On Monday the Supreme Court announced it would review challenges to Arizona’s restrictive anti-immigrant measure, SB 1070, adding yet another high profile case to the upcoming term. The review will likely be heard close to the same time that the justices consider challenges to the constitutionality of health care reform.
Justice Elena Kagan recused herself from the review of the Arizona case, likely because she worked on the issue while solicitor general for President Obama.
The Justice Department had challenged the Arizona law as beyond the scope of state power and was successful in blocking the worst parts of the law at the trial and appellate level. Those elements include making it a state crime to be in the country illegally and failing to register with the federal government; making it illegal to seek work or working when not authorized; requiring state and local officers to try and determine the status of someone arrested, stopped or detained if they believe the individual might be in the country unlawfully; and allowing warrantless arrest of anyone who they have probable cause to believe might have violated laws that would make them deportable under federal law.
The Obama administration had opposed Supreme Court review, arguing that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals got it right in blocking implementation of those provisions. Arizona, on the other hand, asked the high court to take the case since its law was not intended to usurp federal law, but rather to cooperate with it.
Other states have passed similar measures and also face legal challenge, including Alabama, South Carolina and Utah, though there’s no reason to think a decision on the Arizona case would resolve all those pending challenges.
Photo from steakpinball via flickr.