Supreme Court Ruling on Arizona Immigration Law

The Supreme Court has invalidated three of the four parts of Arizona's controversial immigration law, SB 1070, but it left intact for now the "show me your papers" provision, saying that part could take effect, although it may be subject to future challenges. The opinion is here.

The clueless Governor of AZ called the decision a victory. [More...]

The four provisions:

Section 2(B): Requires state and local police to perform roadside immigration checks of people they've stopped or detained if a "reasonable suspicion" exists that they are in the country illegally.

Section 3: Makes it a state crime for illegal immigrants not to possess their federal registration cards.

Section 5©: Makes it a state crime for illegal immigrants to work, apply for work or solicit work in any way, including making a "gesture or nod" indicating they are looking for work.

Section 6: Allows state and local police to arrest illegal immigrants without a warrant when probable cause exists that they committed "any public offense that makes the person removable from the United States."
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    She's not clueless (none / 0) (#1)
    by jbindc on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 12:19:01 PM EST
    The clueless Governor of AZ called the decision a victory.

    It's called "spin".  

    And the cops still get to ask for your papers if you are brown.

    Agree, I do not understand (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Buckeye on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 12:43:00 PM EST
    why some people though are proclaiming this a win for the other side though.  Brewer asked for 4 things she did not already have, and got 1 of them.  Sure, the court took 3 of what she wanted, but she still has more than what she started with.  She is in a position to preside over a sizable increase in deportations from Arizona (which is what she ultimately wants).

    What did she "get"...really? (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by christinep on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 12:53:16 PM EST
    She "got" the ability to report to the Feds suspected violators of a federal regulatory plan.  Lots of us would argue that she or any of her predecessors already inherently had that.  In many areas, as well as this one, federal authorities accept/do not turn away credible info as to violations of federal law.
    (In view of the recently announced application of certain Enforcement Discretion factors, the practicality of 1070 show-me-your-papers info may be limited a bit.)

    They did (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 01:29:57 PM EST
    That was what the SCOTUS said at oral argument.

    But some are insistent on declaring defeat for the President.

    They should wait till Thursday when ACA is struck down.

    Today was a win.


    And I say good to this (1.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Slayersrezo on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 12:47:01 PM EST
    Of the many reasons to impeach Bush and Obama -too many to count, really - failure to actually defend the borders and value of citizenship would be one of them.

    Defend the borders from what? (5.00 / 3) (#5)
    by kdog on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 12:57:02 PM EST
    Landscapers, fruit pickers, and meatpackers?  Oh the horror.

    But fear not Slayer, the economy tanking did the job better than any fence or further militarization of the border ever could.


    You forgot housekeepers and brick masons (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Angel on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 01:00:16 PM EST
    and roofers.

    Busboys, dishwashers, deliverymen (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by vicndabx on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 01:10:08 PM EST
    I shoulda just said... (5.00 / 4) (#8)
    by kdog on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 01:14:16 PM EST
    defend us from the salt of the earth! ;)

    You know, if we can just keep long-term (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by caseyOR on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 01:34:09 PM EST
    unemployment at its current ridiculously high level, why then we won't need undocumented workers. We will have a huge underclass of citizens who, worn down by poverty and probably starving, will become our new fruit-pickers and gardeners and housekeepers and what have you.

    Of course, for young people this means they will never put those college degrees to any real use nor will they ever pay off those student loans.

    And for the older workers among us it means no possibility of retirement, or a very short time collecting tiny Social Security benefits before succumbing to an early death.

    The upside, which will only be for the wealthy and privileged, is that they will never face having to pay the half-way decent wages that Americans are said to currently demand.

    It is amazing the degradations people will allow themselves to be subjected to if that means they can have a chance to feed their kids. the powers that be are counting on that.


    oh, I don't know (1.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Slayersrezo on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 01:49:10 PM EST
    Maybe the narcoterrorists that spill over our border occasionally and have ended up killing some of our citizens.

    Maybe people who drive wages here down due to exploitation by unscruplous employers and send much of that money home?And please don't think I'm going to get into dueling statistics about this - I know it won't matter anyway, as you all believe what you want to believe.

    I'd say those two reasons are reasons enough, but then you have to add the fact that a wide open border means just anyone can sneak in. Nation states do not have wide open borders, and Nation states do not have unlimited unregulated immigration.

    Luckily the economic crap here is causing some of them to go back home or never make the journey in the first place.


    At least you acknowledge... (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by kdog on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 02:16:36 PM EST
    these are people we are talking about, all endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  

    If it's narco-terrorists you're worried about, we need to legalize drugs to alleviate that problem.  Our insatiable demand for their products will be quenched by hook or by crook, all the suffering we pile on the landscapers ain't gonna change that.


    Of course they are people (none / 0) (#14)
    by Slayersrezo on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 07:19:12 PM EST
    And children aren't responsible for the mostly minor sins of their parents.

    And if it was up to me, after I built an actual wall (rather than the fake half-built stuff they have there now)and did such things as crack down on the employers, I'd legalize all the ones who were still here. As well as expedite any of the poor people who have tried to do it the legal way and had to wait in bureaucratic limbo.

    I don't hate the mostly Mexicans who have crossed the border. At least 90 percent of them are good hard working people who mean no harm even if their presence here is often more due to economics rather than any actual desire to be here. But that 1 to ten percent -the criminals, gangbangers and "Aztlan" people - I wouldn't hesitate for a minute to send them back to their home countries post haste, esp since their home countries often see fit to try to interfere with our Justice system.


    Is there a limit... (none / 0) (#22)
    by kdog on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 11:37:05 AM EST
    to the suffering we will reap on the 90-99% just trying to get by like you and me in the effort to deal with the 1-10% causing a problem?

    A border is not a faucet you can open and close...the free will of free people to go where the getting is good is far stronger than any wall.  Waste of time and money, not to mention an eyesore.


    of course it is victory for Arizona gov (none / 0) (#13)
    by diogenes on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 06:24:23 PM EST
    "The clueless Governor of AZ called the decision a victory..."

    If Arizona has a show me your papers law, undocumented persons who are at all rational will move to other states where they will not be at such risk of being reported to the feds if they run a red light or have a headlight out.  And isn't getting undocumented persons to move out of Arizona what this law is all about?

    writ of mandamus (none / 0) (#15)
    by Synthesist on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 09:16:39 PM EST
    In light of the fact that:

    A) The Obama administration has recently declared that it will not enforce the existing immigration laws passed by Congress by not deporting certain illegal immigrants of its choosing;

    B) A report today by the Washington Times (after the USSC"s ruling upholding the key provision of the Arizona immigration case) states that sources within the Obama administration have indicated that the administration will no longer assist Arizona law enforcement officers with illegal immigrant inquiries;

    Arizona, and every other state that can show that they are harmed by the refusal of the Obama administration to enforce existing immigration law, as sworn to when taking office, should file a "writ of mandamus" in federal court to force the administration to enforce all of the existing immigration laws passed by Congress.

    Please comment as to why a writ of mandamus cannot or should not be filed.

    In five months (none / 0) (#16)
    by lousy1 on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 10:37:42 PM EST
    should this executive discretion  be enforced by a new administration, will the concept of local sanctuaries  be subject to federal coercion?

    Excellent Point (none / 0) (#17)
    by Synthesist on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 11:15:01 PM EST
    You raise an excellent point that I have seen put forth in other comments posted online.

    The USSC ruled today that the state of Arizona cannot pass any immigration laws that conflict with the supremacy of the laws passed by Congress. Therefore, any laws passed establishing "sanctuary cities" and the like should also be struck down by the USSC if challenged.


    Read today's decision (none / 0) (#18)
    by christinep on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 11:38:04 PM EST
    Justice Kennedy clearly notes that there is broad discretion for the Feds in the immigration enforcement arena.  It isn't just a hint nor a suggestion...the majority opinion declares more than once that discretion about disposition (including deportation) is an important component here.

    The answer: there is no cause for a writ of mandamus.


    Discretion? (none / 0) (#19)
    by Synthesist on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 12:16:49 AM EST
    There is no doubt that the Obama administration has exercised "discretion" in cherry picking which immigration laws of Congress it wishes to ignore. The more important point is that under the US Constitution, the president must, to the best of his ability, enforce the laws passed by Congress as he swore to when taking the oath of office.

    It is unconstitutional for any president's administration to willfully ignore to enforce laws passed by Congress, and also a breach of the oath of office. The only excuse that could be raised would be if the law is declared unconstitutional by the USSC or that Congress has not appropriated the resources necessary for the executive branch to enforce the law, neither of which is true in this case.


    Discretion? (none / 0) (#20)
    by Synthesist on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 01:02:07 AM EST
    Will all those who naively cheer the Obama administration's "discretion" to not enforce existing immigration law also be happy if a new Romney administration issues an executive order on 21JAN2013 that none of the "Obamacare" law will be enforced?

    According to the US Constitution, I argue that all presidents must enforce existing law. And that only Congress has the authority to enact new law or to change existing law. No matter which political party is in office.

    If a president willfully refuses to enforce existing law, I think that a writ of mandamus should be filed in federal court to compel compliance.


    Seriously...your comment (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by christinep on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 08:01:17 AM EST
    Indicates that you do not appreciate/understand the legal application of enforcement discretion.  The President's approach sets out the circumstances & factors where deferral would be applicable in a temporary sense, etc....the words & actions of the Executive approach are squarely within his Executive  authority and track what the Supreme Court has expressed with the discretion anticipated under the application of immigration statutory schema.  (BTW, the prosecutorial discretion approach is a longtime approach recognized in federal enforcement in a number of statutory areas...it is a matter of resources mixed with equity.)

    You're Mistaken (none / 0) (#23)
    by Synthesist on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:51:03 PM EST
    Of course I know about prosecutorial discretion and how it is normally applied.

    But I think that what the Obama administration did in this case goes far beyond what would be considered normal discretion. Please refer to points A and B in my original comment above.

    In addition, immediately after the USSC ruling upholding a key portion of the Arizona law, the Obama administration pulled the agreement (287(g)) to have Arizona law enforcement officers enforce federal laws on illegal immigration. It was an apparently petty and vindictive move targeted at the state of Arizona. Was it just coincidence? Did the administration suddenly run out resources in Arizona yesterday and decide that it would exercise its "discretion" to drop this agreement? I don't think so.

    So, again I ask, in light of these facts, can the state of Arizona petition a federal court to assert a writ of mandamus?

    Is there any other legal remedy that the state could pursue?


    And, I repeat (none / 0) (#24)
    by christinep on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 09:32:02 PM EST
    A system for use of discretion, spelling out facotrs to be considered as part of that process, is what the President has done. The majority opinion in the Arizona case, in obiter dicta, recognizes the need for discretion and devotes several sentences to the need, the adviseability of using discretion of whether to consider deportation at all ( then listing a few of the factors that the President mentioned.) The paragraphs in the last page or two of the majority opinion are really important & quite helpful in the matter of enforcement discretion.  

    If you want to invest time & money in this windmill chase, that is your choice. But, in my almost 35+ years of legal practice in the federal area, my opinion is that--at best--it is a Sisyphean endeavor.

    On remedies involving federal statutes, in general. Unless there is a provision for "citizen suit" to force action or a specific authorization, the challenge one would face is satisfying the "standing" requirement. In the absence of specific remedy authorization, an individual needs to assert & establish a concrete-like harm that would result to the petitioner unless the sought remedy is granted.  That is hard to do.


    And Now (none / 0) (#25)
    by Synthesist on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 09:46:45 PM EST
    And now there are news reports that after the USSC ruling, the Obama administration has set up a hotline and e-mail address soliciting information to be used to file alleged civil rights violation cases against Arizona state law enforcement officers and/or other state officials while they are trying to get the illegal immigration problem under control. So much for the "discretion" theory! The administration found the resources to pursue this avenue of attack against the state of Arizona.

    I think at this point that it should be very obvious that the Obama administration is not very happy with the USSC ruling in this case and would rather prosecute Arizona officials than enforce the existing immigration laws passed by Congress.

    So, you argue that a writ of mandamus is not appropriate. Is there anything that the state of Arizona can do to remedy this administration's flaunting of existing immigration law and the ruling of the USSC?


    Please review the full range of analyses (none / 0) (#26)
    by christinep on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 10:06:04 PM EST
    as to the Arizona case.  For the most part, the Court handed the Administration some very good news with the clear affirmation of federal authority over the immigration area...that is why all but the "show me your papers" provision were struck down. Believe me, the Administration & my friends involved in some agencies are fairly pleased with the result.

    What you might want to do is look at the practical reality of Arizona's position: They may pursue "show me your papers" if there is "reasonable suspicion" to stop the car for some other violation. At the same time, the Majority opinion openly cautioned that said exercise take care not to be for the only purpose of ascertaining citizenship.  As BTD pointed out in an earlier comment, for a program such as this not to be challenged as "racial profiling" now (since the SCt specifically advised about it & specifically did not reach that question at this time) there will be have to be some system of statistics/data collection about who is stopped for what purpose.  My point: There are more hurdles now as a result of the Court cautionary language & the statement that "applicability" of it is important when it comes to the surviving one provision, well...don't be surprised that the viability might not be there.


    It's True (none / 0) (#27)
    by Synthesist on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 11:05:31 PM EST
    Oh, it's true that the administration would be happy that the majority of the USSC ruled in their favor on three of the four sections of the Arizona law.

    But, I would have to disagree with your assertion that the Obama administration is happy about the part of the law they unanimously upheld. Their post ruling actions do not support that:

    1)    the report by the Washington Times that states that sources within the Obama administration have indicated that the administration will place new limits to assisting Arizona law enforcement officers with illegal immigrant inquiries;
    2)    the Obama administration's immediately pulling of the agreement (287(g)) to have Arizona law enforcement officers enforce federal laws on illegal immigration;
    3)    the Obama administration setting up a hotline and e-mail address soliciting information to be used to file alleged civil rights violation cases targeted against Arizona state law enforcement officers and/or other state officials (what some people could reasonably believe is an overt act of intimidation to discourage Arizona officials from exercising the portion of the law that the USSC upheld).

    I just wonder what the opinions of the Justices are about this reaction to their unanimous ruling.

    And still no answer to the question. What can Arizona do about this?