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Supreme Court strikes down most SB 1070 provisions

Police allowed to check immigration status

In a 4-3 vote, the Supreme Court struck down most of Arizona's controversial SB 1070 anti-illegal immigration law on Monday, invalidating most of its provisions. The justices did allow police to check the immigration status of those they arrest. (with complete opinion)
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9 comments on this story

Jun 25, 2012, 7:38 am
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Supreme Court strikes down most SB 1070 provisions

Dylan, isn’t you headline a bit misleading? I mean, sure, it’s technically correct, which is the best kind of correct. But the headline could make it appear as if the crybabies won. They didn’t, because the one item they went all crybaby about was one of the things that SCOTUS upheld.

So, speaking of that, is this the part where I get to say “I told you so”? I’m glad that logic trumped pressure from the crybabies. I’m not saying that SCOTUS is batting 1.000, but they handled this issue pretty well.

Jun 25, 2012, 8:15 am
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@Bret Linden

The court essentially deferred a decision on the requirement that officers determine immigration status until that provision is enforced. The opinion practically invites further suits on that point. So the statement that the court “upheld” that provision must come with a caveat.

Jun 25, 2012, 8:36 am
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@Dylan Smith

Well, again, technically correct, best kind of correct. But, let’s look at this realistically. Of course we all know there are thousands out there that won’t respect today’s decision. There will be protests, more crybaby stuff led by Grijalva (so long as said protests don’t conflict with the all-you-can-eat buffet at Mi Nidito’s. And, yes, that is an ad hominem attack on Grijalva, which he has coming.), and as you correctly point out…once this is actually enforced there will be inevitable lawsuits the minute this is implemented.

But, realistically, all the protests will be a waste of time and energy, and all lawsuits filed are stillborn. Today’s opinion, combined with the comments when SCOTUS was hearing arguments, establishes which way they’re going to rule on any related suits that make it back to them, if any.

So, again, while I have no doubt that there is still going to be a lot of idiotic noise made on this issue, realistically and practically speaking the decision has been made, this is what we’re going to go with, and ultimately it’s not going to change.

Now, the only way to “beat” the key provision of SB1070 is to change immigration law itself. What SB1070’s critics have refused to acknowledge or accept is that SB1070 states that Federal immigration laws are to be enforced…whatever those may be. So if the Feds were truly interested in taking the teeth out of SB1070, they would just change immigration laws to reflect what it is they really want immigration law to be.

SB1070, and today’s SCOTUS decision, removes the Fed’s ability to have one policy on paper while doing something completely different (at least in Arizona, anyway). This is a good thing.

Jun 25, 2012, 8:44 am
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As a member of the Arizona State Legislature I am very pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the main component of SB1070, allowing for local police to enforce immigration law.  This is a victory for the people of Arizona and our entire nation.

Arizonians have fought tirelessly to contend with illegal immigration issues since our federal government has failed to do so in any meaningful manner.  My office will release a full statement once we have had the opportunity to fully review the Supreme Court’s ruling.

Jun 25, 2012, 8:51 am
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@Vic Williams

Thanks for participating in the conversation! We’ve reported your statement in “What they’re saying about SB 1070.”

Jun 25, 2012, 8:56 am
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@Bret Linden

You should read through the decision - it lays out how SB 1070 differed from federal immigration laws.

As for comments that may reveal the court’s intention as to other suits that may come forward based on racial profiling or other issues, some quotes from the decision may be informative (see the sidebar for more):

“As a general rule, it is not a crime for a removable alien to remain in the United States.”

“If the police stop someone based on nothing more than possible removability, the usual predicate for an arrest is absent.”

“The mandatory nature of the status checks does not interfere with the federal immigration scheme.”

““At this stage, without the benefit of a definitive interpretation from the state courts, it would be inappropriate to assume (that provision) will be construed in a way that creates a conflict with federal law.”

“If the law only requires state officers to conduct a status check during the course of an authorized, lawful detention or after a detainee has been released, the provision would likely survive preemption—at least absent some showing that it has other consequences that are adverse to federal law and its objectives.”

“This opinion does not foreclose other preemption and constitutional challenges to the law as interpreted and applied after it goes into effect.”

Jun 25, 2012, 9:07 am
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@Dylan Smith

Thanks for the post.

Yes, I intend to read the decision, and have already started. I’m trying to read a few lines between my other duties. Hopefully I can have it all read today, but it looks pretty long. So, that disclaimer said, your post isn’t perfect. Allow me to demonstrate.

“If the police stop someone based on nothing more than possible removability, the usual predicate for an arrest is absent.”

True. However, SB1070 never allowed people to be stopped based on probability of “removability”. It says once someone is legally stopped for another matter, and there is reasonable suspicion that detainee is not here legally, then we move forward with checking immigration status.

All that said, the quotes you posted make it appear, at least to me, that with the exception of the first quote (and the second quote that doesn’t play) that the key provision of SB1070 would survive further legal challenges.

Well, the last quote sounds like we’re in for more of a mess.

Jun 25, 2012, 9:28 am
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Bret Linden opined:

However, SB1070 never allowed people to be stopped based on probability of “removability”. It says once someone is legally stopped for another matter, and there is reasonable suspicion that detainee is not here legally, then we move forward with checking immigration status.

Section 6, which was struck down, did just that: allowed for warrantless arrests based on “removability.”

From the decision:

“Section 6 attempts to provide state officers even greater authority to arrest aliens on the basis of possible removability than Congress has given to trained federal immigration officers. Under state law, officers who believe an alien is removable by reason of some “public offense” would have the power to conduct an arrest on that basis regardless of whether a federal warrant has issued orthe alien is likely to escape. This state authority could be exercised without any input from the Federal Government about whether an arrest is warranted in a particular case. This would allow the State to achieve its own immigration policy. The result could be unnecessary harassment of some aliens (for instance, a veteran, college student, or someone assisting with a criminal investigation) whom federal officials determine should not be removed.

“This is not the system Congress created.”

Jun 25, 2012, 10:03 am
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Admittedly, it’s been about a year since I’ve read SB1070, but I remember it specifically stating that suspicion over immigration status wasn’t enough probable cause for shaking someone down. But, after I finish reading the decision I guess I’ll take another look at SB1070.

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