Arizona v. United States (2012) Arizona’s controversial S.B. 1070, angered many immigration activists who argued that it promoted racial profiling and gained the support many other right wing activists who praised it for tackling the problem of illegal immigration.
The law was so controversial in fact, that it eventually made it to the Supreme Court, where the four most contentious sections were ruled upon. In the case of Arizona v. United States, the Supreme Court was correct in both their decision to rule the three sections of Arizona’s S.B. 1070 were unconstitutional under the doctrine of preemption, and section 2(B), which required law enforcement to check the immigration status of detained individuals, was constitutional. Although, I do believe that section 2(B) could lead to racial profiling, I do not see a reason to rule it unconstitutional because it does not conflict with federal law and it is very similar to what police can already do. Arizona passed S.B.
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1070 in 2010 to combat the problem of illegal immigration. The law included the controversial provisions that allowed police enforcement to check the immigration status of someone they have arrested or stopped for breaking another law and to arrest someone without a warrant if the officer had reasonable cause to believe they were an illegal immigrant. After this statute passed in Arizona, several other states including Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah, passed similar legislation. However, although there was copycat laws, there was also backlash to SB 1070. Many immigration activists were angered by this bill because they believed it would open the doors towards racial profiling against Mexicans and Latinos by the police, and some businesses even went as far to boycott Arizona.
On July 6, 2010, the Department of Justice intervened and filed a suit to block S. B. 1070 implementation. Around three weeks later, the US District Court granted an injunction but only blocked four provisions parts of the law on the basis that they conflicted with federal law. According to the doctrine of preemption, which is based on the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, state laws cannot come into conflict with federal law. After this ruling, the state of Arizona then appealed this decision to the Ninth Circuit US Court of Appeals but in April of the next year, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the US District Courts decision. Judge Richard Paez gave the majority opinion and agreed with the district court, stating that federal law likely preempted section 3 of the law, which made it state-crime to violate of federal registration laws, section 5(C), which made a state crime to work as an illegal immigrant, section 2(B), which required law enforcement to verify citizenship of people that they arrested, and section 6, which authorized police officers to arrest people without a warrant if there was probable cause that they are an illegal immigrant. Judge John T.
Noonan Jr. agreed with Judge Paez, while Judge Carlos Bea dissented in part, stating that he believe that the injunction of section 2(B) and 6 should be lifted. Arizona then appealed the decision directly to Supreme Court. Despite the Justice Department urging the Supreme Court to leave the case to lower courts in December of 2011 the Court decided to hear the case. In April of 2012, the court heard oral arguments and the Justices discussed whether or not SB 1070 was preempted by federal law. During the arguments themselves, most of the attention was focused on section 2(B), which Paul Clement, the attorney representing the State of Arizona, was constitutional because it already legal for law enforcement to check the immigration status of people with the federal government. Another important thing to note is that Justice Kagan recused herself from the case, which meant that the tables were tilted in favor of the conservative judges. In the end, the Court ruled 5 to 3 in favor of striking down section 3, 6 and 5(C), which meant that the most controversial provision that allowed the arrest of illegal immigrants without a warrant, was deemed constitutional.
The majority opinion, written by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, stated that the federal law conflicted with state law in the case of those three provisions, which made them unconstitutional. For section 2(b), Justice Kennedy wrote that because the section only required communication between state law enforcement and the federal government and did not conflict with federal law, it was not unconstitutional on its face. However, in his opinion, Justice Kennedy addressed several concerns he had with section 2(B), writing that it was still unclear how the law was going to be interpreted and thus still uncertain that the law would conflict with federal law in the future. Justices Roberts, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Breyer all agreed with Kennedy but none of them gave a concurring opinion. On the other hand, Justice Scalia read his dissent from the beach, which indicated that he disagreed strongly with the decision, believing that all four of the provisions should be declared constitutional.
In his dissent, Scalia argue that states should be allowed to enforce federal law if the federal government wasn’t doing enough to enforce it themselves. Interestingly, Scalia also addressed Obama’s position on illegal immigrants and showed a clear disdain for the ruling, which was seen by some as a highly political move because justices typically rely on legal record. After reading his statement, I also believe it was highly politicized and partisan because he directly attacked Obama’s position on immigration. Justice Thomas also dissented, agreeing with Scalia that he would have upheld all four provisions. However, his dissent was less scathing, stating that the provisions did not conflict with federal law. Finally, Justice Alito concurred in part and dissented in part, agreeing with the court’s decision on 3 and 2(B) but disagreeing with the ruling on section on 5 and 6. To support his opinion, he brought up De Canas v. Bica, which had ruled that states could regulate employment even when it came to illegal immigrants and also reasoned that section 6 does almost nothing to change what law enforcement can already do.
Although the court did strike down 3 out of the 4 sections of SB 1070, section 2(B), considered by many to be the heart of the legislation, was kept. After the ruling, President Obama expressed his concern that this remaining provision could lead to racial profiling but was happy that the rest were struck down. In my opinion, I do agree that this law does encourage racial profiling by the police, but I do not see a legal way to ban it as of now. Other than the potential for racial profiling that the ruling could bring, the decision also impacted the balance between state and federal law.
Arizona v. United States. This laws enforces the supremacy of federal law over state law.
Eventually, the doctrine of preemption that was cemented in this case, could lead to the end of sanctuary cities and legal marijuana, which would be very detrimental to Washington state in particular. Thus, I believe that it’s very important to keep a balance between both federal and state laws. Annotated – Works CitedLiptak, Adam. “Blocking Parts of Arizona Law, Justices Allow Its Centerpiece.” The New York Times.
The New York Times, 25 June 2012. Web. 22 Jan. 2018.The New York Times has won 122 Pulitzer Prizes and has a worldwide influence and readers from around the world.
Although it has no official partisan position, the newspaper is known to lean left. The author of the article, Liptak Adam is a graduate from the Yale School of Law and has taught classes on law at Yale and the University of Chicago. He was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
This article helped me understand the general outline of the case in the Supreme Court and the response from the president and other states. Savage, David G. “Did Justice Antonin Scalia Go Too Far This Time?” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 27 June 2012.
Web. 22 Jan. 2018.The Los Angeles Times has the fourth largest circulation out of all American newspapers. They also have won 44 Pulitzer Prizes David G. Savage, the author of this article has been writing about the Supreme court and the law for the Los Angeles times for more than thirty years. The amount of experience he has makes me believe he is a credible.
This article informed me about the uniqueness of Scalia dissent and the role it plays in the Arizona v. United States case. Cohen, Andrew. “Razing Arizona: Supreme Court Sides With Feds on Immigration.” The Atlantic.
Atlantic Media Company, 25 June 2012. Web. 22 Jan. 2018.The Atlantic is a literary magazine that address a wide variety of topics, including politics and has been published for more than 100 years. The magazine has won numerous awards, such as Magazine of the Year.
Andrew Cohen, the author of the article, is a contributor to the Atlantic and a legal analyst for CBS News and 60 minutes. He also won the Silver Gavel Award for his work at the Atlantic. This article helped break down the oral arguments and opinions from the justices by including direct quotes and then explaining them. “Arizona v.
United States.” Oyez. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Jan.
2018.Oyez was created by the Illinois Institute of Technology and is designed to archive cases that reach the Supreme Court. The website is non-partisan and only includes the legal record and not any opinions.
The website has also received support from the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Oyez is even recognized by the Supreme Court as a credible source of information. The article helped me learn about Arizona’s v. United States path to the Supreme Court and its journey through the appellate court.