One of the biggest debates of the 2012 election will be unleashed in the next few days, as the Supreme Court releases their decision on the controversial Arizona Immigration law, SB 1070.
The decision is expected to be handed down on either Thursday or Monday, and will have major ramifications in the presidential election and beyond.
Following the April oral arguments on the immigration bill, it appears likely that the Court will uphold SB 1070, at least in part.
The law’s most controversial provisions require state police officers with “reasonable suspicions” to check the immigration status of an individual during traffic stops, and likewise empower police to arrest a person when they believe the person is deportable. This is the “papers please” legislation that many critics have pointed out unfairly target minorities. Other parts of the law make it a state crime to violate federal immigration registration and employment requirements.
The politics of the legislation are rooted in federalism: Should states of the federal government determine immigration policy? States like Arizona have claimed that the federal government has done too little to combat the increasing problem of illegal immigration
During oral arguments, Justices Scalia and Chief Justice Roberts did not mask their support for Arizona’s position. Additionally, Justice Thomas is almost certain to side with Arizona – he rejects implied preemption, the federalism-based legal theory at the heart of the United States’ lawsuit against SB 1070.
Although the three liberal Justices seemed more wary of the law (discounting Kagan, who recused herself from the case), they did not voice the staunch opposition to the law that many immigration rights’ advocates had hoped for. Characteristically, Justice Kennedy’s vote could go either way – on the one hand he voiced concerns over due process protections of immigrants in Arizona while also expressing sympathy with some of Arizona’s policy goals behind the legislation.
PolicyMic will be following the SB 1070 announcement LIVE, and will be providing update analysis as announcements are made. (Bookmark and refresh this page for LIVE updates)
Monday: SB 1070 Decision Recap: From PolicyMic Pundit Felicia Reid:
This morning, the Supreme Court struck down key portions of Arizona’s controversial immigration law, SB 1070. The split decision marked the journey's end for the Department of Justice's federal challenge to the state law.
Writing for the 5-3 majority (Justice Elana Kagan recused herself and Justices Alito, Scalia, and Thomas concurred in part and dissented in part), Justice Anthony Kennedy recognized that SB 1070's sections 3, 5(C), and 6 are preempted by federal law:
"The [federal government] has significant power to regulate immigration. With power comes responsibility, and the sound exercise of national power over immigration depends on the Nation's meeting its responsibility to base its laws on a political will informed by searching, thoughtful, rational civic discourse. Arizona may have understandable frustrations with the problems caused by illegal immigration while that process continues, but the State may not pursue policies that undermine federal law.”
The decision stuck down SB 1070's provisions that would have made it a state crime for illegal immigrants to fail to carry identifying documents or seek employment. The justices did uphold a critical and contentious part of the Arizona law, the provision that allows state police to stop, question, and briefly detain immigrants if state officers have a reasonable suspicion the immigrants are illegally in the U.S. However, the Court's allowance is limited. Taking the teeth out of the provision, state law enforcement must check with federal immigration agents before taking suspects into custody.
As expected, the decision centered on the federal preemption doctrine of our Constitution's Article VI Supremacy Clause. The Clause specifically establishes that federal laws — the Constitution, treaties, and laws made pursuant to the Constitution — are the "supreme law of the land."
Dispensing with the bone-dry legalese and the maddening complexity of jurisprudence, this means that where Congress has unambiguously legislated or where Congress has acted under its authorized Article I powers, resultant federal laws take primacy over state constitutions and state laws. This is true both when a state law conflicts with a federal law and even if a state law follows federal schemes. In effect, a state can legislate only up to the floor — though some legal scholars say ceiling — established by federal law.
Largely, the federal Immigration and Naturalization Acts of 1952 and 1965 dictate the U.S.’ immigration policy. Though infamously complex and procedurally mired in red tape, the Acts have undergone little modification outside of post-9/11 restructurings. Under federal law, immigration violations are non-criminal infractions, with investigations, custodial detentions, and deportations handled by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement under the Department of Homeland Security. In the reformative lull, without successful or broad attempts at the reconstruction of our immigration system, politicians and states have taken responsive measures.
On June 15, President Obama announced a contextually cognizant and merit-based policy directive through the DHS that stands permit some 800,000 young, undocumented immigrants to stay in the United States. The announcement had a peculiar controversial and confrontational effect as the political football of immigration became the central strategy in several partisan playbooks.
Though not an executive order — which would have had the full force of law under the president's Article II powers or under statutory authority from Congress, and would have preempted state laws — the directive marked a nuanced and permissible shift in policy for the DHS. While, objectively, the directive immediately burdens federal law enforcement agencies, it was silent on the repercussions for state law enforcement. With this silence, the directive landed squarely in fray of the federal versus state dilemma embodied by Arizona v. U.S. — leaving it without a determinable conclusion.
During April 25th's oral argument, the question before the Court was whether the INAs preempted Arizona's cooperative law enforcement efforts and so, the four-part SB 1070. On behalf of Arizona, former Solicitor and Attorney General, Paul Clement, argued that the state law "borrowed the federal standard as its own," even though states do "not need to cite federal authorization for their enforcement efforts, and [the DoJ, in seeking to preempt Arizona's] duly enacted state law must point to some peremptory federal provision."
Against the Arizona law, current Solicitor General Donald Verrilli argued that the "Constitution vests exclusive authority over immigration matters with federal government." Consequently, the Arizona law — even where it furthered federal schemes — crossed the boundaries of federalism and muddied the waters of the relationship between federal and state legislation. With today's decision, the justices agreed with the DoJ's position.
Since oral argument, immigration policy has captured the spotlight in such a way that illuminates the imbroglio between federal and state immigration policies, social attitudes, and everyday realities.
Polls have indicated that while the Obama administration has tenaciously addressed illegal immigration, a majority of Americans still view illegal immigration as both a social and political problem. Simultaneously, political parties have shown varying degrees of recognition and support for addressing the injustices facing undocumented youth who have been educated in the U.S. or have served in our Armed Forces. In contrast, several red states — Georgia, Utah, Indiana, and Alabama — have recently passed heavy-handed laws against illegal immigration that have racially discriminatory undertones and have negatively affected state GDPs and local communities.
Today's opinion comes at a critical juncture for the Court. The institution has been hit with the recent CBS/New York Times poll that shows public favorability of the Court at a 25 year low of 44% and that 75% of Americans believe the Justices are guided by their political views. Significant decisions still loom — including the Affordable Care Act and its individual mandate, and international human rights — as the constitutionality of state measures involving university affirmative action, voting rights, and gay marriage rap at the Court's bronze doors.
When President Bush appointed Chief Justice Roberts in 2005, he expressed a desire to run a less polarized Court — one that would rise above political lines, divisive ideologies, and, ultimately, avoid 5-4 decisions. Yet, compositionally, the Roberts' Court has been regarded as the most politically conservative since the Lochner era of the early 1900's and, under Roberts, several significant cases have been decided by 5-4 and 5-3 margins.
Many have considered the Roberts' Court the realization of conservative political push back that formed against the Warren and Burger Courts' liberal leanings between 1953-1986 and percolated in the Rehnquist Court after 1986. In conjunction with today's volatile political climate, many, wisely, have paid close attention to Justice Kennedy, analyzing his swing vote tendencies and contextually determinable conservative or progressive alignments.
Today's decision is a victory for the Obama administration, and will likely invigorate immigration activists, many of whom denounced the Arizona law. It also serves as warning for Georgia, Utah, Indiana, Alabama, and similar-minded legislatures against treading too heavily, and discriminatorily, into the federal purview of immigration policy. Given the popularity of the Obama administration's June 15 immigration announcement, it seems the Court has found the public pulse.
Monday, 12 pm: Talk about glass half empty vs. glass half full. Received the following within three minutes of each other ... Conservative Wall Street Journal: "U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Key Part of Arizona Law." Left-wing MSNBC: "High Court Strikes Down Key Parts of Arizona Immigration Law." Conventional media outlet, the Washington Post: "Supreme Court strikes down parts of Arizona immigration law, upholds others." We all look, and we all see our own reflection!
Monday, 11:10 am: The Big Take-Aways: From Kogan: Big win for the Obama administration politically - they can go to the Latino community and say "look, we fought for you and won." May help stem potential damage if health care goes against them.
Monday, 11 am: SB 1070, By the Numbers: Most Americans continue to support the law: 58% approve, while just 38% disapprove. This is slightly less support than the 64% who approved of the law when it was first passed in 2010.
But opinion is divided along racial and ethnic lines. Three-quarters (75%) of Hispanics oppose the law, as do 56% of blacks, while whites support the law by greater than two-to-one (69% to 28%).
Fully 84% of Republicans approve of the immigration law, unchanged since 2010. But support has dropped among both Democrats and independents. In June 2010, 65% of independents approved of the recently passed legislation. That has slipped to 59% today. And in 2010, Democrats were split over the new law – 50% approved while 46% disapproved. Today, a majority of Democrats disapprove (55%), while 41% approve.
Monday, 10:45 am: The SB 1070 Decision in Idiots' Terms: The Court ruled for the federal government in 3 out of 4 issues, declaring the Arizona law pre-empted (trumped) by federal law. The only issue not decided, the provision which requires officers to check immigration status subsequent to a lawful arrest, was left to the state courts to interpret further. The Court suggested that the interpretation would have to be narrow to survive. There's a decent chance that if the state court's interpret the "status check" provision too broadly that it will make its way back to SCOTUS as early as next term.
Monday, 10:35 am: Obama Wins: SB 1070 decision is a significant win for the Obama Administration.
Monday: NO OBAMACARE RULING TODAY
Monday, 10:27 am: From Kogan: Basically, the Court said that the "status check" portion of the bill (Section 2(B)) needs to be construed further in state courts to determine its proper application and whether it is pre-empted (ie. trumped) by federal law.
The upshot of the SB 1070 ruling is that, for now, Arizona can apply the "check your papers" provision. And the Court's opinion is a guide to the State on how to apply that provision without being invalidated.
Monday, 10:23 am: From Kogan: Basically the "papers please" is thrown back to the lower courts for further determination. Issues of racial profiling were not before the Court.
For our readers who are not lawyers, "preempted" means "trumped," in essence.
Monday, 10:19 am: Breaking: Most of the key provisions in Arizona SB 1070 invalidated.
Most of the key provisions of SB 1070 (3 of 4) are invalidated. One provision is held not to be proved preempted; it must be construed.
Not all of SB 1070 is shot down, though. From Mark Kogan: The "papers please" portion is NOT pre-empted. We have to wait for the opinion to see what that means.
Monday, 10:09 a.m. From PolicyMic Legal Expert Mark Kogan: Short opinion, short dissent. 5-4, Montana Supreme Court overruled, Citizens United is applied against the states (no limits on independent political expenditures in state elections). Citizens United was only applied to federal elections, now applies to states. Breyer was the dissent.
Monday, 10:05 a.m. WOW. Montana case summarily reversed, 5-4. Citizens United has just been extended to the states
Monday, 10 am: Reverse seniority of Justices goes as follows: Kagan, Sotomayor, Alito, Breyer, Ginsburg, Thomas, Kennedy, Scalia,and Roberts. Which is the order we'll hear opinions in.
Monday, 9:58 am: Expect a Decision Withing Seconds After 10 a.m. The Court's promptness is traditional. The current Chief Justice definitely adheres to the tradition of starting on time. However, perhaps as a former advocate, he is more flexible in terms of letting advocates finish their sentences and even giving them a little extra time if it is needed. One of the old Chief Justices, I am told, used to cut people off mid-sentence when their time was up.
Monday, 9:49 am: SB 1070 Prediction, courtesy of Legal Expert Mark Kogan: 1070 will be reversed (thrown out). I guess 1070 would technically be affirmed since i think the appellate court said the arizona law is no good.
There it is, folks, you don't even need to hear the Supreme Court's opinion.
Monday, 9:45 am: President Obama leads Mitt Romney 66%-25% among Hispanics in the latest USA Today/Gallup poll. The poll also found that Hispanics prioritize immigration, healthcare, and unemployment to equal degrees when asked about the importance of issues. Hispanics who are registered voters, however, are less concerned about immigration.
Monday, 9:40 am: This is a busy week for all three branches of the federal government. The Supreme Court finishes its term with rulings on health care and immigration, Congress faces deadlines on student loan rates and the transportation bill along with a looming contempt vote in the House of Attorney General Eric Holder. President Obama is on the road for fundraisers in MA, NH, GA, and FL until Wednesday when he hosts the annual congressional picnic at the White House.
Monday, 9:20 am: To remind you of how this morning will play out, at 10am EDT the Court will release “orders” – i.e., it will act on the petitions for certiorari asking the Court to hear various cases. It will then immediately begin releasing opinions. We don’t know at this point how many there will be today.
Monday, 9:10 am: What to Watch For Today: PolicyMic Legal Expert Mark Kogan drops some knowledge on what to expect aside from Obamacare and Arizona: The other big thing the look for is the list of orders, specifically the list of petitions for certiorari that will be granted and heard by the Court. The Montana case is expected to be announced this morning, bringing Citizens United back into the national spotlight.
Following orders, opinions will be announced one at a time in reverse order of seniority, with the Chief Justice always last. Meaning if we have an opinion from Justice Kennedy or Chief Justice Roberts (the likely authors if the mandate is upheld), we will be hearing from them last.
Don't be surprised to see the Court announce another opinion day (probably Thursday) and push health care back to there.
Monday, 9 am: Supreme Court Decision May Hinder Obama Immigration Reform: PolicyMic Pundit Daniel Centina explains: In a stunning move last week, President Barack Obama announced the implementation of a radical new immigration policydisenabling federal immigration officials from deporting undocumented young immigrants if a set of conditions is met. Effective via executive order, these immigrants, who, according to Obama, “are, for all intents and purposes, Americans,” will no longer face one of the greatest fears of undocumented aliens.
The maneuver heightens the stakes in what is already a contentious legal and judicial battle over immigration, which includes Arizona’s controversial SB 1070, the legality of which is expected to be decided by the Supreme Court this week. The high court’s decision was already predicted to have wide-ranging effects, from Arizona itself to the country at large to even the 2012 presidential election, but with Obama’s announcement the situation is conspicuously more dramatic.
Obama’s adroitly timed decision will only serve to amplify the circumstances surrounding the Supreme Court's decision. Despite other states adopting Arizona’s policies in copycat bills, most of the action is localized in Arizona. Yet the recent development ensure the drama will unfold on a national scale, regardless of the eventual decision. Obama’s alleged power-grab notwithstanding, a constitutional S.B. 1070 will only make the new federal immigration policy all the more significant, considering a 16-year old-and-under Arizona illegal immigrant will in all likelihood circumvent the law. An unconstitutional S.B. 1070, meanwhile, will validate Obama’s decision and necessarily inspire a more fruitful national dialogue on the proper way to handle immigration, from accommodation to deportation to attracting skilled foreigners, an area recently cited by Fareed Zakaria in serious need of improvement.
But the biggest loser in any conceivable outcome is presumptive Republican presidential nominee and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Prior to the Obama announcement, Romney had already inadvertently fashioned himself an intransigent obstacle to immigrants’ concerns, considering his characterization of the Arizona bill as a model, his stated intention to veto the DREAM Act if elected President, and his refusal to support even Senator MarcoRubio's (R - Fla.) DREAM Act alternative. Following the momentous announcement, Romney was slow to respond, choosing instead to punt on the issue whenever it was brought up. Romney finally broke his silence last Thursday. Unfortunately for the presidential hopeful, the substance of the speech was subpar. Though Romney stressed he would introduce a permanent plan in place of Obama’s stopgap measure, he offered no specifics as to what said plan would entail.
Monday, 8:30 am: Ruling is Expected at 10 a.m. This Morning, if it comes out at all today.
Sunday: Montana Case Could End Citizens United: The biggest legal challenge yet to the controversial campaign finance Citizens United decision — which loosened regulation on corporate spending in elections — has come to the Supreme Court.
A relatively obscure case in Montana,American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock,would seek to make Citizens United void on the state-level, thus inflicting the first blow in the effort to repeal the decision.
The Supreme Court is expected to make a decision on Bullock before the end of their term, likely on Monday.
At issue is whether Montana is bound by the original decision of Citizens United — that any ban on corporate independent political expenditures (unlimited corporate speniding, so to speak, also known as the “corporations are people” issue) is a violation of the First Amendment, when the ban applies to state, rather than federal, elections. The 2010 Citizens United decision helped create the modern Super PACs that are now fueling the 2012 presidential elections.
Montana has a century-old law, the Corporate Practices Act, which prohibits corporations from making expenditures in campaign activities (in effect, anti-Citizens United legislation). This law was brought about in 1906 because national copper mining companies were bribing elected officials and becoming directly involved with government functions. Ironically, this is the nightmare scenario that many critics of Citizens United point to — unchecked business interests hijacking the democratic process. The Corporate Practices Act was a voter-adopted referendum that fought back against corporate interests and worked to end the corruption that unlimited funding caused in Montana’s government.
The corruption in Montana is an excellent example of unlimited funds can have on government.
It was thought that the Supreme Court would strike down this legislation, which was a late addition to the Court docket. The case was submitted for review, but wasn’t fully argued.
But on Monday, the Court surprised most analysts by delaying an order in the , their controversial 2010 ruling that allows for virtually unlimited corporate spending in state elections.
The Court was expected by many to issue an immediate decision of “summary reversal” in the case American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock that would uphold Citizens United and strike down a 2011 Montana court ruling that enforced that state’s anti-corruption election finance laws in seeming opposition to the federal mandate.
The Court still has three options: 1) a summary reversal, 2) accepting the case for a full hearing later this year, or 3) refusing jurisdiction to make any decision about the case at all, in which event Montana would win immediately and their state laws would stand and Citizens Unitedwould be effectively reversed.
Sunday: SCOTUS Term Snapshot:
|Merits cases granted||76|
Saturday: Don't Bet Against Obamacare? Think Again. As of Friday, bettors at intrade.com, a site which allows users to speculate on the outcome of world events, were projecting a 75% chance that the Supreme Court overturns the individual mandate by the end of the year.
How Will Markets React? If Obamacare is overturned, expect markets to react positively. Generally speaking, stocks should benefit if parts or all of the Act are overturned. CNBC's Jim Cramer has previously stated that, "if Obamacare goes down, you can raise almost every company's estimates for 2013 -- if it is approved I am slashing my numbers." Given different potential outcomes, however, there will be winners and losers in the sector. Traders who do their homework should be able to find some opportunities next week.
Thursday, 3:45 pm: SB 1070 is Un-American: From PolicyMic Pundit Azikiwe Calhoun: For two years, Arizona's controversial 1070 law has been the topic of heated discussion, between those in favor and those opposed. Since the law was first introduced, numerous changes have been made to appease those opposing the law, namely the Latino population and the federal government. What makes the law unpopular with so many people is the state's ability to stop, detain, arrest, and deport any person law enforcement deems has an illegal status. Also, those arrested can be held indefinitely until the process is complete. The law turns innocent people into criminals based on their ethnicity.
Arizona has faced this same type of backlash before, by trying to introduce similar bills in 2007 and 2008. Most recently, this year the state banned ethnic studies in schools and is pushing the agenda up to the university level. All these attacks on the Latino/ Hispanic population beg the question: What is it that those in state legislation fear? It would seems from all these initiatives that they are afraid of losing the "purity" of their male-dominant ethnicity. But doing this at the expense of another ethnic group which has committed no crime is simply wrong.
The Hispanic/ Latino population has and will continue contributing greatlty to America. They deserve the same opportunites as any other culture of people who came to the U.S. Singling out people due to their ethnicity or legal status is a form of injustice. Hispanics come to America for the same reasons as anyone else, for opportunites that are absent in their own countries. How can the United States call themselves "the leader of the free world" when we set examples such as this? If the Supreme Court rules in favor of SB 1070, it will spell disaster for this nation.
By ratifying this bill into law, the Supreme Court will create conditions for any state to challenge federal law, whenever it feels fit. Latinos and Hispanics will become marginalized by employers, universities, friends, and even family. People will walk on eggshells, scared at any moment they can be be hunted down and asked to produce documents of U.S. citizenship. Tension and protests will follow, and this law will effectively create a police state. People might take the law into their own hands, through vigilante justice.
Who knows what the Supreme Court will decide on, but hopefully they realize that there are our only cons to this decision, and not pros. Let us learn from history, and not forget what occurred during the civil rights movement and during the U.S. persecution and attempted extermination of the Native American Indians.
Thursday RULED: Union must give fee increase notice... (Wisconsin/ Scott Walker-oriented): “The majority thus decides, for the very first time, that the First Amendment does require an opt-in system in some circumstances [for union dues]: the levying of a special assessment or dues increase.”
F WORD: FOX WINS OVER FCC... Court strikes down FCC policy regulating curse words on broadcast television...
Thursday, 10:39 am: Monday will also potentially be the day we hear about whether the Court will hear the Citizens United follow-up on from Montana. This will also be a critical case.
Thursday, 10:31 am: The Court only has five opinions left to release. Opinion days are now currently set for Monday and Thursday or next week, but we're hearing that there could be a third day.
There is no deadline for deciding cases. They could sit on a decision for 20 years, theoretically. It may be held over until the next session (but it wont happen with health care or Arizona). Usually its only done to help align very complicated dissents/concurrences, i.e. if there are like 6 opinions in one case, to make sure everyone gets their piece right.
Thursday, 10:26 am: Interetsing, the Court may, add an additional opinion day next week, aside from Monday and Thursday.
How do we know when the last decision is announced? Depending on who the judge is, that may be it (goes in order of reverse seniority), in terms of who authored an opinion. The opinions are revealed from youngest judge to older judge. So in Breyers case, Thomas, Scalia, Kennedy, and the Chief Justice (by default) are all older, so we can get opinions from any of them.
Thursday, 10:20 am: No Arizona or Obamacare Ruling Today:
We have the third opinion in Dorsey and Hill, the Fair Sentencing Act cases. That's the final decision of the day.
Thursday, 10:15 am: Where's the Third Case?
Thursday, 10:07 am: Knox v. SEIU, 10-1121. Opinion by Alito.
The Court rules that the case is not moot, first. It then rules on the merits: the union's treatment of nonmembers who had opted out when they got notice of the dues ran afoul of the First Amendment.
Thursday, 10:05 am: The first opinion of the day is in Southern Union
Southern Union was about whether a jury needed to find facts leading to the imposition of a higher criminal fine.
Justice Sotomayor has opinion. The rule of Apprendi v. NJ applies to the imposition of criminal fines. The First Circuit is reversed. The vote is 6-3.
Thursday, 10 am: SCOTUS decision imminent
Thursday, 9:50 am: Keeping SB 1070 Would Increase Violence Against Latinos?
From PolicyMic Pundti Jacinda Chan: As the Supreme Court approaches a decision on Arizona's immigration law, Latinos have much to fear. The Court will decide whether states have the legal authority to make immigration policy or whether immigration is a federal issue. Legal experts believe the Court will rule in favor of the Arizona immigration law SB 1070, that requires law enforcement members to check the citizenship status of anyone they believe appears to be an undocumented immigrant.
Such a ruling will be a disaster for Latinos in America; it will create an unprotected dangerous and fearful environment for Latinos, stripping them of their human right not to be searched and seized without a warrant.
If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Arizona, other states will have the legal right to perform unwarranted search and seizures on anyone they believe is an illegal immigrant. Opponents have argued that police have no legal right to perform these procedures without probable cause. But, states claim they do have probable cause; they just have no warrant.
According to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, illegal immigration is a crime equatable to immigrants rioting violently. If immigrants were throwing violent protests, the state would have probable cause to ask for immigration papers. Kennedy argues that the same concept applies to illegal immigration: both are continuous violent crimes that the state needs to defend against.
That said, the problem with checking immigration status of suspected illegal immigrants is thatthe police will inevitably detain innocent people, who may not have the proper citizenship papers on them. Detention becomes illegal when police target Latinos or any other race. Under the Constitution, all races are equal before the law. No race should have to provide proof of citizenship when others do not. With the majority of Latinos being illegal immigrants, police are bound to detain the wrong people.
Due to the laws requirements and the ramifications of the Supreme Court's decision, the situation is precarious. Law enforcement officials cannot choose to ignore the law, and discrimination suits will be difficult to prove.
If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Arizona, having probable will legally bound officers to investigate. If they do not investigate suspicious looking people, the police can be sued. They can also be sued for not enforcing SB 1070.
But, this article that allows Arizona residents to sue officers for not enforcing SB 1070 cancels the article that allows people to sue police for using racial profiling to check immigration status. If it came down to it, law enforcement officials could simply argue that a person looked suspicious of illegal immigration, and the officers were in a position of having to do their job.
In 2010, when Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) issued HB 2162 which forbid law enforcement from using racial profiling, HB 2162 had little power.
Without legal safeguards to protect against discrimination, Latinos become vulnerable to racial profiling and illegal detention. A Supreme Court decision in favor of Arizona will pave the way for law enforcement and state governments to perform legal search and seizures against racial groups, only worsening racial discrimination in America.
Thursday 945 a.m.: If announced today, expect a decision to be handed down shortly after 10 a.m.
But will the decision actually be handed down today? Nobody knows. It could be handed down on Monday (most experts say that's the most likely). Or next Thursday. Or possibly in July.
Heck, it could even be held until next year.
Here's the kicker, though: the decision has already been made. The Justices have already made up their mind, voted, and decided (they probably did that back in May). They only needed this long to write their opinions on the matter, and to go through those opinions with a fine-toothed comb.
This isn't the only high-profile decision the Court will be releasing, though; Obamacare is also being decided. But will both massive decisions come on the same day?
Thursday 6:55 am: Four parts of the Arizona law face scrutiny: requiring an officer to check immigration status in certain situations, making the failure to carry “alien-registration documents” a crime, forbidding illegal immigrants from working, and allowing some warrantless arrests.
Thursday 6:45 am: There remains a great deal of uncertainty about when the Court's ruling will come down. It could be Thursday, Monday, next Thursday, or even July. Why the uncertainty about such an important case? The Tucson Citizen has a great roundup of the Supreme Court decision making process:
1) On April 25, the SB 1070 case was argued before the Court (the last case argued this session). Two days later, the nine justices gathered behind closed doors, without clerks or staff, to discuss the case (along with the three others they had heard in the week). The Justices go around the room and state which way they are leaning.
2) Once they declare how they stand, the most senior justice on the majority side assigns one of the justices to write the opinion. The senior justice could assign the task to him- or herself or choose someone else.
3) That justice then writes a draft opinion, and staff members circulate the draft to the other justices, who respond by memo suggesting changes and indicating whether they still will join the opinion. Justices may switch sides during this time.
4) Once satisfied with the majority opinion, justices on the dissenting side write their opinion.
5) The Court then releases its opinions on scheduled days, but gives no hints as to which opinions will come on which days, not even to the parties involved in the lawsuits. “At the Supreme Court, those who know don’t talk and those who talk don’t know,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said last week in a speech to the American Constitution Society.
6:30 am: Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer is preparing for the SCOTUS ruling with a new executive order to law enforcement. See the memo here.
6:00 am: Arizona residents are already making preparations for massive protests and resistance in the event the Supreme Court issues its ruling on the case today. Tucson community members have planned a rally to be held on the steps of the Arizona State Building in downtown Tucson on 1pm on the day of the ruling. A community rally in opposition to SB1070 will be held at 4:30pm on the day of, and the day following, the Court’s decision at the Arizona State Building in Downtown Tucson.
Wednesday, 4:30 pm: Police Agencies Prepare For More Lawsuits:
As the nation awaits the Supreme Court's decision, opponents of SB 1070 are preparing to sue police departments on claims that officers racially profile, while supporters are set to sue police agencies for failure to enforce the law.
Either way, this is a catch 22 for police departments across the country
Opponents of the law are especially upset with the provision of the law that requires police to check the immigration status of people they stop for other reasons.
A little-known section of the law lets anyone sue an agency that has a policy that restricts the enforcement of immigration law. The provision was aimed at holding cities accountable for “sanctuary policies” that discourage or prohibit officers from inquiring about a person’s immigration status. Agencies that are found by a court to have sanctuary policies face fines of $500 to $5,000 for each day such a violation remains in effect after the filing of the lawsuit.
The right to sue was among the parts of the law that were allowed to take effect in July 2010. But a federal judge has barred police from enforcing the law’s more contentious sections, such as a requirement that officers check the immigration status of people they stop for other reasons.
Wednesday, 12 pm: Here's a Great Primer On the Action That Will Unfold:
One of the most likely outcomes is that the court will uphold some provisions of SB 1070, while striking down other sections of the law. Post-oral argument, it is probable that the Court will uphold the so-called “show me your papers” provision. However, it also seems likely that the court will still strike down the parts of SB 1070 that make it a state crime to violate certain federal civil immigration requirements. The Court’s ruling on the criminalization provision will probably be a narrowly-divided vote, perhaps 5 to 3.
The broader import of the Arizona immigration ruling, however, will be the scope to which the Supreme Court outlines if, and how, states may regulate immigration in the future. Prior to the ruling in this case, the federal government has retained the exclusive right to legislate immigration, in line with the Constitution’s Naturalization Clause. Now, however, it appears that the Court might demarcate new boundaries under which individual states may permissibly devise their own immigration policies.
If this comes to pass, the Court’s ruling will also accentuate the immigration debate in the 2012 election season. The decision over SB 1070 will come at the heels of the Executive Branch’s “DREAM Order,” issued this past Friday. The Order outlines how the Department of Homeland Security plans to implement prosecutorial discretion in order to halt, at least temporarily, the deportation of qualifying young people who arrived in the U.S. as children, have exhibited a pattern of good behavior in the country, and have demonstrated their commitment to their studies or served in the Armed Forces.
Highly popular with the all-important Latino electorate, the presidentially-approved policy is expected to garner votes for President Obama. While former Governor and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney has not yet committed to a firm stance regarding the DREAM Order, ultimately Romney’s posture on the issue may well determine his success with the voting bloc, which is a significant one in many swing states.
It is certainly possible that President Obama timed the Order so as to preempt a Court ruling that is, at least partially, in favor of Arizona.
Even if the Court upholds portions of SB 1070, the issue of state regulation of immigration will remain hotly contested. The federal government’s suit against SB 1070 relied exclusively on grounds of federalism and explicitly avoided a legal complaint on the issue of racial profiling. Because many civil rights advocates view racial profiling as the most serious problem of SB 1070, it is likely that more lawsuits will follow the Court’s decision. Moreover, some Democrats have promised an attempt to overturn the Supreme Court’s ruling on SB 1070, a legally permissible option since the Court is expected to rule on non-constitutional grounds.
However the Supreme Court may rule, its decision will merely bring a new phase to the immigration debate.