Supreme Court Issues Rulings

The US Supreme Court issued three opinions this morning, including a ruling on the controversial immigration law in Arizona. In a 5-3 split decision (Justice Kagan did not participate, presumably because she worked on the case as President Obama’s solicitor general), the court struck down the provisions of the law that prohibited undocumented immigrants from soliciting work, required that papers are carried at all times, and gave police the right to arrest an undocumented immigrant without a warrant. The court upheld the requirement that police must check the papers of anyone suspected to be undocumented.

The court’s opinion opinion (PDF) stated that the invalidated provisions of the law conflicted with federal immigration law. Justice Kennedy, writing the majority opinion, stated, “The history of the United States is in part made of the stories, talents, and lasting contributions of those who crossed oceans and deserts to come here. The National Government has significant power to regulate immigration. With power comes responsibility, and the sound exercise of national power over immigration depends on the Nation’s meeting its responsibility to base its laws on a political will informed by searching, thoughtful, rational civic discourse. Arizona may have understandable frustrations with the problems caused by illegal immigration while that process continues, but the State may not pursue policies that undermine federal law.”

The court also ruled, in a 5-4 vote, not to revisit its decision in the campaign finance case, Citizens United. In this morning’s decision, the Supreme Court struck down Montana’s state law limiting campaign spending by corporations by refusing to give a full hearing to the case. In the third opinion released by the court this morning, the justices ruled in a 5-4 decision that it is unconstitutional to sentence juveniles to life in prison without the chance of parole.

AP 6/25/12; Huffington Post 6/25/12; Reuters 6/25/12

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