Supporters of Arizona's Senate Bill 1070 say they will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Monday's ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that prevents key parts of the law from going into effect. But their push could be an uphill battle.
They paint the case against the law as a question of politics and believe they'll find more support in the conservative high court than they did in "the most liberal court in the land."
But the 9th Circuit judges, who upheld a stay that has been in effect since July against much of SB 1070, described the issue as a matter of law.
"The Arizona statute before us has become a symbol," Judge John Noonan wrote.
"For those sympathetic to immigrants to the United States, it is a challenge and a chilling foretaste of what other states might attempt. For those burdened by unlawful immigration, it suggests how a state could tackle that problem. It is not our function, however, to evaluate the statute as a symbol. We are asked to assess the constitutionality."Two of the three judges on the panel are staunch conservatives appointed by Republican presidents
, and some legal experts say the court's extensive analysis of constitutional questions could predict the downfall of the nation's toughest immigration law.
The ruling in the lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice comes nearly a year after Gov. Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 into law. It supports an injunction issued in July by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton on the basis that immigration is the bailiwick of the federal government, not individual states.
Brewer signed SB 1070, which among other things made it a state crime to be in the country illegally, on April 23, 2010. It was scheduled to go into effect July 29.
Opponents filed seven lawsuits challenging the law. The Department of Justice asked Bolton to enjoin the law until the courts could review the full case.
Bolton allowed portions of the law that require local law enforcement to enforce federal immigration laws to the fullest extent, make it a crime to transport or harbor an illegal immigrant and make it a crime to pick up a day laborer in a roadway if it impedes traffic.
She issued an injunction stopping four parts of the law:
- The portion that requires an officer to make a reasonable attempt to determine the immigration status of a person stopped, detained or arrested if there's reasonable suspicion that person is in the country illegally. This portion also requires law enforcement to check the immigration status of people arrested and hold them indefinitely until the status is determined.
- The portion that creates a crime of failure to apply for or carry "alien-registration papers."
- The portion that allows for a warrantless arrest of a person where there is probable cause to believe the individual committed a public offense that makes him or her removable from the U.S.
- The portion that makes it a crime for illegal immigrants to solicit, apply for or perform work.
The state appealed the injunction to the 9th Circuit.[The rest of the article...]