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Arizona, Politics

Obama admin gets most of what it wanted from Supremes on SB1070

Posted: June 25, 2012 at 7:45 am   /   by

More updates from SCOTUSblog:Tom:

The upshot of the SB1070 ruling is that, for now, Arizona can apply the “check your papers” provision.  And the Court’s opinion is a guide to the State on how to apply that provision without being invalidated. [ . . . ]

The Court’s decision on the “show your papers” provision strongly suggests it will have to be read narrowly to survive. [ . . . ]

On net, the #SB1070 decision is a significant win for the Obama Administration.  It got almost everything it wanted.

Stand by for more.

From Townhall:

According to the opinion:

STRUCK- Section 3:

Makes failure to comply with federal alien-registration requirements a state misdemeanor.

STRUCK- Section 5(C):

Makes it a misdemeanor for an unauthorized alien to seek or engage in work in the State

STRUCK – Section 6:

Authorizes state and local officers to arrest without a warrant a person “the officer has probable cause to believe has committed any public offense that makes the person removable form the Unites States.”

UPHELD – Section 2(B):

Requires officers conducting a stop, detention, or arrest to make efforts, in some circumstances, to verify the person’s immigration status with the Federal Government.

Essentially what this means is: illegals can still look for and work in Arizona without penalty, Arizona cannot punish illegals with state penalties for breaking federal immigration laws and police cannot use “reasonable suspicion” to justify asking about legal status but can ask about legal status after a crime has been committed (speeding, burglary, rape, etc.)

Gov. Brewer statement:

“Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is a victory for the rule of law. It is also a victory for the 10th Amendment and all Americans who believe in the inherent right and responsibility of states to defend their citizens. After more than two years of legal challenges, the heart of SB 1070 can now be implemented in accordance with the U.S. Constitution.”While we are grateful for this legal victory, today is an opportunity to reflect on our journey and focus upon the true task ahead: the implementation and enforcement of this law in an even-handed manner that lives up to our highest ideals as American citizens. I know the State of Arizona and its law enforcement officers are up to the task. The case for SB 1070 has always been about our support for the rule of law. That means every law, including those against both illegal immigration and racial profiling. Law enforcement will be held accountable should this statute be misused in a fashion that violates an individual’s civil rights.

“The last two years have been spent in preparation for this ruling. Upon signing SB 1070 in 2010, I issued an Executive Order directing the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board (AZ POST) to develop and provide training to ensure our officers are prepared to enforce this law efficiently, effectively and in a manner consistent with the Constitution. In recent days, in anticipation of this decision, I issued a new Executive Order asking that this training be made available once again to all of Arizona’s law enforcement officers. I am confident our officers are prepared to carry out this law responsibly and lawfully. Nothing less is acceptable.

“Of course, today’s ruling does not mark the end of our journey. It can be expected that legal challenges to SB 1070 and the State of Arizona will continue. Our critics are already preparing new litigation tactics in response to their loss at the Supreme Court, and undoubtedly will allege inequities in the implementation of the law. As I said two years ago on the day I signed SB 1070 into law, ‘We cannot give them that chance. We must use this new tool wisely, and fight for our safety with the honor Arizona deserves.'”

I am not sure that this is, exactly, a victory for the 10th Amendment. Apparently, looking on the surface at least, a state does not have the right to—for example—criminalize the act of illegal aliens looking for work. If this is the supremacy clause in action . . . IOW, the Supremes feel that immigration is a federal issue over which the states have a limited power to rule, then this hardly seems like it bolsters the already beleagured 10th Amendment.
A final note for now . . .
Why is it that the Supremacy Clause is so vital on the subject of immigration, but not nearly so much so on the subject of drugs? There are federal drug laws and state drug laws. These two divisions of government cooperate and harmonize on drug enforcement. Why does a state not get to have its own laws on illegal immigration? On the surface, one could reply that we are a single union, so immigration violations are the purview of the central government that heads that union. But are states not sovereign? If a state has a compelling interest to deal with drugs on its own, why does it not have an interest in securing its own sovereign borders?
Christopher Cook

Christopher Cook

Managing Editor at Western Free Press
Christopher Cook is a writer, editor, and political commentator. He is the president of Castleraine, Inc., a consulting firm providing a diverse array of services to corporate, public policy, and not-for-profit clients.

Ardently devoted to the cause of human freedom, he has worked at the confluence of politics, activism, and public policy for more than a decade. He co-wrote a ten-part series of video shorts on economics, and has film credits as a researcher on 11 political documentaries, including Citizens United's notorious film on Hillary Clinton that became the subject of a landmark Supreme Court decision. He is the founder of several activist endeavors, including (now a part of Western Free Press) and He is currently the managing editor of and principal contributor to
Christopher Cook

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Obama admin gets most of what it wanted from Supremes on SB1070