5 Things You Should Know about the Case Against Arizona SB 1070

The legality of Arizona’s immigration law, SB 1070, has long been disputed and is now headed to the Supreme Court. The case, Arizona v. United States, will look at not only SB 1070, but will also affect any similar laws enacted nationwide. Here’s what you need to know about the case:

The Act has several provisions – only four are being examined by the court.

The Court will not be looking at the entire Act, but rather, four key provisions, including:

  • A provision that requires police officers to check a person's immigration status while enforcing other laws if "reasonable suspicion" exists that the person is in the United States illegally.
  • A provision authorizing police to arrest immigrants without warrant where "probable cause" exists that they committed any public offense.
  • A section making it a state crime for "unauthorized immigrants" to fail to carry registration papers and other government identification.
  • Restriction against those not authorized for employment in the United States to apply, solicit or perform work. 


One Justice is recused, so there could be a split decision.

Justice Elena Kagan will not hear the case. Before joining the Court, she had been involved in initial opposition to the law, reports CNN. If the 4-4 split were to happen, they have days before they have to make a final ruling.

Although there are similar laws, it doesn’t mean these and future laws won’t pass.

Because the court is only looking at these four provisions of SB 1070, many laws could find a workaround and move forward with anti-immigration policies. It doesn’t mean they will, but it’s a possibility.

The biggest consideration here is federal versus states' rights.

The issue is looking at whether states – not just Arizona – have the right to enforce immigration policy, or whether immigration issues are solely the government’s authority.

If Arizona wins, SB 1070 will still be disputed.

If the Court finds itself in favor of Arizona, SB 1070 isn’t off the hook just yet. The government’s challenge to the Act is based exclusively on the argument that it goes against federal law. However, separate lawsuits remain pending that attack SB 1070 on civil rights grounds due to the potential for racial profiling and other constitutional violations, reports immigrationimpact.com.

What are your thoughts on SB 1070? Is it illegal? Will you be following the case?