By Easton L
“I am pleased that the Supreme Court has struck down key provisions of Arizona’s immigration law,” Obama said in a statement. “What this decision makes unmistakably clear is that Congress must act on comprehensive immigration reform. A patchwork of state laws is not a solution to our broken immigration system — it’s part of the problem.”
Top Democratic in Congress claimed victory Monday after the Supreme Court struck down key parts of a controversial Arizona law aimed at curbing undocumented immigration. But the Justices’ 5-3 ruling also gave Republicans something to cheer by letting stand — for now — a core provision that allows police to check the immigration status of someone they stop.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court’s swing vote, wrote the opinion, and was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor. Conservative Justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas partially dissented, saying the entire law or most of the law should have been upheld.
In the opinion, Justice Kennedy wrote that the federal government’s “power to determine immigration policy is well settled.” But he also showed concern for what he described as Arizona’s outsize burden in dealing with illegal immigration, seeming to sympathize with their decision to butt in on immigration enforcement. “Arizona bears many of the consequences of unlawful immigration,” he wrote. “Hundreds of thousands of deportable aliens are apprehended in Arizona each year.” But, ultimately, the justices found that Arizona cannot mete out their own state punishments for federal immigration crimes.
“Arizona may have understandable frustrations with the problems caused by illegal immigration while that process continues, but the State may not pursue policies that undermine federal law,” Kennedy writes in the opinion’s conclusion.