Supreme Court Rules on Illegal Immigration Law SB 1070
Arizona Wins Partial Victory in 5 to 3 Split Decision
Analysis by Scott Rohter, June 2012
Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona called the recent Supreme Court decision on Arizona’s tough illegal immigration law SB 1070, “a victory for all Americans.” The central part of the law was upheld in an 8 to 0 decision Tuesday. Justice Elena Kagan recused herself from all votes regarding the Arizona law. The reason she gave for recusing herself was that she had been the Solicitor General when the Federal Government first sued Arizona over this matter. All of the other Liberal Justices on the Court voted with the conservative members to uphold the most important aspect of the Arizona law, however the victory was neither unqualified nor complete. There is still much more work that needs to be done. There were three other parts of the Arizona law that the Court ruled on and decided against Arizona on.
In a 5 to 3 split decision with only Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito dissenting, certain other aspects of the get tough on illegal immigration Arizona law were rejected including the part that allowed for warrantless arrests when there is reason to believe that a person illegally in the country has committed a crime or misdemeanor. That was Section 6 of the Arizona law. Chief Justice John Roberts joined Justices Kennedy, Breyer, Ginsburg, and Sotomayor to reject that part of the Arizona law.
Another aspect of the law that was rejected by the same 5 to 3 decision with the same Justices aligning themselves on the same sides of the issue again was found in Section 5 of the Arizona law. This section made it a separate State crime for illegal aliens to work, or to apply for work, or solicit to do work while in Arizona. Again Chief Justice Roberts joined the liberal Justices of the Court: Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor to strike down that part of the Arizona law. They said that it interfered with Congressional jurisdiction which was delegated by the Constitution to Congress, and specifically to the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 which did not make it a crime for illegal aliens to work in the country. Again Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito were dissenting.
Finally in a 6 to 2 split decision the Supreme Court ruled to strike down Section 3 of the Arizona law, which made it a separate crime..
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