View Full Version : Supreme Court Will Hear Challenge to Arizona Immigration Law

12-12-2011, 12:40 PM
WASHINGTON The Supreme Court announced Monday it will hear arguments over Arizona's immigration law after a lower court upheld a Justice Department challenge to void the law, arguing the state can't legislate rules that the federal government is responsible for enforcing.

Similar laws in Alabama, South Carolina and Utah also are facing administration lawsuits. Private groups are suing over immigration measures adopted in Georgia and Indiana.

The case could be heard in April.

The justices -- minus Justice Elena Kagan, who did not participate in consideration of the petition -- said they will review a federal appeals court ruling that blocked several provisions in the Arizona law, including one that requires police, while enforcing other laws, to question a person's immigration status if officers suspect he is in the country illegally.

Like the health care debate, the case adds another politically charged dispute between a Republican-dominated state and the Democratic administration to the court's election-year lineup. On Friday, the justices also intervened in a partisan fight over redistricting in Texas. That case will be heard in January.

The Justice Department sued last year, arguing that Arizona's law goes beyond what the federal government allows in terms of enforcing illegal immigration laws.

Arizona counters that the federal government isn't doing enough to address illegal immigration and that border states are suffering disproportionately.

In urging the court to hear the immigration case, Arizona argued that the administration's contention that states "are powerless to use their own resources to enforce federal immigration standards without the express blessing of the federal executive goes to the heart of our nation's system of dual sovereignty and cooperative federalism."