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.