Supreme Court Ruling on Arizona's Immigration Law - KOTA Territory News

Supreme Court Ruling on Arizona's Immigration Law

Gary Jensen
Beardsley, Jensen and Von Wald

A 5-3 majority of the United States Supreme Court in Arizona v. U.S. struck down three of the four provisions of the state of Arizona's anti-immigration law on the basis that they were pre-empted by federal immigration law.  

Struck down were the following:

1. The creation of a misdemeanor for willful failure to carry an alien registration document.
2. The creation of a misdemeanor for an illegal alien applying for, soliciting, or performing work as an employee or independent contractor.

3. Authorizing a warrantless arrest if a law officer had probable cause to believe the person had committed an offense for which the individual was subject to removal from the country.

The Court allowed to stand – for now - the provision allowing state officers to make a "reasonable attempt" to determine the immigration status of any person they stop, detain, or arrest on some other legitimate basis if reasonable suspicion exists that the person is unlawfully in the country.

Writing for the majority consisting of Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Bader Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor, Justice Kennedy stated:

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.  
Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito dissented.  Justice Kagan recused herself because she had worked on this as President Obama's Solicitor General.

Given the current election cycle, the political consequences of this decision may become more significant or immediate than the legal consequences.

E-mail Gary is intended as general information on legal issues affecting us all.  This information should not be relied upon in any particular case and should never be used in lieu of consulting with an attorney.

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