BREAKING: Supreme Court Upholds Key Part of Arizona Immigration Law
by JESS BRAVIN, MIRIAM JORDAN
June 25, 2012
The Supreme Court upheld a key part of Arizona's tough-immigration law but struck down others as intrusions on federal sovereignty, in a ruling that gave both sides something to cheer in advance of November elections where immigration is a major issue.
The court backed a section of the Arizona state law that calls for police to check the immigration status of people they stop.
That section was one of four at issue before the high court. The others make it a crime for immigrants without work permits to seek employment, make it a crime for immigrants to fail to carry registration documents, and authorize the police to arrest any immigrant they believe has committed a deportable offense. Those other three provisions were struck down.
Five justices were in the majority choosing to strike down the three provisions. Two dissenting justices-Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas-argued that the whole law should have been upheld, while a third dissenter, Justice Samuel Alito, would have upheld three provisions and struck down one.
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor. Justice Elena Kagan was recused in the case.
"Arizona may have understandable frustrations with the problems caused by illegal immigration while that process continues, but the state may not pursue policies that undermine federal law," Justice Kennedy wrote.
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