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Supreme Court Throws Out Most of Draconian Arizona Immigration Law, Keeps "Papers, Please" Part For Now

 
 
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The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that key sections of Arizona's Draconian immigration law, S.B. 1070, that authorized state law enforcement to stop people suspected of being illegal immigrants and arrest them for deportation if they could not document their legal presence, was an unconstitutional infringement on Congress's authority to create and regulate immigration policy.

The ruling is a victory for civil rights advocates and the Obama Administration, who said that the state of Arizona and a handful of other states with copycat laws, could not in essence create their own immigration policies because they were "frustrated" with the federal government's failure to come up with a comprehensive fix to a flawed system.  

The Court's conservative justices read dissents from the bench, saying they would have upheld the entire policy. 

The decision is here:  http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/11-182b5e1.pdf

The Court is will issue its health care reform decision on Thursday. 

The decision isn't all good though, upholding -- at least for the moment -- one particularly noxious provision: what has been called the "papers, please" measure allowing police and other officials to ascertain the immigration status of people "suspected" of being in the country illegally.

The court's ruling is fairly narrow. The justice department had chosen not to argue that the measure violated people's right to due process and equal protection, but other suits working their way up through the courts are based on those arguments.

The justices decided against a lower court injunction against the provision, saying that it was wrong to block the law "before the state courts had an opportunity to construe it and without some showing that [it's] enforcement in fact conflicts with federal immigration law and its objectives."  

While many news outlets erroneously reported that the court had "upheld" the provision, the reality is that it only ruled that the state could, if it chooses, enforce the measure while challenges work their way through the system. 

The justices also placed limitations on the measure, stressing, among other things, that "officers may not consider race, color, or national origin" except to the extent permitted by the Constitution.

(AlterNet will post more detailed reports on the decisions later today).

 

AlterNet / By Staff

Posted at June 25, 2012, 4:51am

 
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