Arizona Immigration Case

| | Comments (0)

I fully expected and was glad to see that the Supreme Court today upheld that the AZ definition of reasonable suspicion is perfectly constitutional, and that any challenges to it being applied improperly would need to be as-applied challenges (how the law is applied), not facial challenges (what the law says).

I agree in principle with the rest of the decision: that the states cannot interfere with government enforcement of immigration law. My question has always been whether or not the AZ law actually does so.

So there are three remaining sections. As per the Syllabus: "Section 3 makes failure to comply with federal alien-registration requirements a state misdemeanor; §5(C) makes it a misdemeanor for an unauthorized alien to seek or engage in work in the State; §6 authorizes state and local officers to arrest without a warrant a person 'the officer has probable cause to believe ... has committed any public offense that makes the person removable from the United States.'"

After reading the three separate dissents a bit, I am in full agreement with the dissenters that §5(C) is perfectly lawful. I can find no justification for saying it conflicts with any federal law or exercise thereof. It certainly doesn't follow federal "priorities" or "goals," but I find no power granted to the federal government to prohibit such actions by the state.

Scalia and Thomas dissented on §3, but Alito agreed with the majority. I tend to agree with Alito here, largely the previous Court decision "seems to require" pre-emption in this case as well. Scalia's argument is that §3 does not add to the existing federal requirements, but wholly rests on them. My question here lies with whether the prohibition in the previous decision, disallowing the state the ability to "complement" that system, or "enforce additional or auxiliary regulations," means they cannot add additional penalties for an existing federal system. I remain unconvinced either way.

With §6, the three dissenters make a strong case that there is no conflict in the plain meaning of the Arizona law with the federal law. But this is where the law and practice of it come into significance: federal law limits federal law enforcement from making certain arrests of removable aliens, but, the dissenters say, this does not prevent states from doing so, and then federal law enforcement from prosecuting based upon that state detention. While I might be willing to say that this Arizona law is not unconstitutional, it sure seems kinda silly. Further, §6 is more inclusive of who may be arrested, beyond just these particular people here illegally, and thus the entire law should not be stricken down, but merely (if anything) interpreted to not apply to a certain class of offenders.

So I'd probably be closest to Alito on this case overall.

Leave a comment

<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by pudge published on June 25, 2012 6:01 PM.

Reardon Investigated by PDC was the previous entry in this site.

Health Insurance Decision Reminder is the next entry in this site.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.