Supreme Court Takes Arizona Immigration Case — Kagan Recuses

The Supreme Court today accepted cert in the challenge to Arizona’s tough anti-immigration law. In a loss to the Administration, Associate Justice Kagan recused herself from the case.

I have previously written and discussed that I viewed this case as a close one with some solid arguments being made on both sides. While the existing precedent supports the Administration, there is ample authority that would support the Court in reversing the lower court and ruling for Arizona on the issue of preemption. The most interesting constitutional question in the case is the implied preemption claim made by the Administration — arguing that, even if the state passes a law that enforces federal rules, it runs counter to federal authority.

With a hearing around April, the Court could rule by July — well in advance of the presidential election. I have expressed confusion of the strategy of the Administration in pushing this issue. I am not sure which is worse for Obama: to lose this case or to win this case. Polls show Americans heavily opposed to illegal immigration and generally supportive of these state efforts.

Along the vein, the Administration picked the world’s worse time to propose an unmanned entry point around the Mexican border. Under the proposal, people could cross by swiping a card and they could communicate with agents 100 miles away. The idea is not as ridiculous as it has been portrayed, but who on Earth would pick this time to make such a proposal? Much like the Christmas tree tax, there does not appear to be anyone working at the switch to time these proposals.

The Kagan recusal is likely to add to the demands that she agree to recuse herself from the health care case, as she had other issues that went through her office as Solicitor General. Kagan previously recused herself from the last immigration decision involving Arizona.

The Administration could have delayed these cases and worked to scuttle review. Instead, it has been doubling down on immigration and filing challenges to state laws when it could have allowed others to advance these claims (while reserving the right to intervene as an amicus as has been the practice in the past). It has now largely engineered both a health care ruling and immigration ruling to come down before the election. I fail to see the wisdom in that strategy but the White House appears to believe that this is a winning strategy to have a ruling on the two most divisive issues in the country.

Source: CBS

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51 thoughts on “Supreme Court Takes Arizona Immigration Case — Kagan Recuses”

  1. As a new person to this blog, I would like to ask a couple of questions to the above posters?

    How many of the above who disagree with SB10 70 actually live in AZ?

    How many people who disagree with SB 1070 have been directly impacted in a negative sense or had a family member who was by an illegal alien or illegal immigration?

    How many of the above who disagree with SB 1070 are Hispanic?

    How many of the above who disagree with SB1070 are immigration lawyers?

    The entire argument of whether the states can enforce immigration law has already been decided. Besides the case Gonzales v. City of Peoria, there is the federal program 287G. If local LEOs can enforce federal law as in the 287G program, a state law mimicking federal immigration law will not be declared unconstitutional. You also have various other state laws copying federal statutes against drugs, kidnapping etc that could be affected by a DOJ favorable ruling. A SC ruling against Az could open a whole big can of worms, that no one wants to deal with.

    The entire field of cases brought by the DOJ against state immigration laws were for political theater. They were intended to trump up support for Obama by the pro amnesty crowd..The Obama administration knew before filing papers what the outcome would be. In fact the administration had expected the case would never go this far and was actually trying to dissuade the Supreme Court from hearing it. A ruling in favor of AZ will be a blow to Obama’s re-election effort.

    One aspect of this entire kabuki production that wasn’t really foreseen was the impact on sanctuary city policies. Non enforcement declarations by cities are as equally encroaching on supposed federal authority as SB1070. It would seem to any reasonable person that the President wants to have it both ways. States cannot enforce immigration law, but cities can violate it.

  2. Makes about as much sense as going to war without bullets …But they have already decided that they can write checks so long as they have a check register….So is this really any surprise…

  3. My niece has a student who is undocumented. She always planned to go to college in Mexico because her Aunt was a professor at a college in Chihuahua.
    Now this girl is staying in Arizona because Chihuahua is too dangerous with War on Drugs violence. She could not accept a college scholarship in engineering she won as a top high school student because she is undocumented.

    She has to pay triple the rate for school at ASU, since she cannot get in-state tuition (even though she has lived in Arizona most of her life). So, she is taking very few classes, as many as she can afford with her minimum wage job.
    It depends on where your connections are on whether or not you are willing to go back to Mexico. Sometimes staying here as an undocumented person, as bad and difficult as that can be, is better than risking your life to go back to Mexico.

  4. And Anon, I remind you that Bush was POTUS during the time Napolitano was Arizona governor and we had those terrible death rates. Border security was never any concern to the Texas brush cutter, even though Texas was experiencing some of the same problems.
    Humanitarian groups who were providing water stations in the South Eastern Arizona out back were dealing with continual criticism and hate from Az. right wingers.

    I can say that another driver of illegal immigration was the War on Drugs. Where I lived in Sonora, the Columbian mafia would go to ranches they wanted to buy and threaten the landowners with death if they did not ‘sell’ the property to them. It made rural life impossible, drove many people off the land into the cities where there was no work whatsoever.

    This wrecked rural economies all over Mexico, replacing producing farms and ranches with airports and facilities for drug smuggling. That they may have all the infrastructure they need at this point may have stopped some of the the flow of rural Mexicans looking for work. Some of these families were killed and the property bought in estate settlements.

  5. Mike, having lived in both places- East coast and Arizona- and still do, I can say it took about a year to understand the desert, and now I am a confirmed desert rat.
    Arizona is an incredibly beautiful state with 9 different ecological zones. (The Museum of Natural History in NY has a ecology study lab in Portal, Az. Many top scientists study here, especially in astronomy)

    1. Shano,

      It all comes down to personal aesthetic and I’m not a desert fan. I’m more of an Adirondacks, Rockies, Blue ridge mountains and Glacier National Park Kind of guy. Throw in The Big Sur, Cape Cod and the Grand Tetons Natioal Forest and I’m in nature heaven.

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