Supreme Court Considers Arizona's Immigration Law Today

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Outside the U.S. Supreme Court (Chip Somodevilla/Getty)

Fresh off hearing oral arguments on President Obama’s health care overhaul, the Supreme Court is stepping back into the political spotlight. Today, the high court will consider the legality of Arizona’s tough crackdown on illegal immigrants.

A quick refresher: Back in April 2010, Arizona adopted SB 1070, the nation’s toughest law on illegal immigration. It sought to prevent illegal immigrants from entering the state by expanding the powers of state officials. Under the new law, police officers are authorized to question the immigration status of anyone they stop and can detain those who fail to show "proof of legal presence." In July 2010, a Federal District Court justice in Phoenix, Arizona issued an injunction blocking the law’s most controversial provisions. Then in April 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled against Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s filed appeal that sought to have the injunction lifted.

Now, the Supreme Court will be considering the case in what is sure to be a politically-charged hearing. Joining us for more on today’s action is Jeffrey Rosen, professor of law at George Washington University.


Jeffrey Rosen

Produced by:

Marc Kilstein

Comments [2]


Bryan it sounds to me as though you haven't read the law. The law doesn't permit anyone, of any race, to simply stop persons and "ask for their papers." And if such stops are made on a racial or ethnic basis, it is the police who are in violation of the law.

And that's really the funny and ironic part of what you stumbled on, Bryan. The Hispanic cop in your hypothetical really WOULD deserve to be reprimanded, if he did what you describe. That is, stopping someone because they are white, for no other reason, and demanding to see their "papers." Just as the law strictly prohibits white officers from stopping Hispanic persons for no reason other than race, and demanding to see papers. In your hypothettical, your Hispanic cop would deserve to be reprimanded.

Moreover, Bryan, it isn't merely contrary to Arizona law for there to be the kind of profiling you describe. Arizona law also sets up independent enforcement mechanisms if there are such abuses. That is, in addition to all of the federal remedies that would attach to any alleged racial discrimination.

So there, Bryan. I hope that answers your concern.

Apr. 25 2012 11:09 AM
bryan from Michigan

I will believe there is no racial profiling when a Hispanic cop with a thick accent stops a white man/woman -- for example, the Governor of Arizona -- , demands to see his/her papers, and does not get reprimanded or fired.

Apr. 25 2012 08:20 AM

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