On Monday, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled against the State of Arizona regarding three key provisions of the controversial state law regarding immigration enforcement. The court declined to rule on the most controversial provision requiring local law enforcement official to determine the immigration status of individuals they suspect of not being in the country legally because that provision has not yet been implemented. The court did however warn that the implementation of the law could be on shaky ground.
It is not clear at this stage and on this record that §2(B), in practice, will require state officers to delay the release of detainees for no reason other than to verify their immigration status. This would raise constitutional concerns. And it would disrupt the federal framework to put state officers in the position of holding aliens in custody for possible unlawful presence without federal direction and supervision.
But from Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s statement yesterday, either she didn’t read the ruling or she is living in an altered state of reality.
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.
I’m leaning towards the altered state of reality theory for Brewer, and her sycophants. Walter Dellinger wrote in Slate:
What is striking to me about the court’s decision in the Arizona immigration case is what a total victory this decision was for the U.S. government and for the solicitor general. Press coverage that leads with the notion that the court upheld the “key provision” or suggesting that the overall outcome was a “split verdict” seems way off base to me. The feds won.
Here are the Arizona provisions the court struck down:
- The provision making it a crime to be present in Arizona without carrying an alien registration document
- The provision making it a crime for an “unauthorized alien” to look for work or take a job
- The provision allowing an Arizona law enforcement officer to arrest anyone that the officer believes has committed a crime that would make him deportable.
Here are the Arizona provisions the court held were valid:
- No provisions. Not any. None.
Central Orange County Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez issued this statement on the ruling yesterday:
“This ruling by the Supreme Court to strike down large portions of SB 1070 confirms what I have always maintained – that immigration enforcement is a federal responsibility. This is a victory and vindication that state and local municipalities simply do not have the authority to set the law on immigration matters.
“However, I am deeply disappointed the Court upheld the discriminatory “show me your papers” provision of SB 1070. I am especially concerned for the impact of this law on citizens who are here legally. It is likely they will be singled out and will face harassment simply for looking like an immigrant. We are a nation of immigrants and I fear this provision will be impossible to enforce fairly and even handedly, in a manner that accurately reflects our American values. As a senior member of the Committee on Homeland Security, I will be alert to this situation and will watch for the even implementation of this law.
“The discussions surrounding SB 1070 certainly illustrate the need to move forward with comprehensive immigration reform on the federal level. I call on my colleagues to work in a bipartisan fashion on long term improvements to our immigration system, for our families and for our economy.”
Latino community activist Claudio Gallegos while expressing his disappointment that the court did not just strike down the law in its entirety, was also concerned with the seemingly racist citations by Associate Justice Antonin Scalia in his dissent.
“I’m disappointed that the Court didn’t strike down the “papers please” provision but at least they put restrictions on probable cause,” Gallegos said. Scalia’s dissent however demonstrates the general intent of conservatives to turn back the clock more than 100 years to a time where “Exclusion Laws” were acceptable practice to discriminate against individuals on the basis of race and national origin. His thinking underscores that of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his vision for America.”
Legal scholar Jeffrey Tobin wrote of Scalia’s dissent for the New Yorker:
And what authority did Scalia cite for his broad conception of the role of the state? He went back into history to examine the role of states in policing immigration. He pointed out that
In the first 100 years of the Republic, the States enacted numerous laws restricting the immigration of certain classes of aliens, including convicted criminals, indigents, persons with contagious diseases, and (in Southern States) freed blacks. State laws not only provided for the removal of unwanted immigrants but also imposed penalties on unlawfully present aliens and those who aided their immigration.It’s worth pausing to remember what kind of immigration the states (especially the Southern ones) handled in those bygone days; much of it had to do with slavery, of course. To be sure, Scalia is not endorsing slavery, but his invocation of that ugly chapter in American history suggests, at a minimum, a loss of perspective.
In Scalia’s world view America should return to the days where states had the right to discriminate as they saw fit.
Where is Cher when we need her?