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Supreme Court justices expressed support for the Arizona immigration law at oral arguments today, according to CBS’ chief legal correspondent Jan Crawford. Even some of the court’s liberal justices seemed to support the most controversial part of the law: the part that requires officials to check the immigration status of people during routine traffic stops and anyone detained or arrested. From NBC:
Based on comments during Wednesday’s oral arguments on the case, even some of the court’s liberal justices seemed to find no strong objection to the most controversial part of the law, which requires local police to check on the immigration status of anyone they detain or arrest.
It’s another blow to the Obama administration, which last month endured the fallout from a more sceptical than anticipated Supreme Court on the Affordable Care Act.
The justices focused a lot today on provision 2(B); the controversial provision. Key points here, via The Wall Street Journal’s recommended “tape-delayed live blog” of the hearings:
Solicitor General Donald Verrilli flat-out denied that racial/ethnic profiling would be a part of the argument.
“No part of your case involves racial or ethnic profiling, right?” Chief Justice John Roberts said. Verrilli said it did not.
Now, Verrilli’s argument: States cannot kick illegal immigrants out of the country. It’s a federal responsibility, because they will simply go to other states.
All that section does is require state officers to notify the federal government that they picked up an illegal immigrant, Chief Justice Roberts said. It’s totally up to the federal government to decide whether to take any action against that person. He couldn’t understand how that interferes with federal discretion over immigration enforcement.
Antonin Scalia thought Verrilli’s argument reeked of one of racial profiling. Even liberal justice Sonia Sotomayor didn’t appear to buy Verrilli’s argument.
“You can see it’s not selling very well,” Justice Sotomayor told Mr. Verrilli. “I’m terribly confused by your answer.”
Russell Pearce, the architect of the law SB1070, said the Obama administration should be “embarrassed.”
“I thought even the liberals thought the arguments were weak,” Pearce said. “If I were the Obama administration, I’d be embarrassed. Their arguments were frivolous.”
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