General LawLegal Malpractice

Supreme Court Rejects ¾ of Challenged SB 1070 Provisions

Supreme-Court-RejectsIn a 5-3 ruling, the United States Supreme Court has struck down three of the four major sections of Arizona’s SB 1070 immigration law, while leaving the most controversial provision, which asks police to check the immigration status of those stopped for another violation.  The Court stated that “without the benefit of a definitive interpretation” of the provision by Arizona state courts, they were unable to conclude whether or not it conflicted with federal immigration law.  The Court left itself open to reviewing further challenges of the provision in the future after it is implemented and its impact can be better determined.

The lineup of the Court was interesting.  Only eight justices reviewed the case after Associate Justice Elena Kagan recused herself based on her service as President Obama’s Solicitor General when the administration chose to challenge the law.  Chief Justice John Roberts departed from the conservative side of the Court to be the fifth and deciding vote in the decision.  The move was likely more practical than ideological:  a four-to-four tie would have meant upholding the Ninth Circuit’s decision, which struck down all of the law’s provisions; Roberts likely influenced allowing the one remaining provision to survive.

The Court’s ruling has received mixed reviews from all ends of the political spectrum, from President Obama’s cautious endorsement to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s declaring it a victory.  Many appear dissatisfied that no firm determination on the validity of the “papers, please” provision was reached and expect further litigation on the issue.

For more information on the topic, visit: and/or