By Rosalind S. Helderman, Updated: Monday, April 23, 7:00 PM
Senate Democrats are making plans to force a floor vote on legislation that would invalidate Arizona’s controversial immigration statute if the Supreme Court upholds the law this summer.
Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) will announce the fallback legislation at a hearing on the Arizona law Tuesday, a day before the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in a suit to determine whether Arizona had the authority to enact the 2010 state crackdown.
The legislation would have little chance of passing in a stalemated Senate or being approved by a GOP-held House, but it would allow Democrats to push their electoral advantage with Latino voters just as the presidential campaign heats up in July.
The plan is to allow Democrats a route to express displeasure with the Arizona law if the court allows it to stand, and it would force Republicans to take a clear position on the law during the height of the presidential campaign. The immigration law is deeply unpopular with Latino voters, who could be key to the outcome of the presidential and Senate races in several Western states.
“If the court upholds the Arizona law, Congress can make it clear that what Arizona is doing goes beyond what the federal government and what Congress ever intended,” Schumer said in an interview.
He called the Arizona law an “assault on the domain of the federal government” that Congress will need to address if the court allows it to stand.
As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on immigration, Schumer will hold a hearing Tuesday on the impact of the Arizona law. The state senator who wrote the statute will appear, as will opponents of the law. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R), the law’s chief proponent, was invited but declined to attend.