Federal Court Weighs Civil Rights Challenge to Arizona Immigration Law


The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hand down its decision later this month in Arizona v. United States, the case arising from Arizona's controversial immigration law S.B. 1070, which, among other things, requires state law enforcement officials to try to determine the immigration status of any person they encounter during "any lawful stop, detention, or arrest" if those officials have a "reasonable suspicion" that the person may be in the country illegally. Based on what I saw at the oral argument in April, a majority of the Supreme Court appeared willing to side with Arizona and rule that federal immigration law does not preempt the state crackdown. But even if the Court does rule in Arizona's favor, the state law still faces other legal hurdles. As The Arizona Republic reports, a constitutional challenge is now beginning to work its way through the federal courts:

U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton heard arguments Monday over whether to grant the case class-action status, which could allow hundreds of thousands to join what has been named the Friendly House case, after one of the plaintiffs. Plaintiffs include immigrants, immigrant-rights groups, religious groups and non-profit organizations.

The federal government's case—and the looming Supreme Court ruling—focuses on state vs. federal authority, while this case alleges SB 1070 could violate individuals' Fifth Amendment right to due process, First Amendment right to free speech and 14th Amendment right to equal protection.

Read the full story here. For more on the legal issues surrounding Arizona's S.B. 1070 see here and here.

NEXT: Giving Health Insurance Subsidies to People Who Shouldn't Qualify For Them, Or: Why ObamaCare Won't Work, Part Infinity

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  1. As existing residents said to prospective residents in 1924…


  2. Durn it!

    I have to take the “un-libertarian” position on this on and side with Arizona.

    1. Off the top of my head, I’m not seeing any compelling First, Fifth, or Fourteenth Amendment issues (especially in the context of police practices that SCOTUS has already blessed).

      1. Me, neither.

        I would not at all mind seeing a ruling that says that no state or local entity can enforce Federal law, nor any law that parallels Federal law. If you give that two seconds of thought, though, it becomes clear that this won’t happen.

  3. It would be really interesting if the AZ law is struck down as a violation of appropriate Federal vs. State power. If States can’t enforce laws that are similar to Federal laws, then there are all SORTS of interesting lawsuits I can imagine.


    Apart, perhaps, from a few small parts of the law, SB1070 will be upheld, if only to avoid the consequences of striking it down.

    Outcome-based jurisprudence? See the Heller opinion, which, apropos of nothing, and certainly not the case before the Court, specifically says that NFA34 must be Constitutional, just because…

    1. They would have to overturn precedent to rule NFA unconstitutional. Kennedy would have bolted and you’d have John Paul Stevens writing the law of the land wrt gun rights rather than Scalia.

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