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High Court To Look At State Immigration Laws

The Supreme Court agreed Monday to rule on Arizona's controversial law targeting illegal immigrants.

Rancher Geoffrey Patch looks over the border between the United States and Mexico on May 2, 2010 from Montezuma Pass, Arizona.
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Above: Rancher Geoffrey Patch looks over the border between the United States and Mexico on May 2, 2010 from Montezuma Pass, Arizona.

The justices said they will review a federal appeals court ruling that blocked several tough provisions in the Arizona law. One of those requires that police, while enforcing other laws, question a person's immigration status if officers suspect he is in the country illegally.

The Obama administration challenged the Arizona law by arguing that regulating immigration is the job of the federal government, not states. Similar laws in Alabama, South Carolina and Utah also are facing administration lawsuits. Private groups are suing over immigration measures adopted in Georgia and Indiana.

The court now has three politically charged cases on its election-year calendar. The other two are President Barack Obama's health care overhaul and new electoral maps for Texas' legislature and congressional delegation.

Justice Elena Kagan will not take part in the Arizona case, presumably because of her work on the issue when she served in the Justice Department.

Arguments probably will take place in late April, which would give the court roughly two months to decide the case.

The immigration case stems from the administration's furious legal fight against a patchwork of state laws targeting illegal immigrants.

Arizona wants the justices to allow the state to begin enforcing measures that have been blocked by lower courts at the administration's request.

The state says that the federal government isn't doing enough to address illegal immigration and that border states are suffering disproportionately.

In urging the court to hear the immigration case, Arizona says the administration's contention that states "are powerless to use their own resources to enforce federal immigration standards without the express blessing of the federal executive goes to the heart of our nation's system of dual sovereignty and cooperative federalism."

Many other state and local governments have taken steps aimed at reducing the effects of illegal immigration, the state says.

But the administration argues that the various legal challenges making their way through the system provide a reason to wait and see how other courts rule.

In April, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld a federal judge's ruling halting enforcement of several provisions of Arizona's S.B. 1070. Among the blocked provisions: requiring all immigrants to obtain or carry immigration registration papers; making it a state criminal offense for an illegal immigrant to seek work or hold a job; and allowing police to arrest suspected illegal immigrants without a warrant.

In October, the federal appeals court in Atlanta blocked parts of the Alabama law that forced public schools to check the immigration status of students and allowed police to file criminal charges against people who are unable to prove their citizenship.

Lawsuits in South Carolina and Utah are not as far along.

The case is Arizona v.U.S., 11-182.

Comments

Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | December 12, 2011 at 6 p.m. ― 2 years, 9 months ago

*Justice Elena Kagan will not take part in the Arizona case, presumably because of her work on the issue when she served in the Justice Department.*

Yet **Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia** have **not** recused themselves despite attending a friendly dinner with the "Federalist Society," a group sponsored by Bancroft PLLC the very lawyers who will be arguing against the legislation to the court.

Furthermore, **Justices Clarence Thomas's wife** is a political activist who founded Liberty Central, a group that has made it their mission to end health care reform that was passed. Thomas has been petitioned by **74 members of Congress** to recuse himself, and has not.

I guess some Justices like Kagan actually have integrity and respect for the court while others like Scalia and Thomas prefer to shamefully abuse their judicial roles and molest our highest court for their own political whims.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | December 12, 2011 at 7:45 p.m. ― 2 years, 9 months ago

Good info, Duck.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | December 13, 2011 at 10:27 a.m. ― 2 years, 9 months ago

Just to clarify, my comments above about Justices Scalia and Thomas are in reference to the health care legislation case that the SCOTUS has also agreed to hear, not the immigration case. I was making a general point about Justices recusing themselves when they have conflicts of interest that could introduce bias into their rulings. It's interesting that Kagan was quick to separate herself from a case where she had potential bias, but Scalia and Thomas have refused to thus far.

I also find it ironic that conservatives call liberal judges "activist," but they never call equally reliably conservative judges "activist". I've looked up the definition of activism many times and it is not specific to only a liberal ideology. I humbly submit to any conservatives out there who engage in this lop-sided "activist judge" hysteria that refusing to recuse yourself from a case where you have tangible links that could introduce bias seems like a clear avenue of activism and, as we see in the SCOTUS, it's the conservtaives engaging in this "activist" behavior.

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