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U.S. Supreme Court strikes down key portions of Arizona immigration law

by Dara Kam | June 25th, 2012

The Supreme Court struck down key portions of Arizona’s controversial illegal immigration law, handing a partial victory to President Obama’s administration.

The majority ruled that that giving state or local law enforcement the power to detain and question people could result in “unnecessary harassment.”

The Arizona law (SB 1070) would have given law enforcement the power to detain and question the immigration status of someone they believed was in the country illegally. The court ruled that immigration matters are strictly a federal function. The Arizona law would have required police to check the immigration status of anyone who is arrested.

“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 or the alien is likely to escape,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the 5-3 opinion.

“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,” the ruling reads. “This is not the system Congress created.”

The court did uphold one of the most controversial portions of the law, that requires local law enforcement officers to check a person’s immigration status while enforcing other laws if there is “reasonable suspicion” that they are in the country illegally.

The justices also said that provision, however, could be subject to additional legal challenges. Civil liberties groups are challenging that portion of the law in Arizona courts, arguing that it could lead to racial profiling.

Chief Justice John Roberts joined Kennedy and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor in the majority. Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito concurred in part and dissented in part. Justice Elena Kagan, who served as Obama’s solicitor general, had recused herself from the Arizona case.

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18 Responses to “U.S. Supreme Court strikes down key portions of Arizona immigration law”

  1. The Intelligent Perspective Says:

    God Bless President Obama! Humanity Triumphs!
    Damnn the Tea Lady and Her Fascist Party!

  2. LegalEagle Says:

    I believe that the Immigration laws should be enforced. You come here illegally and make no attempts to become legal- then the USA should deport you.

  3. Tea Lady Says:

    Well, this is hardly a vindication of anyone. All that is needed is to modify the language of SB 1070 slightly to address the concerns of The Supreme Court.

    With proper modification, we can get these bills passed and have them stand up to legal challenge.

    Really, this process is an iterative one. And we can applaud Arizona for getting the ball rolling. =)

  4. GO OBAMA! Says:

    “Well, this is hardly a vindication of anyone.”

    ~ Some random person on the internet

    “this is almost a total victory for the Obama administration.”

    ~ Georgetown Law professor David Cole on CNN

  5. GO OBAMA! Says:

    Thank you President Obama for standing up to the bigots who support SB1070!

    It was the right thing to do!

    Even the partisan SCOTUS agrees that SB1070 is UNCONSTITUTIONAL!

  6. self deport Says:

    “The court ruled that immigration matters are strictly a federal function”. Since it is a “federal function”, then why isn’t the “federal government” doing their job to ensure our borders are secure? They need to stop the BS and enforce the laws that are already in place. If they can’t do it, then let local and state enforcement take care of their problems. It’s a problem they live with on a daily basis, not one that the numbn*ts in Washington have to deal with!

  7. Research Says:

    You all need to read another publication! The socialist PBP has provided you trash. The key provision of the law was upheld by the Supreme Court and a couple minor aspects were tossed. This is not a victory at all of Obama; it is a victory for Arizona! what idots. The key part upheld did not have standing as it had not been applied. Once applied people can challenge it later, but not directly to the Supreme Court of course.

  8. Tim Says:

    The POTUS is once again, running this country into the ground… HE dissolved the aprtnership wtih local authorities which allows them to make immigration related arrests. Vote this guy out!

  9. A Real SOCIALIST! Says:

    Perhaps “research” should do some research on what a socialist really is. PBP is hardly a socialist newspaper. Just because Rushbo or Faux news says something doesn’t make it fact. Grow a brain!

  10. JR Says:

    If someone is here illegally, and commits a crime they should be deported. If someone does not speek english and are arrested it should be legal for their status to be checked. If you come illegally, work illeaglly, pay no income tax, use the emergency room for your ailments, work the system to get food stamps, and put a strain on the system, you should abide by the laws, or be deported. It is not fair to people who do pay their fair share to keep our country in a better financial state than we are in now. Not to mention that a lot of the illeagal people send a lot of the money they make back to their home country.

  11. Jane Says:

    @ Tim, you can blame Obama all you want the majority of the Justices in the Supreme Court are Republican, they could have easily ruled against Obama in this yet they agreed with him regarding the Arizona Law.

  12. rebar Says:

    I know @JR, those dang illegals have it good don’t they?, all the perks that you listed and what not. And things like making less than minimum wage for back breaking work, no benefits, no sick days, no rights. And certainly no security net in their future. Yep, they are pretty much “working the system.”

  13. self deport Says:

    @rebar-regarding all the things you mention,that is why they come here illegally, so tuffsheet for them. AND yep, they are milking the system when they pop out all their (should be) illegal anchor babies and “collect” welfare because they can’t take care of them. Yep, you’re right, I WOULD call that “working the system” alright!

  14. Chris Mann Says:

    Why are you all thanking Obama? Separation of powers anyone…anyone? Obama had nothing to do with the decision the supreme court made plus the Supreme Court leans conservative. So to those of you bashing the tea party you’re freaking idiots and clearly know not a thing about your own government.

  15. GO OBAMA! Says:

    “”"why isn’t the “federal government” doing their job to ensure our borders are secure?”"”


    After George W. Bush trying to get comprehensive immigration reform passed and getting annihilated by the right wing?

    You STILL don’t know the answer to that question?

    You either haven’t been paying attention to politics at all the last 10-15 years or you are being blatantly dishonest.

  16. GO OBAMA! Says:

    “Why are you all thanking Obama?”

    Because the suit was won by Obama’s Department of Justice.

  17. Mary Says:

    If anyone thinks immigration laws are not being enforced, they need to check with reality: over 800,000 deported in two years of the Obama administration, plus border security enhanced so that many many fewer are crossing than used to under Bush. No other president has deported so many people :( which is sad for our country, but folks, it’s the reality. Pay attention to what’s going on, not to what you hear on Fox News.

  18. GO OBAMA! Says:

    Watch Romney’s surrogate run away from immigration and refuse to answer a simple question on Romney’s position on SB 1070.



    And this guy has the gall to question President Obama’s “leadership”???

    When he himself refuses to take a position on a crucial issue like immigration?!

    This presidential contest is getting to be a joke. Sadly Mitt Romney is the joke and the joke is on The American People.

    Re-elect President Obama!

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