The Supreme Court appears ready to allow Arizona to enforce a state law provision that requires police officers to check the immigration status of people they think are in the country illegally.
The justices strongly suggested Wednesday that they are not buying the Obama administration’s argument that the state exceeded its authority when it made the records check part of a controversial state law aimed at driving illegal immigrants out of the state. It was unclear what the court would do with other aspects of the law that have been put on hold by lower federal courts.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer reacted favorably as well after oral arguments (see related AP video report).
ACLJ, FAIR optimistic
Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law & Justice, adds its optimism to AP’s impression following oral arguments today. “What became very clear during the intense questioning is that a majority of the Justices seem to believe that Arizona has a legitimate role in the enforcement of laws designed to protect its citizens and border,” he offered in a press statement.
“It was also important to note that during the arguments, the government, which is challenging the constitutionality of the Arizona law, conceded that S.B. 1070 does not involve racial or ethnic profiling — an argument that’s been repeatedly used to challenge the immigration measure.”
Sekulow concedes that while such cases are always difficult to predict as a result of oral arguments, he remains hopeful the court will conclude that Arizona “acted properly and constitutionally” to protect its citizens and borders.
The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) adds that attorneys for Arizona presented “compelling legal reasons” why the Supreme Court should reverse the Ninth Circuit’s decision to block provisions in the law. Among those reasons, says FAIR, are that states have inherent authority to enforce immigration laws, and that the Ninth Circuit “erred” in accepting the Obama administration’s argument that the Arizona law interferes with its own enforcement “priorities and strategies.” FAIR equates those priorities and strategies as being a “non-enforcement policy.”