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June 25, 2012

SCOTUS strikes down some (but not all) of Arizona immigration law

Reporting again here on SCOTUSblog reporting on what its reporter Lyle Denniston is reporting from the Supreme Court this morning:

The second and only other opinion in Arizona. Justice Kennedy announces.  The Ninth Circuit is reversed in part and affirmed in part. Justice Kagan does not participate. The Court rules that Section 3, 5, and 6 are preempted.  Most of the key provisions of SB1070 (3 of 4) are invalidated.  One provision is held not to be proved preempted; it must be construed. It was improper for the lower courts to enjoin Section 2(B), which requires police officers to check the legal status of anyone arrested for any crime before they can be released.

The full opinion in Arizona v. US is now available at this link, and here is the detailed breakdown of all the opinions:

KENNEDY, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and GINSBURG, BREYER, and SOTOMAYOR, JJ., joined.  SCALIA, J., THOMAS, J., and ALITO, J., filed opinions concurring in part and dissenting in part.  KAGAN, J., took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

June 25, 2012 at 10:30 AM | Permalink


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So, the offensive "papers please" part of the law is not preempted, but may be struck down on Constitutional grounds later?

Posted by: Calif. Capital Defense Counsel | Jun 25, 2012 12:27:18 PM

Yes, I found the opinion odd on that point. It seems that SCOTUS accepted that most of the provision were categorically unconstitutional but treated the papers-please as an "as applied" challenge.

I think it harks back to the idea that basically once you are in custody the police can do what they want.

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 25, 2012 1:41:43 PM

It's not like there are any illegals about in Arizona.

Just swedes.

Posted by: Adamakis | Jun 25, 2012 2:32:14 PM

Paul Clements offered a plausible interpretation of "papers please" as merely requiring state law enforcement officials to do what federal law already permits them to do -- verify immigration status of detainees. Since the local law enforcement officials are technically creatures of state law, the State can opt to accept the federal invitation on behalf of all of its officers instead of leaving it to the individual officer.

Since we are merely at the preliminary injunction phase, leaving it back to the trial court to determine if that proferred interpretation is workable makes some sense.

Posted by: TMM | Jun 25, 2012 3:32:02 PM

you can forget it they wil NEVER can that paper's please requirment. They have been trying to get hat illegal shit in for the whole bunch of us for YEARS. Just look at the REAL ID act!

you think they are actualy going to tell a cop they CAN'T do someting.

Posted by: rodsmith | Jun 25, 2012 6:26:48 PM

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