The Supreme Court heard oral arguments yesterday about the constitutionality of Arizona's immigration law (SB 1070). Justice Reports indicated that the Court will limit its review to issues relating to state-versus-federal power, not questions about potential civil rights violations.
Justice Kagan reused herself, which could potentially result in a deadlocked 4-4 decision. With that in mind, the typically liberal Justices voiced significant concerns with the Government's arguments.
Justice Sotomayor: "I'm sorry.… I'm terribly confused by your answer," "Your argument — that this systematic cooperation is wrong — is not selling very well. Why don't you try to come up with something else?"
Justice Stephen G. Breyer remarked that he did not see a problem if "all that happens is a policeman makes a phone call.… I'm not clear what your answer is to that."
Swing voter Justice Anthony M. Kennedy: "So you're saying the government has a legitimate interest in not enforcing its laws?"
If just one of the three above Justices sides with the conservative bloc of the Court all or part of the law may stand.
We shall see.
Matthew Kolken is a trial lawyer with experience in all aspects of United States Immigration Law including Immigration Courts throughout the United States, and appellate practice before the Board of Immigration Appeals, the U.S. District Courts, and U.S. Courts of Appeals. He is admitted to practice in the courts of the State of New York , the United States District Court for the Western District of New York, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).