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Signs it’s not going well for this government and Solicitor General Donald Verrilli at the Supreme Court: when a traditionally liberal judge appointed by Barack Obama has no idea of the argument they’re trying to make.Enter Justice Sonia Sotomayor:
“Putting aside your argument that this — that a systematic cooperation is wrong — you can see it’s not selling very well — why don’t you try to come up with something else?” she said to Verrilli.
“Because I, frankly — as the chief has said to you, it’s not that it’s forcing you to change your enforcement priorities. You don’t have to take the person into custody. So what’s left of your argument?”
Verrilli had a rough time today trying to sell the Supreme Court justices — even the liberal ones — against the Arizona immigration law.
For context, Verrilli opened with a three-pronged opening argument against a controversial provision in SB 1070 that requires law enforcement officials to check the legal status of detained and arrested people with reasonable suspicion. It went like this:
1. Two million Hispanics live in Arizona — 400,000 illegally. Almost immediately, Justice Antonin Scalia cut him off because it “sounds like racial profiling to me.” Earlier, Verrilli assured Chief Justice John Roberts that he would not attempt to argue on racial profiling grounds.
2. He moved onto the accountability issues of state officials enforcing federal laws but not being held accountable. No justice seemed to buy that.
3. The new amount of reports from state officials would overburden federal resources.
But that argument drew the sceptical comments from Sotomayor.
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