Arizona immigration law goes to Supreme Court this week
Four provisions of law have lower courts blocked
The Supreme Court will hear oral argument this coming Wednesday in the
federal government's challenge to the Grand Canyon state's controversial
anti-immigration law, S.B. 1070. Called Arizona v. United States, the
case will not only be the Court's second politically-charged blockbuster
in as many months, but also a rematch between the Solicitor General
Donald Verrilli and D.C. super-lawyer Paul Clement.
Super lawyer Paul Clement represents Arizona and Governor Jan Brewer. He is trying to unblock these provisions by framing them as 'Arizona's efforts at cooperative law enforcement' with the United States.
Four provisions of the law have blocked lower courts, conflicting with federal immigration laws. Two of the blocked sections make it a crime under state law for an undocumented immigrant to be present in the state, fail to register with the federal government and attempt to obtain work or hold a job without governmental authorization.
Another section requires police officers to check the immigration status of anyone who has been arrested, stopped or detained -- and who the police reasonably suspect to be in the country undocumented.
The fourth provision at issue allows police to arrest individuals without a warrant if they have probable cause those individuals have committed deportable offenses.
Clement represents Arizona and Governor Jan Brewer. He is trying to unblock these provisions by framing them as "Arizona's efforts at cooperative law enforcement" with the United States.
"President [Barack Obama] fairly describes our Nation's system of immigration regulation and enforcement as 'broken,'" Clement wrote in Arizona's brief. Clement then spends several pages describing the health, safety and economic difficulties Arizona has faced as a result of that "broken" system, citing the state of emergency declared in 2005 by then-Gov. Janet Napolitano, who now serves as President Barack Obama's secretary of homeland security.
The United States has many pertinent issues regarding the Arizona law.
"The framework that the Constitution and Congress have created does not permit the States to adopt their own immigration programs and policies or to set themselves up as rival decision makers based on disagreement with the focus and scope of federal enforcement," Verrilli told the justices in the federal government's brief.
"[B]y refusing to respect Congress's designation of the Executive Branch to take the lead in the enforcement of the federal immigration laws, and by requiring all Arizona officers to adhere instead to the State's own policy of 'attrition through enforcement,' Arizona has exceeded the permissible bounds of cooperation," Verrilli wrote.
Lecturer in law at Yale and Stanford Lucas Guttentag calls the case a "defining moment for the Court.
"The arguments and the legal claims are technical, but the implications are sweeping," Guttentag said. "Core concerns about discrimination and profiling" -- in Arizona's case, against the state's Hispanic residents, documented or not -- "are the reason why the Supreme Court has historically held that states may not intrude into the field of immigration regulation. It leads to discrimination, harassment, interference with foreign relations and an undermining of the national interest in national uniformity."
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Arizona immigration, Supreme Court, lawyer Paul Clement, lower courts
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