The Court ruled largely in favor of the U.S. government, striking down three parts of the Arizona immigration law, but the Court did uphold one the most notorious provisions: A requirement that local police officers check a person’s immigration status while enforcing other laws if "reasonable suspicion" exists that the person is in the United States illegally.
The question now is can that single provision stand on its own, or does the court action mean Arizona has to go back to the drawing board on their immigration law.
Will update as I learn more.
Update 1: Below is a copy of the ruling:
Briefly scanning the summary, the ruling is 76 pages, the reason the police immigration status check was upheld is because the Court didn’t believe it interfered with the “federal immigration scheme.” They noted that consultation between state and federal officials is an important feature of the immigration scheme, and that Congress has encouraged the sharing of information. So they said contacting ICE as a policy would be a routine matter and thus not unconstitutional.
Update 2: We have statements…
Rick Santorum responds via his new Patriot Voices organization:
It’s time for the federal government to step up to its constitutional responsibility to secure our borders, enforce our immigration laws fairly, and to partner with states rather than sue them to accomplish this important objective.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is claiming victory:
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 guess it’s a victory if all they really wanted was the ability to have their police officers check on immigration statuses.
I haven’t seen anything up on the White House website, once I do I’ll put President Obama’s statement up.
Update 3: The Washington Post says the ruling puts Mitt Romney in a tight spot.
Update 4: Statement from President Obama:
I am pleased that the Supreme Court has struck down key provisions of Arizona’s immigration law. What this decision makes unmistakably clear is that Congress must act on comprehensive immigration reform. A patchwork of state laws is not a solution to our broken immigration system – it’s part of the problem.
At the same time, I remain concerned about the practical impact of the remaining provision of the Arizona law that requires local law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of anyone they even suspect to be here illegally. I agree with the Court that individuals cannot be detained solely to verify their immigration status. No American should ever live under a cloud of suspicion just because of what they look like. Going forward, we must ensure that Arizona law enforcement officials do not enforce this law in a manner that undermines the civil rights of Americans, as the Court’s decision recognizes. Furthermore, we will continue to enforce our immigration laws by focusing on our most important priorities like border security and criminals who endanger our communities, and not, for example, students who earn their education – which is why the Department of Homeland Security announced earlier this month that it will lift the shadow of deportation from young people who were brought to the United States as children through no fault of their own.
I will work with anyone in Congress who’s willing to make progress on comprehensive immigration reform that addresses our economic needs and security needs, and upholds our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. And in the meantime, we will continue to use every federal resource to protect the safety and civil rights of all Americans, and treat all our people with dignity and respect. We can solve these challenges not in spite of our most cherished values – but because of them. What makes us American is not a question of what we look like or what our names are. What makes us American is our shared belief in the enduring promise of this country – and our shared responsibility to leave it more generous and more hopeful than we found it.
Update 5: Mitt Romney’s statement.
Today’s decision underscores the need for a President who will lead on this critical issue and work in a bipartisan fashion to pursue a national immigration strategy. President Obama has failed to provide any leadership on immigration. This represents yet another broken promise by this President. I believe that each state has the duty–and the right–to secure our borders and preserve the rule of law, particularly when the federal government has failed to meet its responsibilities. As Candidate Obama, he promised to present an immigration plan during his first year in office. But 4 years later, we are still waiting.
Update 6: Reactions…
This is not unexpected, as the court rarely upholds states’ rights as it relates to issues that are recognized as part of the federal government’s mandate to govern. Even if the feds do a lousy job of enforcing immigration law, the states can only go so far when taking matters into their own hands.
Governor Jan Brewer said in her statement that the "heart" of the law was still intact. This is true, but three key enforcement provisions have been struck down, pulling some of the teeth of the law and making it harder for Arizona to stem the flow of illegal immigrants across its borders.
William Jacobson breaks down the ruling at Legal Insurrection.
Delivering a fiery oral summary of his dissent before a full courtroom, Scalia said that Arizona’s own sovereignty as a state makes it "entitled to impose additional penalties and consequences for violations of the federal immigration laws, because it is entitled to have its own immigration laws."
In addition, Scalia cited the Obama administration’s recent decision to stop deporting certain undocumented immigrants under 30 years old as a policy change that defies the administration’s argument that S.B. 1070 eats up the federal government’s scarce resources. "The husbanding of scarce enforcement resources can hardly be the justification for this [policy change], since those resources will be eaten up by the considerable administrative cost of conducting the nonenforcement program, which will require as many as 1.4 million background checks and biennial rulings on requests for dispensation," said Scalia, referring to the number of undocumented immigrants estimated to benefit from the secretary of homeland security’s announcement on June 15.
"The President has said that the new program is ‘the right thing to do’ in light of Congress’s failure to pass the Administration’s proposed revision of the immigration laws. Perhaps it is, though Arizona may not think so," said Scalia. "But to say, as the Court does, that Arizona contradicts federal law by enforcing applications of federal immigration law that the President declines to enforce boggles the mind."