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'Arizona v. United States' in the U.S. Supreme Court

'Arizona v. United States' in the U.S. Supreme Court

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Marshall Fitz and Jeanne Butterfield outline the legal background and central arguments before the Court in this case.
Marshall Fitz and Jeanne Butterfield outline the legal background and central arguments before the Court in this case.

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Published by: Center for American Progress on Apr 03, 2012
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1Center or American Progress | 
United States v. Arizona
in the U.S. Supreme Court
 Arizona v. United States
in the U.S.Supreme Court
A Primer on the Legal Arguments in Landmark States’Rights Case
Marshall Fitz and Jeanne Butterfield April 2012
Introduction
Tis monh he U.S. Supreme Cour will hear oral argumens in a landmark case,
Sae o  Arizona v. Unied Saes
 ,
1
which challenges he auhoriy o a sae o enac is own immi-graion enorcemen laws insead o ollowing ederal regulaions. A decision is expecedin he case beore he Cour adjourns a he end o June.Te Supreme Cour’s decision will go ar in delineaing he exen o which, i a all, anindividual sae can engage in immigraion enorcemen and wha rules a sae can makerelaed o he immigraion saus o individuals living in ha sae. Hisorically, saeeors o enorce immigraion laws and make immigraion policy have been consi-uionally barred or pre-emped because immigraion policy is exclusively a ederalresponsibiliy. Te Arizona law, S.B. 1070, and similar measures in Alabama, Georgia,Souh Carolina, and Uah, are, in eec, challenging ha principle o ederal supremacy in he eld o immigraion.Four key provisions in S.B. 1070 will be subjeced o he Cour’s scruiny:
•
Section 2(B):
he “show me your papers” secion, which requires every Arizonalaw enorcemen ocer o veriy he immigraion saus o every person sopped,arresed, or deained i he ocer has a “reasonable suspicion” ha he person is inhe counry unlawully 
•
Section 3:
he secion ha makes i a crime under Arizona law or an immigran o ailo carry heir “alien regisraion documen”
•
Section 5(C):
he secion o he law ha criminalizes unauhorized work 
•
Section 6:
he secion ha allows warranless arress i an ocer has “probable cause”o believe ha a person has commited a crime ha makes ha person removable romhe counry 
APRIL 23, 2010:
S.B. 1070 signed intolaw with the stated purpose o mak-ing “attrition through enorcementthe public policy o all state and localgovernment agencies in Arizona.”
JULY 6, 2010:
U.S. Department o Justice les suit to block the imple-mentation o S.B. 1070.
JULY 28, 2010:
U.S. District Courtgrants a preliminary injunction nd-ing that ederal law likely pre-emptsour specic provisions o the Arizonalaw–sections 2B, 3, 5(C), and 6.
APRIL 11, 2011
: Ninth Circuit Courto Appeals upholds the preliminaryinjunction.
AUGUST 10, 2011:
State o Arizonales a petition or review with the U.S.Supreme Court.
DECEMBER 12, 2011:
U.S. SupremeCourt grants certiorari, agreeing tohear the case.
APRIL 25, 2012:
Oral argumentsbegin beore eight o the justice o the Supreme Court.
1
Procedural timeline
 
2Center or American Progress | 
United States v. Arizona
in the U.S. Supreme Court
Specically, he Cour will consider wheher hese our provisions unconsiuionally usurp he ederal governmen’s auhoriy o regulae immigraion law and enorcemen.I bears noing ha he Cour’s ruling will no resolve all concerns and legal challengesposed by he Arizona law or by oher sae laws currenly being liigaed. Oher saelaws also creae resricions on educaion, housing, and privae conracing, none o  which will be conclusively decided by he cour’s ruling in his case. Challenges o helaw based on argumens ha he law, as applied, invies proling on he basis o race and violaes he Firs Amendmen, remain pending.
2
And lower cours reviewing he legaliy o similar sae laws in Uah, Alabama, and Souh Carolina have recenly indicaed hahey will reserve heir decisions in hose cases unil aer he Supreme Cour has issuedis ruling in he Arizona case.
3
 Alhough he legal docrine in quesion may seem echnical and esoeric, he implica-ions o he Cour’s decision are signican and will have proound implicaions orhe ciizens and immigrans living in he sae o Arizona, as well as or he counry as a whole.
4
 We ackle hose issues in a separae brie .In his primer we ouline he legal background and cenral argumens beore he Cour.
Some areas o law—or example, the power to declare war or printmoney—are exclusively reserved to the ederal government under theU.S. Constitution. The Supremacy Clause o the Constitution states thatin those instances where the ederal government has exclusive jurisdic-tion or where there is a conict between state and ederal law, ederallaw trumps state law.
5
A long line o Supreme Court cases has dened thecontours o ederal pre-emption doctrine and has applied it to a variety o state regulations and laws.The Court, or example, has ound that states are barred rom legislating inareas where the ederal government has already acted to set uniorm nation-al standards—such as saety requirements or automobiles, ood and drugsaety, national labor relations, and certain health and public saety liabilityissues, including those related to tobacco use and vaccine manuacturing.
6
In determining whether a state statute is pre-empted by ederal law, theCourt generally will address several threshold questions, including:
•
Is this area o law one that is traditionally reserved or the ederalgovernment?
•
Is this a eld that the states have traditionally occupied and hasCongress demonstrated its clear intent to “occupy the eld?”
•
Is the state law in conict with any ederal statute?
•
Does the state law create any obstacles to ulllment o the purposesand objectives o Congress?For purposes o this case, the ederal government contends that three o these questions must be answered in the armative: This is an area o lawreserved to the ederal government; Arizona’s law conicts with the ed-eral regulatory scheme; and the implementation o the law would createobstacles to Congress’s priorities and objectives.
7
Doctrinal background
 
3Center or American Progress | 
United States v. Arizona
in the U.S. Supreme Court
What exactly are they arguing about?
Nowihsanding he clear Supreme Cour preceden holding ha he ederal govern-men has exclusive auhoriy o regulae immigraion policy and enorcemen, he saeo Arizona conends ha ederal law does no pre-emp S.B. 1070. Arizona mainainsha ederal law does no pre-emp is law because S.B. 1070 merely complemens ed-eral law and enables sae auhoriies o assis wih enorcemen o ederal law.Te ederal governmen rejecs ha conenion and argues ha S.B. 1070 is pre-empedon hree general bases. Firs, he U.S. governmen argues ha immigraion enorcemenis an aciviy ha has radiionally been occupied by he ederal governmen because irelaes direcly o maters o naional sovereigny, conrol o he naion’s borders, rela-ionships wih oreign governmens, and naional securiy. Allowing saes o enac heirown immigraion enorcemen laws would have severe negaive oreign policy implica-ions, and addiional negaive consequences would fow rom a pachwork o 50 saeimmigraion laws. Accordingly, Congress has enaced a comprehensive regulaory andenorcemen scheme or conrolling immigraion.Second, several provisions in Arizonas immigraion law inrude on his exclusive ederalauhoriy. In oher words, some o he provisions in S.B. 1070 canno be characerized asmerely complemening
 
ederal immigraion policy. Raher, he U.S. governmen arguesha hey impermissibly confic or compee
 
 wih ederal auhoriy.Tird, Congress has delegaed o he Deparmen o Homeland Securiy he power ose immigraion enorcemen prioriies and o enorce he naions immigraion laws.I S.B. 1070 were implemened, he U.S. governmen argues ha he ederal agenciescharged wih enorcing he law would be divered rom execuing heir mission andexercising discreion in a manner consisen wih hose esablished prioriies.Le’s urn now o he cenral legal argumens in his case in more deail.
 The legal arguments
Immigration regulation and enforcement is reserved for the federal government 
Te Supreme Cour has long conrmed his basic premise—he naion mus speak  wih one voice, no many individual sae voices, in immigraion maters because o heoreign policy ineress a sake. A unied and coheren naional se o immigraion lawsis required in order o provide adherence o naional economic and securiy prioriies,o ensure ha decisions abou he reamen o oreign naionals does no have adverseoreign policy consequences, and o preven an ad-hoc pachwork o 50 dieren saelaws rom developing. Congress has ullled ha ederal responsibiliy by creaing acomprehensive regulaory and enorcemen scheme designed o conrol immigraion.
 The SupremeCourt has longconfrmed thisbasic premise—thenation must speak with one voice, notmany individualstate voices, inimmigrationmatters because o the oreign policyinterests at stake.

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