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NYT: Justices Sympathetic To Core Of AZ Law

From a amazed and confused New York Times:

Justices Seem Sympathetic to Central Part of Arizona Law

By ADAM LIPTAK
April 25, 2012

WASHINGTON — Justices across the ideological spectrum appeared inclined on Wednesday to uphold a controversial part of Arizona’s aggressive 2010 immigration law, based on their questions at a Supreme Court argument.

“You can see it’s not selling very well,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a member of the court’s liberal wing and its first Hispanic justice, told Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr., referring to a central part of his argument against the measure.

Mr. Verrilli, representing the federal government, had urged the court to strike down a provision requiring state law enforcement officials to determine the immigration status of people they stop and suspect are not in the United States legally.

Those are three pretty shocking sentences to see on the pages of the New York Times, which hitherto seemed to be convinced Arizona’s immigration law would never survive a review by the Supreme Court.

It was harder to read the court’s attitude toward three other provisions of the law at issue in the case, including one that makes it a crime for illegal immigrants to work. The court’s ruling, expected by June, may thus be a split decision that upholds parts of the law and strikes down others.

This seems to be what The Times (and therefore the rest of the Left) now see as the best case scenario.

A ruling to uphold the law would be a victory for conservatives who have pressed for tough measures to stem illegal immigration, including ones patterned after the Arizona law, in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Utah. President Obama has criticized the Arizona law, calling it a threat to “basic notions of fairness.”

Even George Orwell would blush at the way Obama has perverted the meaning of the word "fairness."

Should the court uphold any part of the law, immigration groups are likely to challenge it based on an argument that the court was not considering on Wednesday: that the law discriminates on the basis of race and ethnic background

Again, this is another blue-sky fantasy from The Times, since profiling is not an issue even in the government’s arguments. The Times seems to have given up on this round and is looking for hope in some future lawsuit.

Wednesday’s argument, the last of the term, was a rematch between the main lawyers in the health care case. Paul D. Clement, who argued for the 26 states challenging the health care law, represented Arizona. Mr. Verrilli again represented the federal government. In an unusual move, Chief Justice Roberts allowed the argument to go 20 minutes longer than the usual hour

Which just meant Mr. Verrilli has more time to screw up.

Mr. Verrilli, whose performance in the health care case was sometimes halting and unfocused, seemed on Wednesday occasionally to frustrate justices who might have seemed likely allies. At one point Justice Sotomayor, addressing Mr. Verrilli by his title, said: “General, I’m terribly confused by your answer. O.K.? And I don’t know that you’re focusing in on what I believe my colleagues are trying to get to.”

Most of the argument on Wednesday concerned the part of the law requiring state officials to check immigration status. Several justices said states were entitled to enact such provisions, which make mandatory inquiries to federal authorities from local police officers that are already commonplace.

Chief Justice Roberts said the state law required merely that the federal government be informed of immigration violations and left enforcement decisions to it. “It seems to me that the federal government just doesn’t want to know who is here illegally or not,” he said.

Justice Stephen G. Breyer suggested that he would be prepared to uphold the provision if the process of checking immigration status would not result in “detention for a significantly longer time” than in the ordinary case.

In reality, checking immigration status would increase detention for about the time it takes to make a phone call or send an email.

The law also makes it a crime under state law for immigrants to fail to register under a federal law and for illegal immigrants to work or to try to find work. Federal law penalizes employers who hire illegal workers but does not punish employees for working.

Chief Justice Roberts indicated the employment provision of the state law was vulnerable. “That does seem to expand beyond the federal government’s determination about the types of sanctions that should govern the employment relationship,” he said…

Because a state law expands on a federal law, that does not mean they conflict. In fact, quite the contrary. And if there is no real conflict, there is no Constitutional problem. So, realistically, there aren’t any reasons for even the other ‘non-central’ provisions of the law to be struck down.

Mr. Verrilli urged the court to consider the Arizona law against the backdrop of the foreign policy considerations that arise from taking actions against citizens of other nations.

“So we have to enforce our laws in a manner that will please Mexico?” Justice Antonin Scalia responded

Besides, it is well known, or should be, that Mexico’s immigration laws are far more draconian than those of the US.

Toward the end of the argument, Justice Sotomayor spent some time quizzing Mr. Verrilli about how officials checked databases to see if someone was in this country legally. “Today,” she said, reflecting on the matter, “if you use the names Sonia Sotomayor, they would probably figure out I was a citizen.”

She is wise.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, April 26th, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “NYT: Justices Sympathetic To Core Of AZ Law”

  1. Rusty Shackleford says:

    The national socialists have no problems with gun laws being more restrictive at the state/local level, why are they so obtuse about state laws being more stringent than federal about illegal immigration?

    Oh, wait….I just answered my own question.

    But I would love to hear a liberal argue that very point.

    Normal Person: “You don’t seem to have a problem with more restrictive gun laws at the state and local level.”

    Flaming Lib: “But that’s different…those laws are designed to protect people from evil right-wing bible banger gun-clingers.”

    Normal Person: “So, you’re saying that allowing rampant illegal immigration is NOT protecting people?”

    Flaming Liberal: “No, I’m saying that allowing undocumented persons to stay is.”

    Normal Person: “How? And what about protecting the citizens of the US from criminals, job-loss and tax revenues being used to fund these illegals coming here?”

    Flaming Liberal: “Oh, there we go…there’s your racist attitude!”

    Normal Person: “How is that statement ‘racist’? I didn’t say anything about anyone and, for the record, it’s not racism when you’re talking about different nationalities. I could have been supposing about Swedes, for all you know. But an illegal immigrant is an illegal immigrant, be they French, Italian, or from effing MARS.”

    And on it would go.

  2. AcornsRNutz says:

    I love the “controversial” tag on this. The only people who see it that way are A: illegals, so they’re opinions of our laws are pretty much null and void, B: the media, who shouldn’t have opinions about the news they report anyway (chuckle) and C: A bunch of folks at the federal level who have no real say in the matter anyway unless the law is actually ILLEGAL. I don’t really believe there is a massive fight over this law amongthe average joes of America.

    And I find it funny that they are questioning the legality of a law that enforces a law that is already in place meanwhile they are not questioning the legality of illegal immigrants being allowed to continue living here illegally even after being caught or arrested for something else. Besides the fact that in those instances the illegal immigrant is obviously breaking a law, is anyone asking if the states can be held legally accountable for not kicking them out or offering “sanctuary”?


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