The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on April 25 in Arizona v. United States, the controversial case surrounding Arizona’s S.B. 1070, a state law that requires, among other things, the following actions in Arizona:
- Police who make any stop or arrest, and who have a “reasonable suspicion” that a person is in the United States without permission, must determine whether the person has a right to be in the United States, and if police arrest a person, they may not release them until the person’s legal status has been verified by the federal government.
- Any person in Arizona who is not a United States Citizen must obtain and carry documents proving legal status. Any such person who does not do so is guilty of a crime.
- Any undocumented person who applies for a job or works in Arizona is guilty of a crime.
- Police are authorized to arrest without a warrant any person whom the officer believes has committed a crime that would subject the person to deportation, even if the crime was committed outside Arizona.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has blocked these 4 provisions. The State of Arizona appealed the Ninth Circuit’s decision, and the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case.
Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan will not be taking part in deciding the case. That means that only 8 Justices will decide the case. In the event of a 4-4 split, the Ninth Circuit’s decision will stand.
The case sets up a showdown of sorts between Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who contends that S.B. 1070 is simply an attempt to allow Arizona law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration officials, and the Obama Administration, which contends that Arizona has attempted to write its own immigration laws – something that only the federal government has the power to do.