The Supreme Court handed Arizona’s anti-immigration forces a defeat on Monday. They took it well.
“Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is a victory for the rule of law. It is also a victory for the 10th Amendment and all Americans who believe in the inherent right and responsibility of states to defend their citizens,” Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, said in a ement.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio agreed. “I think this is a good section that’s been upheld,” Arpaio told KNXV-TV. “I would have liked to see where we would have the authority to arrest illegal aliens just by being here illegally and book them into our jails, but that’s not going to happen. But I think this sends a message that we will be involved in enforcing the illegal alien laws and our police officers will be able to at least try to determine if they’re in this country illegally.”
The statements appeared to be an exercise in spin. The Supreme Court struck down three of four provisions in S.B. 1070, Arizona’s radical and ultimately unconstitutional immigration law. The one part of the law that was upheld remained on shaky ground.While the court did uphold the ability of police to check immigration status after arrest, it did not rule on whether such checks were constitutional. Jessica Pieklo of Care2 said that the ruling “left open the door for future challenges to the law and gave potential future plaintiffs hope their complaints would receive a fair hearing by at least five of the sitting justices.”
Georgetown Law Professor David Cole agreed. In an interview with CNN, he said, “This is almost a total victory for the Obama administration.”
Nevertheless, Brewer and Arpaio had little choice but to claim their defeat was a win. Both have placed opposition to immigration at the center of their political careers. To admit defeat now would be tantamount to admitting that they were wrong the whole time.
Image Credit: Donkey Hotey
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