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By Moriah Costa
At the Supreme Court building this morning, spectators were on the edge of their seats as Justice Anthony Kennedy read the court’s ruling to strike down key provisions in Arizona’s immigration law.
The court did uphold the provision requiring officers to check the papers of those whom they suspect are in the United States illegally.
The controversial law, SB 1070, was challenged by the Obama administration on the grounds that it violated the Supremacy Clause and over-trumped Federal law. Enforcement of the law in Arizona and five other states with similar bills – Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina, and Utah- has been put on hold pending the outcome of the case. Supporters of the bill argued that it merely re-enforced federal law.
The court struck down one section of the bill which gave police officers authority to arrest illegals without a warrant. They also struck down sections that would have made it illegal for aliens to not have their registration papers with them at all times.
Justice Kennedy said that it was possible that other state provisions that were similar to Arizona’s “show-me-your-papers” section, could possibly be challenged later. He said that while Ariz. may be frustrated with federal enforcement of immigration, that does not justify them over-riding federal law.
Justice Antonin Scalia disagreed with the court’s ruling. He commented from the bench that there were many cases where states have harsher penalties for federal laws, such as in the case of drug laws. “Arizona has moved to to protect its sovereignty,” he said.
Outside the Supreme Court, citizen activist Ron Kirby held a sign that said “Thank you Arizona, Gov. Brewer, R. Pearce, K. Kobach.” The 67 year-old retired environmental engineer hadn’t heard much about the ruling, but just wanted to thank Arizona for handling such a tough issue. He said the case was a beginning to solving a problem that has affected every state. Kirby, who is originally from Texas and now lives in Alexandria, Virginia, said the issue isn’t with workers wanted to come to America to make a living, but with drug cartels sending people over the border.
The court announced that the rest of the rulings for this term will be read on Thursday morning, meaning the long awaited decision on Obama’s Affordable Care Act will most likely come at that time.
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