbolic victory for Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, but it is a much bigger win for President Obama. His administration had sued to block the Arizona law from taking effect, and it prevailed on three of the four provisions under dispute.

The high court struck down parts of Arizona's SB 1070 that made it a state crime for illegal immigrants to seek work and to not to carry immigration papers. The justices also blocked a provision that gave the police authority to arrest immigrants for crimes that may lead to deportation.
"Federal law makes a single sovereign responsible for maintaining a comprehensive and unified system to keep track of aliens within the nation's borders,” Kennedy wrote. If Arizona could arrest and hold immigrants for not carrying papers, "every state could give itself independent authority to prosecute federal registration violations."
William Jacobson argues that the Obama administration did better at the Court than expected, and with the residency verification provision upheld, we can expect more litigation. See: "Supreme Court upholds key immigration status check provision of Arizona law."

I'll have more on the reactions later.