Mitt Romney may think it's a "model for the nation" but the Supreme Court's ruling clearly shows some doubts about this. It's a mixed bag ruling to be sure and Jan Brewer is declaring victory. Yet I think on balance opponents of the law have to feel heartened. It's far from an embrace of SB 1070 but rather that the SJC didn't want to shoot the whole thing down before it went into effect.
Yet it did strike down three different parts of the law and even the parts allowed to stay for now can be challenged later.
"All eight justices who ruled on the case voted to allow the mandatory immigration-check requirement to go into effect. They split on three other disputed provisions of the law, with a majority of the justices ruling that each of those parts of the law could not be enforced because they intruded improperly into a policy sphere reserved to the federal government. Justice Elena Kagan did not participate in the ruling."
"The justices said further legal challenges to the mandatory immigration check provision can go forward after that part of the law takes effect."
"The ruling Monday is far from a definitive verdict on the Arizona law known as SB 1070, since the case that the court decided did not address the most contentious charge about the legislation: that it will lead to racial profiling of Latinos."
Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0612/77789.html#ixzz1yqb3gxlV
"Gov. Jan Brewer (R-Ariz.), who championed the law and rode a wave of political popularity off of its passage, hailed the court’s ruling allowing the enforcement of what she called “the heart” of the immigration crackdown measure."
“Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is a victory for the rule of law,” Brewer said in a statement. “After more than two years of legal challenges, the heart of SB 1070 can now be implemented in accordance with the U.S."
"Chief Justice Roberts joined with Kennedy and the court’s liberals to strike, 5-3, two other provisions of the Arizona law: a section making it a crime to apply for or hold a job in Arizona without legal work authority and another section allowing a police officer to arrest someone if the officer believes that he has committed a crime that could cause him to be deported, no matter where the crime took place."
"Justice Samuel Alito pitched in for a 6-2 vote to block a section making it a violation of Arizona law for immigrants not to carry valid immigration papers."
The Court clearly upheld the fact that Federal law supersedes state:
"Kennedy said Arizona’s anger toward the federal government over immigration issues might be justified but did not allow the state to intrude in the traditionally federal area."
"The National Government has significant power to regulate immigration,” Kennedy wrote. “With power comes responsibility, and the sound exercise of national power over immigration depends on the Nation’s meeting its responsibility to base its laws on a political will informed by searching, thoughtful, rational civic discourse. Arizona may have understandable frustrations with the problems caused by illegal immigration while that process continues, but the State may not pursue policies that undermine federal law.”
Scalia complains in dissent:
“Arizona has moved to protect its sovereignty — not in contradiction of federal law, but in complete compliance with it,” Scalia wrote. “The laws under challenge here do not extend or revise federal immigration restrictions, but merely enforce those restrictions more effectively. If securing its territory in this fashion is not within the power of Arizona, we should cease referring to it as a sovereign State.”
"The Supreme Court’s ruling comes just over a week after Obama announced a major change in immigration policy, pledging not to deport most young people who came to the U.S. illegally as children. The move — a unilateral, executive-action version of the DREAM Act languishing in Congress — was long sought by immigrants’ rights advocates and could deliver a significant political dividend to Obama from Latino voters in November."
"Scalia directly invoked Obama’s recent move, saying Arizona should not have to step back to allow the president leeway to not enforce immigration law."
“The president said at a news conference that the new program is ‘the right thing to do’ in light of Congress’s failure to pass” immigration reform legislation, Scalia said in a portion of his dissent he summarized from the bench. “Perhaps it is, though Arizona may not think so. But to say, as the Court does, that Arizona contradicts federal law by enforcing applications of the Immigration Act that the president declines to enforce boggles the mind.”
I find this dissent pretty interesting too. Is Scalia saying that Obama's Executive Order he issued two weeks ago was a factor in his decision? And how can it be that SB 1070 does not "extend or revise" Federal law? If it doesn't then what's its purpose?
Again, opponents of this law should consider themselves quite fortunate. It wasn't struck down in toto but probably the next best thing. We'll see if we get so lucky with ACA.