Supreme Court says no to much of Arizona immigration law, health care ruling next

Posted on June 25, 2012 by Dene Westbrook

In a 5-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has struck down much of Arizona’s controversial immigration law, stating that a state “may not pursue policies that undermine federal law.”

The court ruled that Arizona cannot make it a misdemeanor for immigrants to fail to carry identification that says whether they are in the United States legally; cannot make it a crime for undocumented immigrations to apply for a job; and cannot arrest someone based solely on the suspicion that the person is in this country illegally.

However, the court did let stand that part of the law that requires police to check the immigration status of anyone they detain, if there is “reasonable suspicion” that the person is unlawfully in the United States. Even so, the justices said the provision could be subject to additional legal challenges.

Still to be released is the court’s decision on the administration’s health care law. That decision is expected Thursday. The looming issue for the health care law is whether or not the law’s individual mandate, which requires most taxpayers to buy insurance or pay a penalty, is unconstitutional. If the court agrees, it must also decide whether to strike down the entire statute or only part of the law.

The decisions will be among the most politicized ever, especially in the context of the presidential election.

The League will be watching closely and working with our national partners to analyze the impact these and other decisions will have on local governments. 

Arnold Weinfeld is Director of Strategic Initiatives and Federal Affairs for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at 517-908-0304 or by e-mail.

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