Supreme Court Strikes Down Key Parts of Arizona Immigration Law

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down many of the key parts of Arizona’s immigration law, but let stand a controversial part that lets police check a person’s immigration status while enforcing other laws, reports CNN.

The court’s 5-3 ruling upheld the authority of the federal government in setting immigration policy and laws. Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas were the three justices writing for the minority, with Chief Justice John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, Steven Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Sonia Sotomayor for the majority. Justice Elena Kagan did not hear the case, as she was involved with initial legal opposition before taking the bench.

The one provision that did stand, Section 2(B), commands police to check the immigration status of all those arrested before they are released. While the majority chose to allow the law to go forward, Justice Kennedy wrote, "There is a basic uncertainty about what the law means and how it will be enforced. At this stage, without the benefit of a definitive interpretation from state courts, it would be inappropriate to assume (the provision) will be construed in a way that creates a conflict with federal law."

But while Arizona succeeded on this provision, the Supreme Court concluded that the federal government had the authority to rule out SB1070.

The other three main provisions that were struck down include:

- Authorizing police to arrest immigrants without warrant where "probable cause" exists that they committed any public offense making them removable from the country.

- Making it a state crime for "unauthorized immigrants" to fail to carry registration papers and other government identification.

- Forbidding those not authorized for employment in the United States to apply, solicit or perform work.

Arizona adopted its strict law targeting illegal immigrants in 2010, and since then, five other states have adopted similar measures. They include Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Indiana and Utah. 

You can read the full decision here

What do you think? Did the court make the right decision?