My jaw hit my chest yesterday when I heard Jan Brewer. Infamous for kicking citizens off Medicaid, even though their transplants were already scheduled, resulting in their deaths, Brewer is very Republican. She actually claimed that she had won. Though other opinions are not so absurd, there have been so many put forward, that it’s hard for someone to know what to think, so I’ll do my best to explain it, with extensive documentation, of course.
The Court struck down three parts of the law, and upheld one, albeit tenuously.
The Supreme Court on Monday said states may play a limited role in enforcing laws on illegal immigration, upholding part of Arizona’s controversial law but striking other portions it said intruded on the federal government’s powers.
The justices let stand for now the part of the law that requires police to check the immigration status of anyone they detain or arrest if they have “reasonable suspicion” that the person is in the country illegally. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) declared that decision, on the part of the law that had generated the most controversy, a victory.
But the ruling also in part vindicated the Obama administration, with the court rejecting three provisions that the federal government opposed.
The court ruled that Arizona cannot make it a misdemeanor for immigrants to fail to carry identification that says whether they are in the United States legally; cannot make it a crime for undocumented immigrants to apply for a job; and cannot arrest someone based solely on the suspicion that the person is in this country illegally.
The court also said the part of the law it upheld — requiring officers to check the immigration status of those they detain and reasonably believe to be illegal immigrants — could be subject to additional legal challenges once it is implemented… [emphasis added]
Inserted from <Washington Post>
Police already had the power to check the immigration status of someone they arrest or detain. The key provision of the bill, that was struck down, would have given the state the ability to require papers from anyone, even if police had no reason to detain them. The only difference is that police no longer have the discretion to look the other way, if for example, they suspected that someone is undocumented, but needed information from that person about a violent crime. Therefore undocumented people will be even more reluctant to talk to police, making Arizona less safe for citizens.
The best coverage I have seen of this decision came from Lawrence O’Donnell and his panel.
You can be sure that Arizona will abuse the provision that remains. I can explain that in two words: Joe Arpaio.
I understand that Scalia, Thomas, and Alito were furious. Scalia even went so far as to attack Obama’s immigration policy, a partisan move without precedent.
Scalia, who 25 years ago had a certain gift for pointing out the blindness and hypocrisy of certain versions of limousine liberalism, has in his old age become an increasingly intolerant and intolerable blowhard: a pompous celebrant of his own virtue and rectitude, a purveyor of intemperate jeremiads against the degeneracy of the age, and now an author of hysterical diatribes against foreign invaders, who threaten all that is holy.
Here’s a passage from his dissent today from the Supreme Court’s decision forbidding the state of Arizona from deciding to “help” the federal government to enforce federal immigration laws that the national government has decided it would be better to under-enforce:
As is often the case, discussion of the dry legalities that are the proper object of our attention suppresses the very human realities that gave rise to the suit. Arizona bears the brunt of the country’s illegal immigration problem. Its citizens feel themselves under siege by large numbers of illegal immigrants who invade their property, strain their social services, and even place their lives in jeopardy. Federal officials have been unable to remedy the problem, and indeed have recently shown that they are unwilling to do so. Thousands of Arizona’s estimated 400,000 illegal immigrants — including not just children but men and women under 30 — are now assured immunity from enforcement, and will be able to compete openly with Arizona citizens for employment.
This quote is in the middle of a longer passage, railing against the Obama administration’s immigration law policy – a passage written by a man who obviously no longer cares that he sounds increasingly like a right-wing talk radio host rather than a justice of the Supreme Court, and that his dissents are starting to read more like hastily drafted blog posts than sober judicial opinions… [emphasis added]
Inserted from <Salon>
Scalia is lying. Deportation under Obama has increased dramatically, and Obama has doubled the size of the Border Patrol.
Ed Schultz discussed Scalia’s attack with Catherine Crier, Joan Walsh, and Michael Medved. They also covered other rulings.
Medved did more than his fair share of squirming, as he tried to spin.
It is also interesting to note that Scalia even referenced state laws from before the Civil War outlawing entry by freed black people, as a justification for his position.
Finally, Roberts’ vote surprised many, but I thought of a possible explanation for it. Please note that this is my own speculation, and I make no claim for it’s accuracy. Had Roberts voted with Scalia, Thomas and Alito, the decision would have been 4-4. In cases where the Justices are tied, the ruling of the lower court prevails. In this case, the Appellate Court overturned SB 1070 in it’s entirety, so the only way Roberts could save the one provision that was tenuously upheld was to vote the way he did.
One thing remains clear. Only Democrats in the White House can prevent more Republicans on the Court.